Today’s date sums up as 9-9-9, a cat has nine lives and mine almost died at 9 am today!
This isn’t about numbers or superstitions but how scary it is to hold a pet you love (or a person for that matter) when they are almost dying a potentially violent death in your arms.
We woke up early today (as I do on most Sundays.)
Around 9 am while I was busy trying to get back into my Yoga schedule while my four and a half months old kitten Billu or Bubu was playing in the other room, (like he always does once he has eaten and pooped in the morning). A normal Sunday morning was suddenly interrupted when I heard a strange kind of a sound emanating from that room. I realised that it was Bubu . And he was making a sound that was part hostile & part in pain.
I ran to the other room and what followed was pure horror.
I had hung a long string from the fan for Bubu to play with. Every time the fan was switched on the string danced and Bubu chased it. He’s been doing this since July and nothing bad happened; mainly because I’m always around when he’s playing with it. But what happened today was a horrid stroke of bad luck..
When I entered the room I saw that the string had gotten entwined around his neck. He was on his back on the floor struggling with it and trying to disentangle himself, but failing. He was in fact crying in pain. Meanwhile the fan continued to move at high speed.
I rushed to turn off the fan and picked him up from the floor (thinking that being closer to the fan will stop the strangulation) But it didn’t. The string had, by now, become so tight that it was cutting into him skin and choking him.
He was desperately trying to free himself, signalling with his tiny paws and looking at me as if saying – “help me!”
But the string was so tight around his fragile neck that I couldn’t even get my finger between his skin and the string (to pull on it).
I had to think on my feet. We were losing time.
“Scissors!” I thought. I should get scissors to cut the string.”
But if I were to let him go then he would hang by the neck and die.
The only thing I could do was to loosen the string with one hand, while holding Bubu with the other hand which would take forever! The fan was slowing down, but this wasn’t helping us. There were so many twists in the string that I could have never straighten it out it in time!
And time I didn’t have time. Bubu was gasping for air and biting on my fingers in desperation.
And the precious oxygen supply to his brain was probably getting cut off!
Oh my goodness! I panicked. I imagined the worse.
A voice in my head said – “that’s it. This is going to be over – horribly and tragically.”
And another voice said – “You can’t let him die. You have to save him! He’s innocent.”
Then by some divine intervention or plain luck I managed to pull the string off.
His green ribbon collar also came off with it. (Probably the string was entwined with that?)
This is the closest that I have ever been to witnessing a violent and unnatural death. And it shook me to my core. I went to the bathroom after this and almost threw up. And then I cried.
Bubu went under the bed, and stayed there for the next several minutes.
I have lost pets before, pets I loved very much, mainly from disease or medical negligence, but today’s experience was something else altogether.
It made me realize that life can be over in a minute.
It made me realize how much I love my baby and how much it would have sucked to lose him, especially in this manner.
I hugged him when he finally came out from under the bed.
He appeared to be calm by now. No signs of any PTSD.
As for me, I am still under shock. And a little bit sentimental too, as you can probably read into.
But Bubu is stronger, smarter and lives in the moment. What’s the point of dwelling, right? Just shake it off and move on!
He’s eating and sleeping normally too. And was back to being his playful self by evening ‘hunting’ my legs, my hair and playing Hide-n-Seek, ‘talking’ to me, complaining that I don’t share my food with him and putting his nose in my plate. And except for the strangulation mark around his neck and a bruise on his throat where a tuft of hair had been pulled out he seems to be okay.
He will be okay.
A dog may be a good learner but a cat is a better teacher. And mine made me re-learn some important lessons today.
The most obvious one is to not leave pets alone with strings and other potentially threatening ‘toys’. But more importantly don’t ignore life and put if off until tomorrow. Just leave the past behind and move on and take each day as it comes. Be calm, happy and positive. Be grateful every day. Cats might get nine lives but we humans don’t.
Thank you Bubu for staying so strong through your ordeal and not giving up. I love you.