As you know from a previous blog entry, I like cats. (One reader things that makes me a bit, shall we say, gay. Did I mention this reader is a visor-wearer! The irony!)
But this story is more a tale of compassion. At least it starts this way.
One night I park in front of my condo unit just around dusk. I may have had a frosty adult beverage. Or 12. And I see this cat limp into the bushes. Assuming it's not an hallucination, I try to peer in and see if the cat needs any help, in case it's bleeding or drunk. Oh wait, that's me. But to no avail, and I go inside.
About a week later, when leaving to go somewhere else (oh perhaps to have a frosty beverage. Or 15), I see the cat across the parking lot. I instantly know why he's slowly hobbling. The little bugger has three legs. Two front, one back. My first thought was "I wonder if this cat has 6.75 lives." Actually, I first thought, "What's 9 lives times three-quarters." Then about ten minutes later, carry the one, oh -- my cell phone has a calculator! - I wondered if the cat has 6.75 lives.
So the cat, who surprisingly did not limp in a circle, plops down on its side. Maybe it fell over. Who knows. The animal seems approachable. I let if sniff my finger. Then I wonder where that finger has been. I pet the cat on the top of the head, slowly, the whole time looking for the Great Nub of Wonder. Did the cat get run over? Woodchipper? Can you fit a cat with a fake leg?
I didn't see any stump, so my guess is it was born three-legged. Maybe it was one of those hyrbrid breeds gone wrong, like with dogs when they mate a Lhasa Apso with a Shih Tzu and end up with a Lhasa Shihtz.
Then I made a critical cat mistake. I pet her behind the ears. Tripod leaps up and, I swear to God, sprints away. Straight god damn beeline across the lot. I'm thinking "This stupid friggin cat is sympathy limping, probably for food. Or maybe for catnip, like homeless Viet Nam vets who just want to score some weed."
So I do the only thing I can think to do. I chase after the cat. I'm not sure why, but I pretty much think I've been shown up by an animal that takes the small yellow carrier to the vets office. A feline Special Olympian. A special needs cat.
Of course I didn't catch it -- it had one more leg than me. Duh!
So I'm standing 25 feet from my car and feel like a complete tool, having chased a crippled cat for some unknown reason. So I do what a cat does when it falls or fails to land a jump. I kinda shrug my shoulders and strut away as if that's what I meant to do. Fortunately the mailboxes were close by so I did get to check the mail. What's on top? A pet store circular advertising a "slicker set" for your pet. A rain hat, a rain coat, and four little boots.
Drown, you triangular pest, I think. Get your own damn rubbers.