"The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat, and there isn't any need for me to spout it, for he will do as he do do, and there's no doing anything about it." -- T.S. Eliot
I did a very kind or very rash thing today, and I'm trying to decide which.
A bit of backstory: a local cat named Gizmo started hanging around our place about the end of July. I spoke to Gizmo's owner who told me that she had been an indoor cat but suddenly had a change in attitude toward the other cats in the home and ran away. She is not spayed, which seemed to me a plausible reason to not want to return home. Another reason for not staying inside is the large dog that the family now owns. They left food out for Gizmo in their yard, and I put a little shelter out on our back stoop to provide her with a safe place to hide since she was being picked on by other neighbourhood cats. The months went by and Gizmo continued to show up in our yard on a regular basis, and became quite friendly with us.
Then my family and I went on holiday for two weeks. When we returned I didn't see Gizmo for a few days, but it was obvious that she had been using the shelter so I left some food out. Later that day I noticed that the food was gone, but I also made the unpleasant discovery of a pool of either vomit or diarrhea on the patio, so evidently the food didn't settle well with her for some reason.
However this morning Gizmo appeared on the back stoop and I immediately noticed that something was wrong. She wasn't behaving as she normally did; instead she was sluggish and apparently in pain. I picked her up and went to knock on her owner's door, and said that I felt that she needed to see a vet. The owner seemed preoccupied, and said only that Gizmo was supposed to have her shots and get spayed but she couldn't be kept in the house long enough to make an appointment. I handed Gizmo over and turned to go home, but within a few minutes the cat was following me back.
Once at home I decided that I had to take charge. I wasn't about to let this poor kitty get any worse. I grabbed an old towel, wrapped her up and took her to the closest vet. Eventually the vet examined Gizmo and said that Gizmo was dehydrated and malnourished (and NOT pregnant, thank goodness) and he needed to keep her overnight to stabilize her and do some other tests. I explained that the cat wasn't mine and I would have to consult the owner as to what to do, but in order for the vet to proceed with the tests he needed a deposit. I paid without a second thought.
On the way home I knocked on the owner's door again and explained the situation. The owner said bluntly that she couldn't deal with it. Being a single mother working from home with two kids, three cats and a dog, and an unemployed boyfriend, she just couldn't handle any more. She knew that I had been looking out for Gizmo and had thought that Gizmo needed space and would be more comfortable at my place rather than at hers. I had to concede the point, and even though I'm on a tight budget myself I am not one to abandon an animal in need that has clearly chosen to "adopt" me.
As of right now Gizmo is still at the vet's, and will probably be staying there at least another day. My husband has mixed feelings about the situation but we'll discuss what to do once we get word of Gizmo's progress. It's wierd, worrying about a cat that wasn't ours to begin with.