When cats go missing we always seem to envision our puss in boots cold, lost, hungry and scared. We never seem to think, hey my cat is fighting with other cats and is trying to bite half its face off, or hey, my cat is causing a great deal of inconvenience to innocent cats and good decent people.
The Great Flood of 2011 (we’re okay, really) caused a lot of incommodious for folks who lived by the river, and though I was cozy okay living near the mountains, I too would be indirectly vexed by the current situation.
The missing cat, you see, was from the river and my dear Romeo was just defending our home when a cat called Tybalt entered:
Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
No better term than this,–thou art a villain.
Tybalt! (that’s how I learned his name)
Villain am I none;
Therefore farewell; I see thou know’st me not.
Tybalt cat then said,
Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.
I know! This all occurred far from the house and in the dark but I could hear them clearly. I managed to get Tybalt away from Romeo by tossing rocks in their direction but the damage had already been done. I just didn’t know it yet.
It’s been about a week and I’m not sure where Tybalt cat is. The last I saw was him leaping away from a group of Thai men who looked all business with a machete, burlap bag, string and a bucket. Apparently there is a 2000 baht reward for Tybalt’s capture…
Meanwhile good decent people watched a small lump appear under Romeo’s left eye. He seemed fine and frisky but I decided after a day or so to have him looked at since the bump wasn’t going away. I drive a motorbike and lack a kitty carrier so I decided to call friends with cars and then the taxi service.
The driver who knows where I live (and my house is hard to find and not on any songtaew line!) was in Chiang Rai and the call center and I seemed to be having one of those splendid expat moments of un-communication. Finally I hung up and tried not to hyperventilate. I would take the cat by motorbike.
You know that scene in the Matrix or Hunt for Red October or any thriller where the protagonist is frantically calling and texting for help? That was me and just like in the movies, I was receiving wonderful help. My friend Mel showed up to drive and I got directions to the CMU’s small animal hospital. Now it just came down to the cat.
What to do with the cat? Putting him in a pillow case didn’t work. He ripped right through it and landed on his feet. Did I mention he’s a fighter? Plastic boxes that were around were too small. Despite his now abscessing wound, he would give chase.
The empty box of Leo beer seemed the right size and ironically funny, so I decided to give it a try. We taped him in there and with me sitting behind Mel we motorbiked off with Romeo meowing. He did fine for about 2km and then like an alien trying to break through a human belly, he started to punch his head out of the box.
So my friend had the excellent idea of wrapping her raincoat around the box and then just for extra measure bungie cording it shut. It looked like we were trying to suffocate Romeo but I assure you this was for his own good. So now green plastic was skin of human belly that alien cat was trying to break through. Hyperventilation had begun for all of us.
CMU’s small animal hospital was spacious and filled with well-behaved dogs and their owners. The wait was an atrocious 1 to 2 hours. Mel and I started to laugh. Look at what the cat dragged in: two farangs who looked like we were the ones who were in the fight. One of my former students was there with his white fluffy dog. He waved.
The friend who gave me directions and who has brought her own cat here since it is a good 24 hour emergency hospital decided to stop by for support. She kept me company while Mel went to find a suitable cat carrier as the cardboard box had lost all of its integrity.
Thankfully Mel convinced me go the the hospital I originally wanted to go to. It’s further away but it seemed clawless to wait. The blue plastic basket was a much more pleasant experience for us, can’t say the same thing for the cat but we got there and received immediate attention.
Romeo stayed until Dr. Duke’s closed. He needed to have an empty stomach (never happens with this cat) before being sedated. The vet needed to shave half his face, the wound at this point had abscessed. I’ll spare you the color details…
After work, my friend JP accompanied me. Poor Romeo was still sedated, limp as a cat could be, wearing a cone collar, the bite wound and scratch that I never saw under the fur was exposed and swollen. I was given his meds and JP carried Romeo in her arms like a babe as we motorbiked back to my cabin in the bamboo woods.