The last time I pet-sat for the Steizeseses, Desmond (the cat) had just begun a radiation treatment for his hyperthyroidism. Apparently it works on like 95% of cats, just fixes their thyroids and the only side effect is that they’re radioactive for awhile, so you can’t spend too much time with them and also you have to put their poop in a biohazard container.
Which I did, because he was radioactive. He also didn’t eat much that week, but I figured he probably didn’t eat much, anyway, because he’s older and already pretty thin. He seemed happy enough to see us and hang out every day, so I wasn’t too concerned until Courtney got home and e-mailed me to ask if Desmond had eaten at all. Because he was a lot thinner than normal, and didn’t seem very healthy.
It turned out that Desmond was in the 5% of cats not helped by radiation, so now he’s back on his pills and, while still thin, doing a lot better. So when the Steitzeseses asked if we could pet-sit again this weekend, we said sure. No radioactive poop, healthy-ish cat, yes, absolutely.
And then Desmond got out. Which is kiiiiind of to be expected with him. He lived in a parking lot for the first 10+ years of his life, so while he’s sweet to people and will live inside, at his heart he is wild and, once escaped, must be a dick to other cats. So sometimes he gets out and chases the neighborhood cats, but he’s always back within a couple of hours, banging at the screen door to be let in. When he got out on Saturday, I assumed he’d be back. I sat down. I waited. I read some of a book that I now want to borrow. I saw him dash through a couple of yards and knew his general location whenever the crows in that area started freaking out (which freaked me out a little, because you guys, I’ve seen the crows in my neighborhood chasing a bald fucking eagle). Three hours passed and he still wasn’t home, so I reluctantly left and notified Graham that when he stopped by after work, he’d have to keep an eye out for Desmond.
And he did. We did. For the next two days, we kept an eye out for Desmond, who didn’t come back. I heard him once on Sunday morning a few yards away, although I didn’t see him so I assumed someone had taken him into their house. I banged on a few doors but didn’t get an answer, and the elderly guy across the street said he’d keep an eye out as well but seemed mainly tickled with the fact that his cat was gray, too, and hey, what if we had the same cat?
And so by Monday, I was despondent with the thought that Desmond would probably never come back, which meant that I had lost my friends’ cat. The cat I had been trusted to watch. At which task I failed, miserably. I don’t want to make this all about me, but I cried. I felt sick. I even got what Josh calls “the vurps,” which is when you burp and some vomit comes out. This happened while I walked the dog, by the way, so probably someone in the neighborhood thinks I’m a bum. I sent a very apologetic text and e-mail to Luke and Courtney, and when I happened upon a neighbor doing yardwork on Monday night, I had no real expectation that he’d be able to help.
OH BUT HE WAS.
Apparently, someone had sent an e-mail to the block association, describing a cat that had been in their yard “causing conflict” with their cats, so they took it to a vet, who then transferred it to Animal Control. The same Animal Control I’d been calling the day before, but for some reason, Seattle’s City Animal Shelter is closed from Sunday to Wednesday and I couldn’t get through to anyone.
Anyway, the older guy (with the other gray cat) I’d talked to responded to the e-mail, saying he’d talked to “the petsitter lady who was very upset,” and asked the cat-snatcher-giver-uppers to put a note on the door or something. Then another neighbor wrote back, asking the cat-snatcher-giver-uppers if maybe they weren’t being rash by just carting Desmond away so quickly. So the moral of this part of the story is that the Steitzeseses have one bitch-ass set of neighbors and several really cool ones.
Once I saw this e-mail thread, I called the vet’s office that had received the cat, who took my information and called Animal Control on my behalf. Then I called Animal Control’s priority line and spoke to a wonderful woman who said she’s just left me a voicemail, and although they were closed the next day, she would give my information to the shelter manager and they’d let me come in and retrieve Desmond. Then I called my boss and told her I’d be late, which she wasn’t happy to hear, also the whole retrieval thing today took so long that I basically took the entire day off. Which probably irritates my bosses, but it’s not like I’m ever absent any other time, which is more than I can say for most of my co-workers.
BUT. Desmond is home, my friends still have a cat, and now he’s been microchipped and licensed and vaccinated, and also did you know that cats have impound fees? And they actually call them impound fees? They do, and I paid one, but he’s home and I don’t have to worry about the Steitzeseses not wanting to be my friends anymore.
So basically: Desmond was being such a hardass to other cats on their own property that some people sent him to cat jail, where a lady took off work to bail him out and bring him home, whereupon she immediately fed him some food and he then antagonized the dog. Who gave zero fucks that he’d been gone.
At least I still have friends.