Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Day of the Cat - June 23

I went over to our manager’s house yesterday…

“Hey, Adam, can I ask you a favor? The vet found this black cat in the street. It looks pretty sick and malnourished. Could you ask Sydney if she could take care of it tonight and then tomorrow you can take it back to the vet.”

I peered into this small water tin and inside three little dish towels lay the skin and bones of a small black alien with white boots and a white nose. Its ochre green eyes filling half of its comparable oversized skull.

Sydney showed up at her house and we took it home. She fed the little soul some baby food mixed with soy milk through a syringe only to get about half of it into its tiny little mouth.

We all slept.

6:00 am another feeding.

8:00 am one more feeding. We take her/him to the vet. The gatito is not looking good, barely able to keep its head up, it can’t even stand up, its feet sprawling like a black spider web.

The vet looked at the little kitten with the hardened eyes of a doctor who had seen a million animals come and go, in and out of the hospital in more ways than one.

You see in Nicaragua, the cats have their own city, built on the rooftops of tattered houses they play, breed, eat and shit. Nature’s way…cats on top, people inside, dogs on the streets. Cats have a gestation period of 64 days which means that they can become pregnant, give birth, raise their young and get pregnant again all within three months. Usually a liter is comprised of about 3-8 little ones for a maximum of 24 cats a year or a minimum of 9. Either way, the cat population is a double edge sword for those with weak hearts. A liter half passed is both a blessing and a problem depending on how many cats you are already caring for.

For our little one, our care is only part of the solution because we are going to find it a home in the United States. For other little ones, it is to the rooftops to fight for their bony little bodies.

The vet emptied its bladder manually, he gave it a few CC’s of antibiotics, and sent us on our way. We returned home with the knowledge that it was a little girl with stomach worms, fleas, cuts and bruises, and a small chance to live.

As we approached the door to our guest house, she began to yelp incessantly. We took her inside and laid her on a table and the most incredible thing happened
She started to convulse, legs twitching, head throbbing, eyes blinking, all of it with sudden yelps, cries rising from the fight with el ladron de la vida. Sydney broke down instantly, the suffering of something so small, helpless, scared, unresponsive tearing at a heart so large, unconditional, sensitive and bursting with hope.

“Adan, Adan we have to take it back to the vet. Maybe he can do something.”
The walk back was tormenting, “I don’t think it is a good idea, baby,” I replied, only to realize that doing something was better than sitting there watching the whole thing happen.

We put her in the water tin, left our guest house and returned to the vet as quickly as possible.

I swear the cat died.

We arrived disturbed and uncertain. The towels were still pulsing, warm to the touch…all good signs of life.

The doctor administered some saline solution and some cortisol. The cures at the vet were hydration, electrolytes and adrenalin. The cures at home were swaddling, syringe feeding baby food each hour, and promising her love if she would only live.

Right now it is 12:32 pm and Salvadora is alive. She is aware, fed, pooped, played and full of life. I think she saw the light, got scared and ran the other way. We saved her and she saved us from witnessing the passing from life to death. I have seen rocks get crushed, I have seen insects flip over and cease from moving, I even seen aquarium fish fight for their dorsal balance only to lose their brilliant color. I have never witnessed a mammal lose that which it has gained over a million years…the warmth of its blood.

Sydney is getting ready for bed. Nico is sleeping in his box. Aries is trying to eat some beads. Salvadora is breathing steady and I am finished with my story.

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