Friday morning started like, well your average Friday morning. Except no, slightly better because I’d slept with an eye mask on and omg best sleep ever.
I awoke just as Chris left for work, rather than when he’s blow drying his hair on the loudest, harshest setting like I usually do. It was about 7.45am, and I trundled downstairs to make a cup of tea as Rudey was tucking into some biscuits after devouring her wet food (she only eats Gourmet just FYI, she thinks like we’re rich or summin). She skipped on outside, and I forced myself up to my desk to try to muster up some motivation for writing and Twitter and Instagram and life.
I was having one of those days where I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t settle, wasn’t happy with any of the creative ideas whirling around my head, so I decided to shower and head on out to do some errands (like a retired middle-aged woman), and hope that when I returned y’know, I could write a viral list or summin exciting for y’all.
After snapping up some birthday presents and spending a short hour nursing a cup of coffee in our local food hall whilst scribbling away in a notebook, I headed on back.
I spent the afternoon texting Corrie a stream of Pretty Little Liars theories, editing and scheduling posts for the weekend and putting together Monday’s post (which, just FYI, has been postponed til tomorrow).
It was only around the 4.30pm mark that I realised I hadn’t seen Rudey (or heard her crying for lunch because she’s a massive diva and she just don’t give a flip who knows it), but it was such a warm, sunny, happy day that I assumed she’d just wandered a bit far, or accidentally got over excited chasing a butterfly into an area she didn’t know.
We tried to call for her before we went out for dinner – we’d planned to drive up to Norwich for sushi – but she wasn’t anywhere to be seen, so we left her window open and hoped she’d be having a good groom across the dining room table by the time we returned.
It’s not the first time she’s pulled a runner and had us up at all hours combing the streets for her, only for us to fall asleep from exhaustion and wake up with her fast asleep by our feet. She’s a rascal, a real naughty little girl.
We got home near 11pm and went for a walk with an array of treats in our hands, hoping she’d return to the rustle of her favourite sticks (like, honestly, she treats them the way I treat a brie and bacon sandwich).
We found about 5 other cats who proceeded to follow us about the neighbourhood, but not our baby, not our Rudey.
I went to bed about midnight and Chris followed soon after. I was so sure she’d be OK, she’d be home, she’d be there when I woke up.
But it was Chris who woke me up at 2am when he turned on the bedroom light. He thought he’d heard her scamper across our wooden floors, but he hadn’t. Because he was still lying awake, he decided to have a last check outside, and a search of the house, and that’s when he saw her, lying in the grass in the back garden.
She didn’t come to the call of her treats, and she didn’t want to stand up, so he carried her into the kitchen where it was obvious she was very much not ok – she was growling in a way I didn’t recognise, she had dried blood across her bum/lady area and couldn’t walk – so we rung the emergency vets and headed over to Woodbridge to get her looked at.
We were told that she’d most likely broken her leg as a result of a car accident and that they’d keep her in and give her fluids and pain relief before giving her an X-ray in the morning to check the break, as well as her pelvis and have a look for any internal bleeding or other injuries.
My whole weekend has been swamped in limbo, drenched in the unknowing and I’ve been barely able to function. We spent that Saturday morning waiting for that call frantically cleaning the house – scrubbing the shower, doing the hoovering, dusting – anything to keep our brains distracted.
The vet rung at about 11.15am and told us that Rudey’s thigh bone was shattered – completely destroyed as the result of a high-speed collision (probably at least 30mph, but he couldn’t be sure). She had a little bruising around her lungs, but otherwise looked OK. He gave us 5 minutes, whilst she was still under anaesthetic, to decide whether to have her leg amputated and take away the pain immediately, or to have her referred to a specialist unit who might be able to fix her leg with pins and rods for at least £2k.
(Just a BTW – make sure you get pet insurance. So far Rudey’s treatment has cost us £1,000…)
We went for the amputation because it seemed kinder, and also because the vet assured us it’s what he would do if Rudey was his own.
He rung an hour or so later to confirm the operation was a success, although her stomach wall had ruptured during surgery and he had had to use leg muscle to repair it, which would make her recovery a little more high risk.
Between us, we’ve never spent so much time just sitting on the sofa watching TV just waiting. Waiting to know she’d be OK, waiting for the phone call to tell us she hadn’t made it. Waiting in fear of the unknown. We couldn’t eat, we couldn’t think of anything else, we couldn’t be us.
I felt so over dramatic, like I shouldn’t feel this distraught and hideous over a baby cat, over my baby cat. But she is my everything, my little love, and the idea of moving forward without her makes me cry just typing this. The idea of what could have have happened had she not somehow dragged herself back to the garden in the early hours.
Despite a fear that she might have nerve damage around her bladder because she was refusing to wee (which, upon hearing this conversation from the vet on the phone to us, went and did a massive wee to prove she was well enough to come home), she’s recovered from her op pretty damn well.
And last night we got to bring our baby home.
She’s living in a puppy cage and has a cone around her head because she keeps trying to groom her wound, but she’s OK. She’s alive and she’s hungry and making us brush her and feed her treats just like before.
I feel a bit like my heart has been shattered along with her bone. I feel a bit broken. I have hours where I am OK and getting on with it, and hours where I look at her in her cage, struggling to feed herself and desperate to groom, and I’m not sure I can handle it, I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to support her.
I am not scared of her three-legged life, I know she will thrive and I know she will be happy, but I am scared of her suffering. I am scared of this recovery process, of her learning to realise her leg is gone, of trying to walk properly, of trying to move forward.
But more than anything I am scared of what could have been.
I don’t know whether moving my computer to be near her is making my pain worse, because I am here to watch her struggle. Or whether she needs me here, whether the comfort she gets from me is greater than the pain I get from her.
I have plans to be in London tomorrow evening and I don’t know if going will help take my mind off of things and get me out the house, or whether it is selfish of me to leave her, if only for the few hours between me leaving her and Chris getting back from work.
I feel lost in this limbo and in more pain than I thought possible for an animal that isn’t human.
And then I feel silly and like I need to man up and stop being weak because she is not human, she is a cat. I should not be this broken because of the suffering of a cat.
This weekend has put my life in perspective – nothing truly matters aside from the health and happiness of the ones you love most.
I am hoping and praying that between the three of us, we find a little strength and we will be OK. Because at the moment it feels like my heart is broken and it won’t ever be OK again.