Rainy days at Highpants HQ are often the most productive, today was no exception. Winter had returned with vengeance, a cold wind was blowing and constant rain all day had produced the perfect conditions for a busy indoors day.
Highpants tasks were dropping like flies, articles written and databases programmed. My brother Norbut was even dropping by to talk shop (web in this case), no small effort on a day like today.
On this rainy Thursday though fate had a cruel twist in store for us, a story would unfold around us so sad that it will tear at the hearts of even the most heartless amongst us, yet it’s also a story of hope.
After the 24 hour roller-coaster had run its course, while trying to make sense of the events we sat down to compare notes, building the back story. Here in lies the story of Lucky the cat.
A new friend.
Heading over to Highpants HQ (really just the Home Office spare room of my flat) Norbut walked quickly in the rain, pork pie hat keeping his head dry at least. Striding out to keep his pace up he turned the corner, only half a block to go and a warm dry refuge would be his. Dodging the local StKilda crazy who always insisting on a conversation he charged on.
Out of the corner of his eye, barely perceivable something had caught his attention, a movement in the shadows of doorway. After going in to investigate Norbut found a small white and very soggy cat screaming in miserable pain. Now Norbut is a natural animal person, he has always had an affinity with all animals, and they seem to have also have the same affinity for him.
With a matted and dread-locked coat little Lucky the cat (our name giving to him that night) sat asking for help. Please don’t leave me here his eyes screamed. His high pitched young meow crying out as desperately as one animal could cry out.
Rapping urgently on my front door Norbut kept an eye on the little white cat, lucky is keeping his distance but following. Opening the door the sight of Lucky in the distance was enough; we both knew what we had to do. I had initially thought that Lucky was the local neighborhood bully cat, a big white cat, this was not the case at all though, Lucky was a tiny underweight adolescent a year old at most.
Scooting quickly over the road Norbut purchased a selection of cat food and we went to see what we could do. In the time it had taken us to get organised Lucky had scampered out to the back carpark, hiding under a car in the torrential rain.
Coaxing him out of his refuge Norbut popped the top of a cat food tin, Lucky’s attention was captured as he rushed the tin. Naturally Norbut started to retreat to dry cover with the tin in order to get Lucky out of the elements. Each time Norbut would move the tin Lucky would give him the wait for me meow and wave his paw at the tin. Following the tin both were quickly inside with a bowl of cat food laid out, periodically looking up and surveying his new surroundings Lucky scoffed the first tin of food.
Never before had I seen a more scared, wetter or more bedraggled cat in my life, with months of dreadlocks covering his soaked white coat and a nasty dribble, Lucky was a sight to behold.
For all of his wear and tear from what looks to have been an extremely tough month or two Lucky was also one of the cutest and charismatic cats I have ever been fortunate enough to share a couch with. Once he was dry and safe his fluffy pure white coat and big happy eyes looked back, happy to be safe.
A terrible day to die, giving Lucky a chance.
There is little doubt that had we not welcomed Lucky in that night; he would have died wet and cold under a car. He was incredibly malnourished weighing no more than 500grams, once he was dry. The sort of malnourished that comes from no food for weeks. While he had the spirit of a little fighter he would have lost that fight on that cold wet night.
Norbut and I both agreed that this was no way for any creature to die, a belief that drove all of our decisions at the time. Hence we invited this fluffy white cat in and did what we could to help him survive.
After the first can of cat food had been devoured we loaded another bowl with a second, moving it under a coffee table in the living room to keep an eye on him. .
Lucky quickly settled in, half way through the second tin he performed his first cat walk around, checking all of the rooms out then returning to the food. With each relaxing exhale he settled in a little more. Quickly making himself at home.
As wet as he was it was impossible to dry him by hand, his dreads so mangled that it would tug on his skin hurting him. Turning the heaters up to max dried him off in a couple of hours and he slowly started to warm up.
