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Look What Dragged The Cat InJune 27, 2007

You should sit down.

No, really, you should.

Last night, at 11:37, Lala burst into our room. I was sound asleep. She yelled, "Rachael! GET UP NOW! You need to come out here!"

My reaction was "WE DON'T HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER!" but I was still sleep-unverbal, so I think I said something more like, "Wha? The hell?"

She said, still dragging me, that nothing was wrong but that I had to come RIGHT NOW. I decided if she was going to show me something on the internet I would f*&king kill her.

But no. She led me into the kitchen and showed me what was on the floor.

Digit.

My boy. My beloved man-cat, who disappeared FOUR MONTHS ago. End of February, beginning of March. Fifteen WEEKS ago. Eulogized here. Love of my life, huge piece of my heart, part of ME, one of the best parts of me, my crotchety cranky baby-cat who was BACK.

Sitting, no, swaying on the kitchen floor.

Lala said she'd heard him crying at the back door, as he always did, just as she was getting ready to turn in. She'd had to check his feet for the extra toes before she believed it was really him.

I dropped to my knees, and he started to purr, even though he could barely raise his head. I was crying the second I saw him, and shaking seconds after that. I've had six or seven dreams since he "died" in which he showed up, was just there, and I looked up at Lala and told her to tell me I wasn't dreaming. She said I wasn't.

She ran around and did all the things I couldn't do, got water, got two kinds of food, got towels.... I couldn't let him go, couldn't stop crying, couldn't stop touching him everywhere, trying to figure out what the hell had happened to him.

See, that cat and me, well, we're a pair. I'm his heart, and he's mine. He always comes back, always makes his way back. I knew he hadn't run away, because he's a one-man cat, and I'm that one man. We sleep paw-in-hand. I might be the only thing he loves besides his freedom.

I felt him everywhere -- no immediate signs of trauma or a car accident -- he could support weight on all four legs, although he had no strength. One eye was gummed shut, but I could see the eye was still there, and when pried open, looked like it had vision. His back end, always a problem for a tranny-cat with crystal issues, was a horrible stinking horror that I won't describe for the sake of your fair sensibilities.

It was midnight, and I had two choices -- I could take him to the emergency vet, an automatic four hundred bucks just to enter the doors, and they'd transfer him to our vet when they opened at 7:30am. Or I could let him sleep, at home, where he'd finally made it. I chose the latter, and made him a bed on the couch, where he seemed to be content to rest. But when I got up to check on him half-an-hour later, he was in the hall, as close as he could get to me without coming in the bedroom. I spent hours out there in the night, just holding his paw and trying to figure out what had happened.

We were at the vet at 7:30 this morning, and the best we can figure is one of two things: He got caught in someone's basement, someplace with water and an occasional mouse, but that wouldn't explain the pads on his feet being so worn. What I think is more likely is that someone "humanely" trapped him as a seeming stray (O Digit who broke out of a collar in two days or less, every time)  and took him far, far away and released him (a kindness, sometimes, when the only shelters around are kill-zones). And he's been wandering, trying to get home for almost four months.

He's lost half his weight, from sixteen pounds to eight. He weighs less that Miss Idaho. His rear end is a nightmare and needs surgery (partly because he hasn't been eating his expensive prescription cat food for months, and partly because flies are a bad, bad thing). His bladder is hard, as if it's full of stones, and the doctor can't hear his heart, which he and I both found strange. (It is possibly that I love him so much that I got his zombie back instead). He is severely dehydrated, and can't have surgery until he's stabilized, and I feel like such an asshole for taking him right to the vet, where he'll have to stay for days, when all he wanted was to come home. Makes me feel like I made the right decision to keep him at home last night.

But the doc thinks we might get him to a place where he can fight back, and if anyone can, my Digit can. Of course, he's gonna be PISSED when he finds out about the kittens I saved in his name. And even though this might be overkill, when he gets better (I hope I hope I hope I wish I wish I pray he gets better), he will be kept inside. And if he turns into the cat from hell, which he will, demanding to get out, he will be chipped (already in the works), and he will wear two collars at all times. I'm not kidding. The other cats will make fun, but he will wear two collars. And maybe an orange CalTrans vest.

