My orange fellow, recognized as a cat by species, orange or ginger by color, and The Gingerbear King by reputation, scared the hell out of me this morning.
Yes, it was fear for myself: what if something has happened to him and he dies? Very selfish thoughts. That was Side B for all you boys and girls out there in hip vinyl land who remember when musical media presented a Side A and a Side B.
Side A was, did something happen to TGK? It seemed like something had happened to him. How serious was the something?
It was a dark and stormy night. The wind battered the house and rattled windows, threatening to launch us all into Oz. Rain played snare drum on the glass and tambourine on the siding. The pet door was on but TGK wanted out. He's a persistent beast. Four in the morning, and he had a secret appointment that required his appearance. So the door was removed for him to take to his adventure.
When he returned, he leaped awkwardly on me in bed, awakening me, and meowed three times. His landing had exposed my skin to his claws on three fingers. Being rudely awakened and inflicted with pain from what were apparently scratches on my delicate digits, I demanded to know what was wrong with him. But I was being angry, not serious.
Yet as he settled against me, I realized there seemed to be something wrong with him. Turning on a light, I examined in for blood and wounds. Nothing was there yet I felt something was wrong. I petted and stroked him. He purred and purred. I covered him with some blanket to keep him warm and worried, will he wake up? Was something wrong with him?
It was five thirty then, so I turned off the light and got up. My wife was anchored in heavy slumber on the bed beside TGK through all of this. Me Too, aka Lady - The Gray Shadow - thought that my activity meant it was time to eat. I went off and fed her and settled in to think in the other room, then turned to work to divert myself, uncomfortable with my thoughts.
An hour passed. TGB came out to eat, a good sign, but he was badly limping and favoring his rear left leg, a bad sign. Watching him, though, I decided he seemed to have a bad sprain or maybe a fracture. He could put weight on his leg and bend it but didn't like doing either much.
Of course, cats are tough, and few are tougher than The Gingerbear King. An injury was a weakness. He didn't like appearing to be weak. It may be worse than he was portraying.
I observed him more. He ate, drank water, limped out, jumped up onto the sofa, curled up and went to sleep. My wife rose then, oblivious to all of this. I kept her oblivious, deciding to let TGK sleep. She dressed and went off to exercise class, and he slept soundly, curled in his familiar posture. My panic ebbed.
Eventually my wife returned and TGK rose. He was still limping. I showed it to her and she and I, amateur vets, examined him and talked with him. We asked him what he did to himself. His only answer was a purr.
After all that, we decided, yes, he suffered an injury. It doesn't seem bad. I voted for taking him to the vet but I was overruled. I accepted being overruled.
When it comes to TGK, I always worry about the worse.
We'll just keep an eye on him and ensure he stays inside. He fought to go outside, testing every door and yelling for our immediate action to open it. After thirty minutes of that, he retired back to the sofa to sleep.
I understood why he wanted out into the rain and wind even though he is hurt. He is The Gingerbear King.
He has a reputation to uphold.
It's not easy being a Gingerbear King.
The Gingerbear King seems like he was never hurt, playing with another cat this morning and racing down the hall, leaping up onto and off the furniture. It's an amazing recovery.
Maybe he was employing tactics to gain sympathy from me to give him extra treats and attention. Good to have him whole and ruling his kingdom again.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com