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This has not been a very fun Easter. My BFF, who already has one indoor pet cat, had been feeding a bunch of feral cats out of her back yard for years.  She gave them names, they had litters, kittens died, some cats quit showing up, she’d taken at least one badly injured/ill one to be put down, etc.  About the first of the year, the new management of the place where she’s currently living (for only 11 more days, thank you so much) told her that if she didn’t quit feeding them and do something about them, they were going to evict her.  (Shortly after that, they told her she had until April 30 to find someplace else to live and be moved out, but that’s a different story).

She caught as many of the cats as she could and took them to a mutual friend who fosters and adopts them out through a local humane society, but there was one she had named “Bella” who was unadoptable.  At some point early in the game, she had gotten one eye poked out, but had survived that.  One of her litter mates had been looking out for her, but he was rounded up with the other adoptables and she was left on her own.  A couple of weeks ago, Bella  showed up with a hind leg either dislocated or broken and at some point she had become incontinent of stool.  I don’t mean to pass judgment, but if it had been me, I would have taken the cat right then and had her put down.  But my BFF continued to feed her when she showed up, hoping her leg would get better.  However, as I noted, my BFF is moving to an apartment on April 10th, there was no way she could take Bella with her, and I had finally managed to convince her that Monday, we were taking the cat and having her put out of her misery — I was even going to drive.

Today, Bella showed up dragging her hind quarters.  Her back legs appeared to be totally paralyzed.  Still she managed to drag herself into my BFF’s house to the place she liked to sit.  I was having a lie-in when the phone rang at 2 p.m.   My BFF had called a local emergency vet clinic and arranged to have Bella put down, and she wanted me to drive her there.  I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and drove to her place.  She had already put the cat in a carrier, and rode in the back seat with her while I drove us over to the emergency vet clinic.  Turns out the clinic is s owned and run by a doc who I used to go to at the animal clinic where I took my cats.  But he “retired,” sold the clinic and I quit going there.  He had done mission work in Guatemala for a while, and after he came back to the US, he bought this little emergency veterinary clinic which is only open when most clinics aren’t.  Most of the vets in town are “dog” people; cats are just a sideline.  But Dr. F. is “cat” people.  He loves cats and has as many as his wife will let him have.

Shortly before we’d gotten there, some people had brought a dog in that was bleeding, and there were bloody dog prints in the waiting room because the assistant hadn’t had a chance to mop them up.  Of course, by that time, we were both fighting tears.  Dr. F was busy with the dog, and after the assistant had gotten the room cleaned up, she took us back to wait until Dr. F could see us.  I had to listen to my BFF berate herself (saying all the things I would have said but didn’t) for not having done this a month ago.  I was pretty upset myself, thinking of the animals I’d had to have put down (see “My Angels“) and how, even when you know things are hopeless and you have no other recourse, it still rips you up to have to do it.  My BFF and Dr. F. got the poor thing out of the carrier and he wrapped her in a towel and took her off to put a catheter in a vein to make things easier, but once he got her back there and turned the clippers on to shave a patch so he could find a vein, she was terrified to the point of panic and he didn’t want to terrorize her any more, so he just gave her an intramuscular injection of sedative and brought her back.  We stayed with her until the injection took effect and then he came and did the deed.

We were understandably rather subdued as I drove her back home.  We stopped off at a McDonald’s to get a soft drink on the way, and my car started idling rough and actually died on me while we were in the drive through lane.  The closer we got to her house, the more the Crayola started acting like the clutch fluid reservoir was low.  Just as I was about to turn into her parking lot, I couldn’t get it to go in gear — worked with it a minute sitting in the middle of the street and finally got it into second and made it into her parking lot.  This was concerning as I’d filled the reservoir Thursday when I’d gone to pick my car up at the brake place and this was the first time I’d driven it since.  It usually goes a while before it needs refilling.  As I mentioned, I keep a bottle of hydraulic fluid in my trunk.  I popped open the hood/bonnet, and sure enough, the reservoir was all but empty.  After I filled the reservoir, there was only about an inch of hydraulic fluid left in the bottle, so I took a detour by Walmart — which was fortunately open, and  got a new bottle and a few groceries.

By the time I got home, took out garbage, sorted out the Littermaid, and took a shower, I had managed to get a little emotional distance before I had a chance to get myself all worked up remembering “my angels.”  When I booted up my computer to read my blogs and comics and stuff, I had two “seller notification” emails that I had sold a book and a DVD I had listed on Amazon, so I had to pack those for shipment, print out labels, etc.  The DVD would have fit in my mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up, but the book was a hardback and wouldn’t have fit, so about 10 p.m., I ran them by the post office and dumped them in the after hours package hopper.  Not to put too fine a point on the day, when I got on the Loop access road to go to the post office, there was a cat lying dead in the roadway.

I think I need to go have a snuggle with kitties.