I'm beside myself with joy. And worry. I can't lose him again, not just yet.  I had JUST gotten to the point where I could say his name without breaking down. But mostly joy.

Also, I went to Long's after the vet, and bought not one, but two fire extinguishers.

Yep.

O, joy. My heart lives.

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Comments

I had to de-lurk to tell you how wonderful that is! I like the idea of the vest. Congrats on being reunited with your baby!

Oh! That is wonderful that he made it home after so long. Don't let those kittens push him around :)

That's incredible! I'm so happy for you. I just about cried when you said poor Digit was gone.

Congrats on getting your baby back.

That is so amazing! Your story made me tear up. I'm so glad you got *your* cat back.

i'm so glad you have your piece of your heart back! that has to be the best thing to ever get woken up in the middle of the night for!

Oh, Rachael - I am so, so happy for you and Digit. Poor boy - he's really been through it!

Wow. That's amazing news. Sending healing thoughts and prayers so that Digit can come home for good soon.

I'm so happy for you! I cried reading this. Poor Digit...I'll keep my fingers crossed for him.

Yay! I will keep my fingers crossed for the little trooper. I'm so glad he returned!

I had to de-lurk, too. I cried and carried around the cat of my own heart when you told us about his loss. My boy is chipped, and it gives me great peace of mind. I'm so happy for you that he's back!

Now I'm crying at work. I'm so happy Digit is back. I'm sending positive thoughts your way.

long time lurker de-lurking to give you and your little man lots of *hugs*
i still carry my little guy's collar around, (he's passed on) so i feel you.

happy days!

I'm thrilled for you. I recently had to put one of my dogs to sleep because she had cancer and was just to ill to treat, so I have a good idea what you were going through. Best wishes for getting your baby healthy soon!

I'm so glad to read that Digit has returned! Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

So terrifically happy for you and your family!!! best to Mr Digit as he recovers. HOORAY!

OH! Rachel! That's amazing! I am so thrilled for you and I will keep everything I've got crossed wishing his speedy recovery and a relatively smooth transition to him living with the kittens.

YEA! I am so happy for you and your cat. After reading that he went missing, my heart felt for you. Now, knowing he is back, my heart smiles for you!

A de-lurker to say - Yay for returning kitties! Very happy for you.

That made my heart smile.

oh Digit... welcome home, little man.

YAY! I'm so glad he found his way back to you! I'm sure you'll both recover just fine and have many more adventures together :)

Congratulations Rachel. That's so amazing =) Anyone who says cats don't care about their humans needs to read that..I'm all beamy for you!

OMG.

This is the best news I have heard in a while. Poor Kitty, I wish he could tell us what happened! My thoughts are with you and your multi toed kitty.

I'm thrilled for you both. What marvelous news! I've got a good feeling that he'll be feeling good!

Just such an AMAZING story!!! Love your blog - so had to de-lurk to say this. And sending you lots of good vibes to get your little boy healthy again :-)

omg woman. omg.

I'll bet the coyote is in even worse shape. ;-)

What a thriller, really.

Dykes on Bikes and now this! I'm so very, very happy for you.

Oh I'm so happy for you! You should nickname him Lazarus or Jesus or Osiris or some other resurrecting historical figure. That's amazing. Here's hoping he makes a full recovery.

It's your very own "Incredible Journey." How fantastic. Good kitty healing vibes headed Digits way.

Oh. My. All I can think of is WOW! Lots and lots of healing thoughts going down your way...

Way to make me cry at work... ;)

Welcome home Digit!!! Now get healthy and fast! :D

AWW. My heart broke for you when you wrote about him going missing, and I'm so glad he's back, for both you and him. yay for being reunited :D

I cried tears of joy reading your post. Welcome Home Digit!!!!! Many prayers going up to St. Francis for a speedy recovery!

Kate

Oh, Rachael. I am so pleased for you and for Digit. I got all teary reading your post (and not because I'm allergic to cats!)

And good on you for getting fire extinguishers - a must have.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!

I don't know what else to say, I'm just thrilled.

This is amazing. Yay Digit!!!

