A Daring Rescue

/ posted in: Work

I was leaving work on Friday when I saw a cat that hangs out sometimes in the parking lot stroll into 4 lanes of traffic. He strolled. He didn’t dash out into traffic. From my vantage point I couldn’t see him in the road but the cars never slowed so I thought maybe he made it through. I pulled forward enough to see the road and he was there rolling end over end and then pulled himself off the road into a stand of trees.

I’m a vet. You can’t really let that kind of thing go. I parked my car and flagged down a staff member and we mounted a rescue. She ran across the road and I went to find capture equipment and more help.

We gathered up a net, a carrier, towels, and a flashlight. We managed to catch him but he was not happy about it. Then we had to get back to the clinic.

Remember there are four lanes of traffic. One way was clear but there was about to be a lot of traffic coming when the light down the way turned green. The other way was solid traffic. One of my techs had the brilliant idea to cross halfway. That’s a fine idea if there is a place to stand in the middle. Or if the traffic the other way stops before the light turned green and the rest of the traffic started bearing down on us. Or if we weren’t all wearing dark clothing at night. Or we weren’t carrying a big carrier full of pissed off cat. We pretty much darted into traffic and made it through with better luck than the kitty. There was screaming. I think it was me.

After that we had to figure out what to do with the kitty. He was angry. A tech suited up with gloves and towels (run me into traffic, will you?) and pinned him in the carrier and I stuck him with a syringeful of antibiotics through the holes in the carrier. We fed him some food laced with painkillers. Then we left him to calm down overnight.

He didn’t. We quickly realized that this was not someone’s beloved lap kitty. We had a full-on feral tom cat with aspirations to be a mountain lion on our hands. He was dubbed “Mr. Cuddles” after he attacked us repeatedly.

His back end was obviously broken. I sedated him. Three times. It finally took. We scanned him for a microchip in case he had people. He didn’t have a chip so I euthanized him because he was suffering and wasn’t going to be amenable to handling to try to fix him.

The addendum to this story is the reaction of the significant others of myself and the two people who helped catch him. All of them told us that we were complete idiots for trying to catch an injured cat. The tech said her fiance just kept asking, “Why?” She said that she thought he was misunderstanding the story so she’d start over. “There was this cat. He got hit.” It was obvious to her.

Maybe it is just vet people. It either changes you or you have to be crazy to go into the field.