By tin 3 I was already thinking how Lucky would make a great pet, would fit right in here. After a little lap time he made himself at home next to me on the couch. Stretching out and leaning against my leg he went to sleep next to his human heater. With a few twitches and sleepy meows I knew he was sleeping, something he hadn’t done much of recently.
After putting down bowl four as I turn around Lucky darts out of the kitchen, I follow him but he disappears, moving quicker than I. Coming out of the bathroom it appears his bladder is working, using the kitty litter he was obviously a well trained house cat at one stage.
I stayed up with Lucky that night, giving him endless ear scratches and pats. Eventually I had to hit the hay, back to work at the office tomorrow. I tried to put Lucky up on the bed to sleep but he would quickly jump off to explore cupboards and knock about, which he did enjoy.
Next morning when I get up Lucky was sleeping happily on the living room floor, I was a little worried he might have passed away in his sleep but with his little meow i was reassured.
Still loving his food I served up breakfast, he trotted into the kitchen with a meow and a strut. After breakfast Lucky even managed to do number two’s. While he was still one very sick little cat he seemed to have improved greatly.
I spent an hour scratching and massaging Lucky before I had to leave for work, Norbut was on his way to pop in and take him to the vets if need be. As I left for work Lucky was drinking water from his cup.
Finding peace in a cage, hope where there was none before
Norbut made it over by about 9.30 Friday to check on our chatty new cat friend. The decision to take the cat to the vets had to be made with the cats best interests at heart, and Lucky was so sick that he needed to be taken. By this stage Lucky’s pains were coming back as the shock of exposure has worn off. His lung infection seemed to be getting worse and he wasn’t very steady on his feet. Lucky needed medical attention if he was to survive that much was clear.
Norbut made Lucky as comfortable as he could and carried the tiny cat, box and all, around to the local vets. Naturally as soon as Lucky was checked in his chip was scanned, and ownership defaulted to the name connected to the chip.
Lucky now found himself under the care of the Vets, in a cage. The chip quickly providing the families details who were promptly contacted. The family were still in the same address, still contacted via the same phone number; at least we knew he wasn’t simply dumped when someone moved.
Nursing him back to health ourselves is an option I might consider next time around but it still would have required antibiotics and other medications to save Lucky, hitting the chip wall again as soon as you go to a vet.
Saying good bye to the family…
The family made it to the vets that afternoon; sadly they decided to have Lucky put down, he was too sick and now in pain. The family were also unable to afford to look after him. The vet did pass on the families thanks, at least they got to say goodbye to their cat.
Since we weren’t the official owners of Lucky or rather the chip implanted into Lucky, we could have no part to play in this decision.
Lucky knew that he was on the way to the vets earlier that day, Norbut had noticed that he was happy and relaxed, with a content look in his eyes the whole time. I like to think that he had made peace with his death, happy to have had one night with good people and being able to say goodbye to his first family.
In some small way I hope we made a difference, with the whole sad equation shifting from a cat dying wet and alone under a car to that of a cat with a little hope and dignity. Don’t get me wrong I would have been honoured to have Lucky as a pet for as long as he lived, but I get the feeling no matter what we would have done he was never going to make it.
The cat with no name
Norbut only found out about Lucky’s fate after calling the vets back at 4.30, it wasn’t until the news had sunk in that he realized the chain of events that had just unfolded around him. He called me at work and all I can say is it was lucky the day was almost over; I very nearly lost it there and then.
The prospect of giving Lucky a good home had seemed like a pleasant happenstance, but that possibility had been taken away by a family I would never know or understand. All happening to a cat whose name we will never know.
The bit that really stings though is after giving this most precious little fella hope, after bringing him back from the brink it is all taken away in the blink of an eye. I try to remind myself that when your time is up, it’s up but to little avail, I still miss the little white fluff ball.
That Friday night Norbut and I said our goodbyes and celebrated the life that was Lucky, a light that shone very brightly but so very briefly, and one we will never forget.
Buddha’s Brother out…