Oh, Rachael - I hope he does OK, but he's now home.

Oh. My. GAWD! Amazing!!!!! Not that I would doubt that Digit would come home if he possibly could, but when you gave up hope, so did I. I'm sitting here at work with tears running down my face AGAIN for Mr. Toes, and also you better keep him inside for the rest of his life, for his own damn good, ok? Pleeease?

That's so amazing! Little Digit is in my prayers! I love that little guy!!!!!!!!

Oh Rachael that is fantastic news!! Digit does indeed lurve you more than might be right between kitty and mommy, but hey, I'm good with tran-species lurving! I will be saying and thinking only good thoughts to the north for you and Digit.

And fire extinguishers - you can never have too many!

All I can say is, wow.

I have a friend who insists that animals don't have emotions. All I can say is, he needs to read this.

Good luck, good luck, good luck with his healing!

WOW! That's crazy amazing! I'm glad you found each other again. I hope he gets well soon.

Holy cow, Lady! SUCH fantastic news, even though it may be marginal given his condition.

Oh, precious boy to come home to his Mama.

Here's some healing vibes sent his way. OH! So marvelous this world is, sometimes!

that is GREAT news! best wishes to digit for complete and imminent recovery. :-)

Great news! I'm so happy for you, and Cocoa and Otis send healing thoughts to Digit.

I nearly cried when I read your post from April about losing Digit, and I am teary eyed again. I know what it's like to love your pets more than anything. I'll be sending get-well-Digit thoughts your way.

OMG! I'm so happy for you and Digit! SO VERY HAPPY!

Wonderful!!!

Oh, Rachel, you don't know me from Adam, but I read your blog and am so happy for you!! Cats are amazing animals and truly have 9 lives. I am sending all the positive energy I can muster to Digit. woohoo!!!!

That is absolutely incredible. Made me want to cry! I wish him the best in his recovery (and you too!)

Me too, I am crying. Started as soon as I read "Digit". I am so glad he is back and you have a vet who will help him heal.

Man, I am soooo glad for you. I lost (leukemia) my boy who I held hands/paws with while we slept. I know how important that is and what it is like to miss it. So, my heart beats in vicarious happiness for you.

Maxly

Hooray for the return of Digit! Will be thinking healing kitty thoughts and pulling for a full recovery.

I had to delurk. My heart broke for you when Digit went away and it was so terrific to read your post today! He sounds like quite a scrappy boy. It also sounds as if he is a tooth and nail fighter so I bet he will get through the hospitalization too.
I'm so happy for you and Lala!

Oh girl, I got all weepy reading your post! I'm so glad Digit is back and I trust the good vets can help him. Bless his heart. I know I would be an absolute wreck if it were one of my four kitties. Sending up little healing prayers for you guys.

Oh. My. Gosh. Incredible.

Yay!!! So happy to hear he's back. Keeping my fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

You are like Oprah--sometimes you make-a me laugh, sometimes you make-a me cry. Today you did both. I will be sending healing vibes to your Digit. Keep us posted.

Unfriggin'believable! WELCOME HOME, DIGIT. Hope he heals up fast and good!

Oh Rachel, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Digit! No matter what, he made it home to the one he loves.

I cannot even FATHOM how you've made it through these past few months(!), being a cat-Mom myself. I'm so, SO happy for you!!!! I will pray that your beloved Digit returns to full health and welcomes the other kitties with open paws:). YEAH!!!

I am amazed. Just reading not believing what I am reading... How wonderful!!!!!! And very very cool. Enjoy this moment :-)
...wow.

Go, Digit! Go, Digit! Get better!

So, so pleased for you and fingers crossed for his full recovery in all good time. I hope you are dancing the happy dance!

Rach!!! I knew it! I knew you were right when you said, weeks and weeks and weeks ago, that you could tell he was out there still, looking for you and trying to get home. And he was, and he did! He will make it through just fine, your Digit.

YAY! Go sit with him often, and ask the vet if, while he's already out for his surgery, they can tattoo your name on him. (They used to tattoo female cats at the humane society to let you know later that they'd been fixed, so it's not out of the realm of possibility). Then get him a microchip. Then knit him a little basket and carry him with you every. freaking. where. because you are one lucky cat-lover. Love and healing thoughts to Digs.

