A little while ago when I posted my financial woes, I mentioned My Stupid Cat, who got hit by a car and forced me to pay for her recovery on my credit card. So I thought I'd tell you about said Cat, because she was a Character. (Also the cat-ownership equivalent of birth control.)
(And as I'm writing this I'm realizing that I tell you guys a lot of stories about days gone by, but not much about my life right now. That is because MY LIFE IS BORING.)
My Stupid Cat's name was Horse.
I can't take credit for that little piece of brilliance; it's a direct ripoff of the NZ cartoon Footrot Flats. But it suited her.
She came into my life via Party Guy, whose parents ran a farm. Horse showed up at their door in -40C weather, obviously not "local" but the result of of someone dumping her. How could someone dump such an adorable little black cat? I wondered, as I peered into her deep green eyes, and fell in love.
Three days later, she went into heat and I totally understood. Maaaaaaow. MaaaaaaaaoOOOOW. Mooooaawwwwaaahhhhaaaaawwwhhh! Maow? MaoaoooaoaoaoaoaoOAOMGOMGOMGOMGAooowww! But by then it was too late; I had promised to keep this obnoxious feline safe.
One of her ears had been badly frostbitten during her trek to Party Guy's farm, and she shed the shrivelled skin in a spray of blood shortly after coming to live with me. It didn't do her any lasting harm, but I thought it made her look tough, so I christened her Horse after the farmyard bully in Footrot Flats.
(Actually, at first I think I named her Tequila, because I was 18 and that was cool. But I quickly outgrew that phase and moved on to Cinnamon Schnapps as a beverage of choice, which didn't sound nearly as badass for a cat's name.)
(I thought she was even more tough-looking after she lost a front tooth - not to a fight with a hellhound or anything but to gingivitis. I overlooked the fact that it meant she couldn't keep her tongue in her mouth so she would sit there, glaring, with the tip of her pink tongue sticking out and completely ruining her image.)
She was tough - she was an outdoor cat, against my wishes, and regularly hunted all kinds of birds and rodents. Once, she came home covered in a wiry grey fur that baffled me until I later spotted her beating the crap out of a possum twice her size.
Horse, who I pretty much just always called The Cat and my mother referred to as Stegosaurus Brain, followed me to the west coast when I went away to college. There, she and I moved in with Politika, who had a cat of her own. A Siamese.
I'm not sure if it was a class thing or if Horse just didn't like other felines in general, but the blending of our families did NOT go well. Horse, correctly identifying Politika as the source of this other pet, began pissing on all Politika's stuff.
Towels. T-shirts. Feather duvets that needed to be expensively drycleaned.
Horse left everyone else's stuff entirely alone, but it got to the point that Politika couldn't leave a laundry-related item unguarded for a nanosecond before that stupid cat dribbled ammonia-stench piss all over it. Eventually Politika had to keep all her things in her room, with the door closed, at all times. This workaround kept household harmony for many months, and Horse and the Siamese were eventually content to pretend the other didn't exist.
Until the incident with the car and the credit card.
A professional-sounding phone call woke me around 1am to inform me that my cat had been hit by a car, and some kind soul had scraped her off the pavement and taken her to the nearest vet clinic. Could I come and help them decide what to do with her?
Disoriented and upset, I raced to the clinic, where a tired-looking tech brought me to Horse. She was lying on the table, her eyes glazed, blood leaking from her ass. She stared me down, daring me to underestimate her, as the vet explained that both her hips were broken. He laid out my options:
1. Hip replacement surgery, which was some-exorbitant-sum-plus-a-baby-finger per hip,
2. A plaster diaper cast, which gave her a 15% chance of recovery at a slightly more manageable dollar amount,
and 3. Putting her down, which would cost approximately the same as the cast.
Horse and I took the 15%, and I unfroze the Mastercard to pay for it.
I brought her home the next day and made her a comfy bed, and spent the day spoon-feeding her. With no use of her back legs, she was almost completely immobile, and I'm sure wearing a plaster diaper was humiliating, even for a cat. She would maaaow at me pitifully one second and give me a fuckoffanddie glare the next instant.
But the next day I had to return to school. I couldn't blow off an entire semester for a convalescent cat. I arranged her comfy bed in front of the television, left food and water and the remote control (shut up) within reach, and headed off for my 10 hour day, hoping she wouldn't be too bored. Politika, though sympathetic, muttered something as she headed off herself about, "At least I can leave my bedroom door open now, cat."
When I got home, Horse's comfy bed was empty.
Oh, god. She could barely move - where had she gone? Did she drag herself away looking for me after I heartlessly abandoned her?
I checked my bedroom, which was the first door down the hall. No cat.
Then I checked our other roommate's bedroom. Horse liked him fine, because he hadn't introduced another feline into her life and because he doted on her more than should be appropriate for a human-feline relationship. She wasn't there either.
Which only left Politika's room. Why would she have gone in THERE? She disliked Politika and the Siamese intensely, and it was the furthest room possible. There was no WAY she went in there, but I checked anyway.
And, yeah. She had. Horse had dragged herself all the way down the hall using only her front paws, through the door Politika now felt free to leave standing open, into the furthest reaches of her closet, and shit all over Politika's shoes.
Do I need to mention how that 15%-chance-cat not only recovered completely, but weeks before the vet had predicted?
No wonder I'm a dog person.