Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy came home as a scrawny, two pound little kitten. He was stinky, on antibiotics, and full of worms. But he was spunky. The other kitten we were looking at was fluffy white with a black goatee, and very concerned with hygiene. While he sat grooming, Darcy was frantically chasing the mouse on a stick and finally catching it, he backed away with it in his mouth, growling like some sort of feral weirdo. (Which probably wasn't too far from the truth as the only info the humane society had was that his litter was found in a barn). We thought maybe he displayed enough spirit to 1) be a good mouser and 2) stand up to our German shepherd with an overly strong prey drive.

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The first two days he cried non stop. Chloe and I carried him around in a sling during the day, and he slept on her head at night, as close to her breath as he could get. I tried to ignore him so that he would love someone else best.
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Right away, he set about taming Roscoe and Ella (our border collie mix) while I tried to convince the dogs that he was not food. He should have been afraid of Roscoe (who had killed and eaten two previous bunnies, and chased off our other attempt at a cat) but he wasn't. Roscoe wasn't quite sure what to do with the scrawny thing darting under his legs, swiping his nose with a set of claws, and hanging off the ruff of his neck, biting viciously (although ineffectively). The vet said she rarely saw such a confident kitten and Darcy proved it when he caught his first mouse. He took his prize to a corner and threatened to kill and eat Roscoe too when he came to investigate. Roscoe cautiously backpedaled away to a safe distance from the high pitched snarling emitting from our sweet little kitty.

 photo phoo6_zps5e5c8785.jpgAt 9 months, Mr. D jumped off the couch and broke his femur. The bone slipped off the connecting ball in his hip. We sat in the little consulting room as the vet told us our options were a 4k surgery or euthanasia. I knew there was no way we could spend that kind of money on a cat. And as it turns out, the little guy had decided that I was his person. Apparently, Chris was thinking-Aww shoot, we're going to have to put him down, then he looked at my face and -Aww shoot, I'm going to have to pay for surgery.

That night, Darcy dragged himself on three legs to my bed and tried to jump up as usual, falling back on his injured leg and crying. So I slept on the floor with him so he would stop trying. And he finally slept, with his head in my hand, close enough so he could feel my breath, and purred. In the morning, he tried crawling after Chris to follow him to the shower, because that's what they always did. And then I knew I couldn't put him down. Because the price of a life, even a cat's life, can't be measured in dollars.

 photo pht1o_zps22a4d943.jpg My 6 year old nephew tried to give us his Christmas money to pay for the surgery and he had his entire class at church praying for Mr. D because they were learning that God can do anything. My tenderhearted kids were distraught. There was a lot riding on this little barn cat.
So yeah, we did the surgery. And although, we found a much cheaper option at the CSU vet hospital, if you had ever told me that we would pay for surgery for a cat, I would have laughed out loud. The orthopedic surgeons were certain that he was injured because he was neutered by the humane society too early, so his growth plates didn't close the way they were designed to. That means there is a possibility that he will injure his other leg. Mr. Darcy is recovering well, almost back to his normal self. He's still a fighter, tearing around the house with hardly a limp, sassing the dogs, and jumping onto our bed at night again. Right now, we are grateful for our happy ending.