Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Huck-a-Bear

Fox came from a litter of 5 cats.  They were remarkably similar brown tabbies.  One had some white so you could tell him apart and one was more of a yellowy-brown so you could tell her apart.  Sugar, Fox's mom, left one kitten behind when she moved the kittens from the blue house to the yellow house to be closer to the food, that kitten was a five week old Fox.  Fox screamed his little kitten head off until out tenants went out to look for the source of the wail.  Brian saw a flashlight between the houses and rushed out in his boxers and baseball bat.  Fox was still under the blue house by a grate in the concrete foundation.  It was difficult to get the grate off, it couldn't be pulled, I came out with pliers and even then it was difficult, the grate was covered with stucco and it was just not easy to get off.  When enough of it was bent back the tenant reached her hand into the crawlspace (crazy!) and voila, pulled out Fox by some miracle.  At first she wanted to keep him but upon seeing how little he was, too small to feed himself, and the fact that he NEVER STOPPED CRYING, LIKE EVER, she pawned him off on me.  I spent the next month or so wiping that kitten's butt and giving him a bottle of formula every two hours (tiny kittens can't poop on their own).  Who says I'm not a mom.

I'm telling you this because I always felt out of the five it was a mistake to leave Fox behind.  One of the three triplets (no white, all the same shade of brown) was always smaller, always sickly.  We named him Huck and named the other brown tabby Tom.  Huck and Tom still to this day hang out at our house for food.  But we can't pet them.

The summer I had this notion to have a square food garden on the sunny side of the yellow house Huck used to watch me water every day.  One day I reached up to him and he let me touch him and pet him.  It was the day I took this photo of him with my iphone.



From that day forth, Huck became kind of our outdoor cat.  He wanted affection constantly and would sneak on the screened porch and get under our feet while we did yard work.  He was very much the world's sweetest feral cat.  I was able to give him flea medication and if he had gunk on his eyes, and he did often, he was quite sickly, he would let us wipe it off with a warm, wet papertowel.  He was more patient than our own cats.  If you approach them with a paper towel all of our cats go running.

Since moving into the blue house, Huck's health has deteriorated.  One day Brian found him in the backyard with a small potato chip bag stuck on his head like a kitty terrorist.  Brian had to use force to remove the bag.  We were certain his oxygen was affected and he had a terrible cold and gunk everywhere afterwards.  We think this was really a downturn moment for Huck, he never fully recovered from that.  We bought him canned cat food and that seemed to work.  But in hindsight I don't know if he ever really ate the food or pushed it around.  Hucky was really sick last week and we were trying to decide to take him to the vet, a very scary place for a stray cat.  We gave him another can of food and he looked like he was eating it.  He lay under the chair on the deck and then decided to get up.  It sounded like he fell down the stairs.  We went looking for him and I saw his tail sticking out under the house.  Brian had to go under the deck to get him and we put him in a crate and took him to the emergency hospital.  There wasn't much they could do, Huck was in bad, bad shape so we had him put to sleep.

And although it was sad, it really really was, I was having a terrible time getting past it, I was crying on the spot for like 3 days, tears in my eyes all the time.  I don't think I cried that much about Ally or Bella.  Why was Huck making me feel so sad?  I didn't take Ally or Bella to the vet their last days (my mom took Ally and Brian took Bella) and when Brian was on the phone with our vet to figure out what to do I was sitting on the porch with Huck in the bottom half of the crate not moving an inch, just his tummy moving up and down from breath.  I cried and cried and told him I was sorry over and over.  I felt so bad for the little guy.

I don't know, maybe it was misplace Mother's day anxiety.  Maybe it was the stress of all life's will.  My heart just broke that day.  I think I also used to find some comfort in knowing Ally and then Bella were up in heaven running around on a flowered field with other kitties.  With all my infertility stuff, I think God has really taken the brunt of my pain and loneliness and offered me nothing in return.  No comfort, no solace, no baby and therefore I really doubt Huck has gone anywhere else after here.  I can only hope letting Brian and me into his little kitty life has given him enough joy to make it all the pain and fear at the end worth it.