Warning: Graphic pictures at the foot of this report.
There came another message on my phone: a picture of a group of children with various costumes, each with a bag full of candies. Four days rain had broken. A treat from mother nature. Though the evening is moonless, children’s laughter light the night.
I tucked the phone into my pocket without answering and turned away from the window. I’ll treat them by not telling my story.
A true story about this skeleton cat who drank from a puddle right in front of the sanctuary just when I pull up from my morning round with the strays.
He has no nose. No, seriously. He has no jaw. He was eaten alive by mange and skin disease.
I opened the fence as if the most hideous monster was trying to eat me. I throw my bag on the floor, I ran back swinging my jacket open.
I wrapped him and hold him and run back into the house.
He squirmed and I kneel down knowing where he was going, and even from such shallow height he crashed land on the floor, skidding toward the food container I put on the porch of the shop for whom it may concern.
Three hours until my vet office would open feels like three centuries. I cleaned his eyes, I clipped his nail. He smelled like rotting flesh. He is a rotting flesh.
His back was almost hairless, which I wiped with warm water and mild baby soap. All the dirt that makes him darker than his real skin, all the crusty fungus turned the water pitch black.
His stick-like legs, his bald tummy. His eyes closed, and the way he lifted his head slightly when he felt the rub of warm towel as if it makes him brand new.
Then he put his head on my bosom, just a little bit, just a few second. I was determined not to let a single droplet of tears touched him because salty water must be painful, and he must have been in so much pain already, for who knows how long.
He walked slowly toward a plate of fish I shredded just for him and eat again. I found his way of swallowing a bit odd, but I was too taken to his gruesomely disfigured face that I didn’t realize what it was at that time.
Trick came after the treat and instead of being refreshed, his condition slowly but steadily declined. He used litter box before and it came out rather good, but after so much gobbling down food, what he left in the litter box was creamy, pungent liquid. First it’s brown, later pinkish.
Surely it’s not the first time I stormed through the door, that the entire clinic just lift their head for second and go back to their own business. One of my senior vet cleared out a way to the exam room and put on gloves. Most senior vet tech ran into the room ready for assistance. Twelve years and counting, if Josie came crashing into the clinic, it won’t be good.
They all wear masks, so do I, but after the pandemic language does not belong to the tongue, it belongs to the eye. At least one of those two pairs of eyes were swearing in silence when they saw what came out of my basket.
By then my man was too weak to walk on his own. He was severely dehydrated, and more pink pungent cream came out of his bottom.
He has fluid put in intravenously. He has various injections in place of life support. He squirms and fights, but he can’t even lift his head long enough.
He was laid down on his side and when he looked at me, I saw a gaping hole as big as chestnut on his throat, covered by crusty, thin layer of hair.
In a moment when I was alone with him, I looked at his decrepit eyes and whisper just between us.
“From this moment, you will be Adam. The first of men, the first of us all. You will be leading your life in paradise, you shall bask in the first sun, and play under afternoon shower. You will celebrate dusk, and you shall live long and prosper like finest of all creatures as God made you to be.
But first, Adam, let me be the eve of your new day.”
And he calmed down.
Still paradise won’t come right away. He got an X Ray that showed hard and solid things in his tummy, as if he was so hungry he ate rocks. He has fluid in his abdomen. He must have surgery: to remove the rocks from his intestines, to extract the foreign fluid in his abdomen, and to put his slashed throat back together. I imagine he wouldn’t be able to eat on his own for days, maybe over a week.
A swab taken from his cheek did not produce clear indication of what had eaten his face, even with the best of microscope. So we have to wait for the result of a biopsy.
Because a face like his can be caused by a fungal infection called Sporotrichosis that is transferable not only to other cats, but also to humans.
When I look back at him after the whole veterinary briefing, I found that Adam had fallen asleep; obviously because he must be so tired, though his face clearly shown that he also feels better.
Three hours later when I am back at the front door of my house, I walk in with a basket full of tricks and treats. The trick of demons that torment an unfortunate cat, the trick of human ignorance toward innocent creature whom they supposed to care for and protect, the trick of what might be looming doom.
The treats of perserverance that keep this speechless cat alive, the treats of God’s mercy that lead him to my doorstep.
Hopefully the treat of love from caring people who will bring the treat of light into Adam’s dark days,
And the treat of life, long and prosperous as it should be.
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