I’ve hinted at moments of hysteria before, but other than using them as a vehicle to make snarky remarks about how I’m uncomfortable dealing with emotion, I haven’t revealed too much about my own vulnerability. Not that I’m going to in this post, but it’s probably the closest we’ll ever get together so enjoy every shallow moment. Also, it’s about a cat.
On Friday, as is usually the case at the end of the week, I wanted nothing more than to settle into some unflattering pajamas and crawl in bed with a tumbler of wine and Degrassi streaming on Amazon. Unfortunately, the evening took a blotchy, swollen turn for the worse.
I was home for at least three hours and It hadn’t occurred to me that I hadn’t yet seen Cee Lo. Adele had come downstairs to greet me and stare at my food expectantly, but Cee Lo remained at large. I only realized this when I saw him for the first time that evening laying on my bed and purring like a sweetheart. I ruffled his glistening black fur and was about to leave again when I saw something sticking out of his mouth. I wasn’t thrown off, as I have often had to pull strings or bobby pins out of his mouth. He’s special. I chuckled, rubbed his head and yanked what I assumed was a piece of thread. But it didn’t budge. What the what? Was he trying to pull out a baby tooth by rigging up a door-slam leverage system? No, that’s pretty sophisticated and I don’t think he has the dexterity for knots.
I turned on the light to take a better look and at first I thought he was using a sewing needle to pick his teeth, but again…that would require too much forethought on the part of a cat. Upon further investigation I realized that he had a fish hook embedded in his lip. And the hook still had several feet of fishing line attached to it. I was horrified. He was just laying there calmly, rolling on his back for a belly rub as if he didn’t have barbed metal shoved an inch into his lower gums. I was so flummoxed that it took me a few minutes to even realize where the hell a fish hook came from. I thought at first he had come across it in the basement amid the jumble of Disney Mermaid clutter left from previous tenants and the landlord. But then I remembered that I’m basically a hoarder and hadn’t unpacked my bedroom at all, including the box containing a child’s Barbie fishing pole I purchased last spring. Which I guess still had a hook on it. And lured my cat to his curious demise. Get it? Lured.
Even though I knew that hooks have barbs on them to prevent them from easily sliding out, I still tried to pull on it. Cee Lo preferred I didn’t try to tug out a giant chunk of his gums and lip and resisted. My instinct was to call my mom and cry to her on the phone until she came up with a solution. You see, going to the emergency vet may seem like the logical choice but not when you have less than zero monies. People tend to want compensation for their emergency services and I am Sallie Mae-broke. This reality only compounded the dire circumstances and I had a full on freakout. I was hyperventilating, sobbing and begging my confused mom to help me from 30 miles away. She offered up a range of solutions including asking a neighbor (stranger) for some pliers, all of which I dramatically shot down through bursts of tears. There was only one thing I wanted to hear and that was, “I’ll be right there to make it all better”. She didn’t say that, because what could she do that I hadn’t already? Luckily, one of my roommates came home and upon finding me pacing the hallway and crying like a lunatic, she offered to help me try to get the hook out of my sweet kitty’s face.
I wrapped him in a towel so he couldn’t destroy us with his razor claws and she did her best to figure out which way the hook was facing without traumatizing Cee Cee for life. It didn’t work. She didn’t want him to hate her for disfiguring his face and the hook just plain wasn’t coming out. She suggested waiting until the next day and offered to call her surgeon father to help, but I couldn’t bear to let my little soul singer (Cee Lo Green…) stay pierced overnight. Even if it was a little cute that we were twinsies. So I sucked it up and asked my roomie to drive me to the emergency vet. They were very accommodating, even offering to give him a shot of pain medication for free after I sobbed my financial status in response to the original quote for anesthesia. After about an hour, we were informed that they had pushed the hook all the way through, cut off the barbs and it pretty much fell right out. The lollipop kid posing as a vet tech told me that Cee Lo handled it all like the chill dude he is and I handed over my life savings in exchange for the cat carrier.
I can’t help but wonder if he understands the irony of getting snagged by something made to catch his natural, stupider prey. I assume that’s why he was trying to act like nothing was wrong. He embarrasses easily. Cee Lo has a fat lip and hasn’t left my side since Friday night when he literally slept on my face, but it was all worth it to hear them say, “Patient Cee Lo has been checked in. Repeat, patient Cee Lo has been checked in” over the intercom.