Monday, June 25, 2012

Meet Copernicus

As I'm posting this, I hear the anguished cries of a stray cat. Sean and I have been joking frequently lately that I have the "mommy gene," and the discomfort I feel at the sound of those cries, the ache in my heart, reminds me of those jokes. The sound alerts Copernicus as well, as he leaps up and dashes toward the window.

Who is Copernicus, you ask?

Well, let me explain.

Thursday was my roommate as well as one of my best friends' birthday. The night began simply enough; dinner and drinks at a cute bar and restaurant, then off for more drinks at another bar a few blocks away. In the midst of a pretty cutthroat Candyland game (yes, this bar has Candyland), we noticed a girl with a tiny kitten in her arms. The establishment was always very welcoming of dogs, so we thought little of it and continued to play the game.

Shortly after that, however, the girl approached us and began to plead the kitten's case. He had been found in a friend's garage (gesturing toward a group of boys at this point), and could anybody take him in. She began to explain why she couldn't care for him, though I'm fuzzy on the details because at this point I was no longer listening. Instead, I was scooping him up into my arms and saying, "Yes, yes, I'll take him!" Unsure if I could keep him at this point, I needed to make sure he didn't end up in the hands of some drunken idiot. 

As the three of us girls cooed and snuggled this tiny malnourished ball of fur, Sean and the birthday girl's boyfriend stepped outside where supposedly, Sean grumbled "Well, I guess I'm getting a cat now." Though he only had to spend about 20 minutes with young Copernicus before falling in love with him.

Though, it'd be hard not to with this little guy:

We arrived at home with Copernicus, his namesake received at the bar, at around 1am. We bring him inside briefly when I discover that he has fleas. And so marks the beginning of my Very Long Friday:

1am- 4am: Spent spraying Copernicus down with an antiflea solution purchased at Walgreens, then picking them out of his fur as they died. With. My. Bare. Hands. I hate bugs, so this was awful for both of us. In an attempt to escape the chemicals, the bugs migrated to where I couldn't directly spray: his face. Pulling them out of the fur on his cheeks, chin and above his eyes was absolutely horrid. I killed at least 30 that night, combing through his fur OCD style and looking for more until there was no more to find.

5-7am: Changing on the back porch into clothes without the possibility of fleas on them under a halloween cloak, I went indoors to formulate a game plan for getting him vet care. Made a mental list of vets as well as what time they opened. Returned outdoors to give him company. Continued the search for fleas.

7-9am- Drove around, looking for a vet that would give us a discount or a payment plan given that we were trying to rescue an abandoned stray, with no luck. The entire time I'm so jacked up on energy drink, I feel like I'm experiencing all of the negative effects of taking amphetamines. My whole body felt strained, my jaw tensing up until it ached, my focus drifting away. Continue to search for fleas.

10am: I call my aunt, who told me she'd loan us the amount for the vet visit. Relief crashes like a wave throughout my body, downward into my fingertips and toes. Sean hears me thank her, and we share a look that my less than graceful use of the English language can describe. We make a vet appointment for 1pm. Continue to search for fleas.

Worn out little ball of fur
9:15-12:30: Unable to take him indoors and unwilling to leave him alone, Copernicus wait away the hours until his vet appointment on the back porch. We bring out his makeshift litter box as well as food and water bowls. A friend comes by with food and conversation. Along with not having slept, I also hadn't eaten since 3pm the day before as I didn't eat at the restaurant the previous night. Copernicus sleeps. And sleeps. And sleeps. Most of the time he's unconscious, but his waking moments slowly become more lively as he gets rest, food, and hydration. We leave to pick up my aunt and head to the vet's office. As before, continue to search for fleas.

One o'clock. We arrive for his appointment. We fill out the paperwork together, Sean and I. Another scary/exhilarating/exciting moments that make the whole "till death do you part" thing more real. Like when we got a joint savings account a few weeks ago.

Everybody in the vet's office is wonderful. Friendly, helpful, compassionate, sympathetic to what we've been going through. His checkup begins. He is about 12 weeks old, he weighs just over 2lbs. He's supposed to be around 3-4 lbs. Being underweight even 1lb is a big deal when it's 1/3 your body weight. They vet assistant brushes me off when I say I was thorough on checking for fleas, and I think I killed them all. He combs through Copernicus with a flea comb, only one dead one is found. He's given an instakill flea pill just in case.

They distract him with a can of cat food to take a fecal sample, which he devours into ravenously. A tiny growl during during the extraction, but he never even stops chewing. They draw his blood, and I have the realisation that I'm going to be that mom, when/if I have kids. When he cried out I felt a cold, helpless sort of panic. "But he's hurting my baby" is the exact phrase the went through my mind.

Sean and I had discussed the possibility of this not going well back home. "We have to be prepared for the possibility that he might come up positive for feline leukemia," I told him. Even so, it was an emotional moment when the vet announced that all of the tests were negative. FeLV, Heartworm, FIV: all negative. To hear that all he had was a few roundworms at the end of an emotional day with no sleep and little food released all of the stress at once. We both got a little misty. Sean asked if we could be his forever home. I asked the same question back. They gave him his first round of vaccinations, and we finally were able to go home, with the newest addition to our family. 

And he was finally able to go inside.

This is him today, already looks so much better!


  1. Oh heck - you were right. Copernicus does look like the kitten from that cartoon. Suddenly, I'm starting to like cats. A little.


  2. Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.