We have this cat named Orca — for obvious reasons — and he has had a tough life for only being three years old. Of course, out here in the country the lifespan of a cat is much shorter than that of their city cousins. But we try to give them as much help as we can.
When Orca was just a kitten, he got into the engine of my husband’s truck to take a nap and got caught up in the fan belt when my husband started the truck. Orca survived that, to the amazement of the farmer next door who came to help us get the cat out and to the vet who repaired the broken leg.
Last week, Orca disappeared late Monday afternoon. Well, actually we didn’t know he had disappeared for sure until late Tuesday when he still had not come back to eat. He likes to go outside – preferring that to a litter box – and then there are all the moles and gophers and mice to hunt. But he doesn’t often miss the feeding times with the other cats, so we started to worry that he met up with a coyote or a truck speeding down the road.
For three days we tried to keep the worry at bay and hold out a small hope that he might come back, but, by Friday, had to admit that probably wasn’t going to happen.
Then late Sunday, we heard a mewing on the front porch, went to the door, and there was Orca. He sauntered in – as best he could saunter with a broken leg – went right to his food dish and asked for supper. He ate, then went to take a nap on our bed, as if nothing had happened.
We were in a state of shock for an hour or so, taking turns looking at him on the bed to make sure we weren’t dreaming.
We weren’t dreaming. Somehow he managed to suvive six days out there and didn’t even look too malnourished. We couldn’t see any other injuries, either, and he didn’t seem to be in much pain so we didn’t do an emergency vet visit, opting to take him in this morning.
Orca has a nasty, splintered break below the knee and a dislocated knee, so it is going to cost a lot to repair all that. We briefly considered not repairing it, but then we figured if this cat could survive a truck engine, another car accdent, and then being out in the wild for 6 days and avoiding coyotes and other predatory animals, he deserves the other seven lives he’s got left.
That may not be practical, but sometimes it feels good not to be practical.