It’s 11:30 pm on Wednesday. The past hour has been a bad one.
I didn’t get off work until 9:30 tonight. After running through fast food and eating in the car, which made me feel gross, on top of feeling guilty for driving instead of being on the train, I headed to my brother’s apartment to take care of his cats. He has two cute little rescue kittens, no more than 3 months old. One is bright orange stripes, named Kinko, and the other is pure white with blue eyes, named Richard. They are from the same litter but the rescue people weren’t able to get Richard until about 2 weeks after they got Kinko.
Kinko is the cuttest little snuggly cat you could want. He talks to you and sits on your lap and plays with his feather on a stick toy. Richard is scared–all the time. He won’t sit on your lap, lives under the couch, and is just generally still kinda feral. My brother was keeping Kinko, but we’d put Richard up for adoption, hoping a nice quiet household would take him and be able to coax him into being a lap cat.
In case you are wondering I can’t have a cat because my roomie is severely allergic.
With my brother out of town the only person they see is me, twice a day when I stop in for half an hour to feed them. I go over to feed the kitties and discover that my brother’s apartment smells like a cat box. Lovely. They had fresh litter and everything, but hadn’t been using it. They’re acting out because they’re lonely and bored. So, the cat’s have decided to use under-the-bed as the cat box.
At 10 pm I start cleaning. I strip everything off his bed and floor (hardwood, luckily) and then clean the floor. I take the bagged up bedding and put it on the balcony.
Muttering to myself, I haul out bags of trash, clean all the litter boxes and lecture the orange, fuzzy Kinko, who looks at me with a “what? I didn’t do it. Can I have some shrimp?” expression. Realizing that it is the other kitten, who likes to sleep under things, who probably started the whole under the bed problem, I decide to track Richard down and put him in the bathroom for the night.
But first I had to get him. Richard does not like to be found. I knew he had to be under the couch, so I start moving the sections of this massive red lazy-boy sectional my brother has. I lift up a section and the kitten darts out. I chase him from under the couch to the bathroom, to under the bed. At each place I try to grab him but never get him cornered enough to actually grab him.
I’m getting irritated, the kitten’s terrified, and the chase continues, from the bedroom to the kitchen. In the kitchen this little kitty wiggles behind the frig. I grab a towel and start wiggling the frig away from the wall, the plan to drop the towel over the cat as I pull it out, then grab it in the towel so it won’t scratch me. I get the frig out, lean over the oven to see the cat, and throw the towel over it.
This terrifies the poor little thing. Claws scrambling on the hardwood it darts out and flees the kitchen, with me in hot pursuit. It runs across the kitchen to the balcony door. The open balcony door.
I’m half way across the livingroom when I see this little white kitty scoot under the bars, pause, and jump. Off a second floor balcony, to a concrete patio below.
I’m at the balcony railing a heartbeat later. There’s a flash of white, maybe, but I don’t stay to look. Already sobbing I sprint out, having to race all the way to the other side of the building to find the stairs, then from there go through two locked doors to get to the back patio.
Richard is gone. I didn’t find his little broken body, so I can only hope that streak of white was him. I search, long and hard as sobs rattled my chest, for that little white cat, but that patio is not an enclosed area, and there were plenty of places for him to hide.
I can only hope that he wasn’t hurt in the fall, but I know that little kitty’s fate is sealed. If it isn’t hit by a car it will be eaten by something or picked up by the SPCA and euthanised. I let myself get irritated, and distracted, and it made me careless. I know they’d been out on the balcony before, but always with my brother there. I’d terrified that little cat into taking a jump it had to know was too high.
I spent a long time just holding the little orange kitty when I finally gave up and went upstairs.