So of the sixty-odd cats at the shelter, Ebony and Mr. Pokey have been fighting, to the point where they can’t come out of their cages at the same time. Nobody knows why.
Other shelter things continue apace: Willie, with his enlarged esophagus, still has trouble keeping food down, as does Clark. We lost hypothyroid Agatha a couple weeks ago, after she was down to three pounds. Laverne and cross-eyed Shirley lost their cage to two very tentative unnamed new arrivals. Maine Coon Sean is still the alpha male trying to take Joey’s place, Jezebel’s temper has improved, Rocky is as stolid and affectionate as ever, and Buster needs lots and lots of attention, and digs in his cage if he doesn’t get it.
Agatha was a blow, because we all knew it was coming. She was spoiled, and we made a big deal out of her. But at some point: a three-pound cat. You know what’s going to happen.
That’s the thing about shelter work, I guess. You start to love the ones who you know won’t get adopted. They’re the ones you come back to every week: the sick ones, the spastic, the angry, the timid, the fearful.
So K. and I are cleaning out cages this morning, and Mr. Pokey’s got his eye on Ebony. Mr. Pokey’s one of those water cats, always wanting to play with the stream of water in the sink or the tub when we’re cleaning up, and always wanting to wait by the door to the dog room. Only today he’s prowling around, growling up at Ebony in her cage, and she growling back down at him, until they’re totally locked into each others’ attention and we don’t even realize it, and K. is doing the cages on that side and I’m on the other side, and she tries to shoo him, and in so doing comes between him and Ebony, and that’s it: he’s all of a sudden wrapped around K.’s wrist and arm, teeth and claws, and he’s hurting her, and she doesn’t want to hurt him and can’t get him off.
She gets him off once and then he’s on her ankle and I take way too long grabbing the big padded gloves and stuffing him into the nearest empty cage.
It was bad. Like, bad bad. He drew some blood, tooth and claw both, deep, and we got K. out to the quiet part of the dog room, and L. patched her up. She went home early.
Cats are fighting, you don’t get between them. I guess that’s one lesson. There’s another one, but I don’t know how much I feel like thinking about it.