WOW! Just wow. I'm in awe.

Do you get to visit him during his recuperation at the vets? Hmmm... Could they possibly keep you away would be the better question.

Wow. Just, wow. My hair stood on end when I read this. Seriously, goosebumps all over. Then I got weepy. Yay Digit!!!

That is amazing! Yeah Digit!!

Oh, honey, I'm so glad. May the Beloved Cat heal well and throughly and quickly!

Love, Anne (formerly of Creating Text(iles))

I realize this is just a side benefit of Digit's greatness, but you both made my crappy week a lot better with that story. Yay for Digit!

I KNEW IT!!!!! I knew, had this feeling, evertime I visit you, that he would came back, and maybe today would be the day. I'm so awesomely happy for you!! He will be fine, I know it! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!

I've been having a semi-crappy week so far, and that story just made me so happy and sniffly! Poor Digit, he must have gone through hell to get home to you.

This post made me comment for the first time (I've been reading for ages, though). It also made cry and laugh out loud, especially the thought of a vest on Digit. I'm so happy for both of you!

Wow! What an amazing story. Did he come home clutching a coyote paw in his little teeth? I'll be thinking healing thoughts for your amazing brave guy. Yay on Lala for not just thinking the meow was his ghost.

OH MY GOSH! I can barely see to write through the tears. You have put a bright spot in a truly truly crappy week for me.

Holy moly! I'm so glad Digit found home again, and hope that he makes a full recovery from his trials.

Oh my Goodness! That is so amazing!! I cried. I'm still crying!

Wow. That is amazing and wonderful! I am so happy for both of you, and I hope he's better very soon.

I am beyond happy for you. This is such wonderful news!

Yeah!!! So very happy for all of you!

So, so, so, so happy for you! And of course he'll make it - look how hard he worked to get back to you. Wow!

Holy momma mia! Wow! Digit is the wonder cat. Digits crossed for a good and speedy recovery.

Rachael,
I am so happy for you and Digit. I am crying at work (which I NEVER do). It is wonderful to picture Lala dragging you out of bed, what an incredible and wonderful surprise. I am sending warmest best wishes for a speedy recovery for the boy.
Incredible, so very very happy for you.

My kitties and I are sending good vibes to you and Digit. I hope you get to visit him often. And even if he is upset with you and the vet, he IS around to be upset. :-) Just amazing.

How absolutely amazing!

I hope the vet works his miracles and wish Digit all the luck in the world.

Much love to you all.

YEA! I am so happy and excited about Digit! I'll be sending healing booty thoughts his way.

He loves you that much. Oh you lucky lucky thing. That's the best thing I've ever heard.

Gotta go find some kleenex now.

oh wow -- I am all teary eyed now - but in a good way :D

Can you at least visit him at the vets....and you know he may not complain about being an indoor cat after that ordeal at all.

Delurking to say -
Welcome Home, Digits!!!

Delurking to join in the celebration for Digit's return. I hope he is restored to health quickly and easily.

Sending get well thoughts to your Digit! I can only imagaine how thrilled you were to see him!

Oh, I am absolutely thrilled for you! Thanks so much for letting us know.

Oh my gosh that's amazing...welcome home, Digit!

Oh Rachael. To have your heart's love back... what a gift. What an absolute gift. I can't blame you for never wanting to let go of him when he comes home, all fixed up. *snif*

I'm sobbing.

I hope so much that your kitty will be o.k. Don't be shy about asking your readers for help if you need it.

Oh, Rachael. A blessing on your house. Truly.

Oh, Digit... Oh Rachael...

I'm so glad he's back. I'm so sorry you've had to do the grieving and will someday have to do it again and he's going to go through vet and surgery hell.

Flies are terrible, especially on animals' backsides. I've smelled it, I've seen it.

How about an ear tag like many sheep? More visible than a chip.

Wow That's great! I'm so glad Digit made it home!!

Blessings on you and yours as Digit settles back into your home.

So so so happy for you! Best thoughts to Digit, get well buddy!

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