In the time that’s passed since I first found Jack the cat, I actually ended up adopting him for real! That’s actually a long story, but I’ll have to skip it for now: I’m in the middle of writing it, but it’s really hard to tell without rambling super hard. So just know that he’s my kitty now. <3
This story is much shorter!
This takes place about a week after Jack’s first vet appointment. At that point, he was diagnosed with round worms, tape worms, giardia, fleas, and ear mites; he had also gotten his first round of vaccinations. Also, and most importantly, I had to carry Jack to that appointment in a cardboard box duct taped shut, which he kept escaping from at the vet’s office, or meowing piteously from within. It was pretty embarrassing, but since it was kind of an emergency situation, and I didn’t have any other way to transport him, it had to do.
Still, the vet was pretty keen on me getting a real carrier for the next appointment. “There’s some really nice ones on Amazon,” she said. I said I’d check it out, but tacitly knew I couldn’t get a new one. That first vet appointment put me out of a lot of cash, and I was actually planning on asking around for a free carrier.
Out of the goodness of her heart, my bandmate offered me hers: It was the carrier she had used to bring her cat back to New Jersey from New Orleans a few years ago. But now that that cat lived with her parents, she no longer needed the carrier. “When can you pick it up?” she said.
Timing was such that the only option was to get to her place late on Monday (a two-hour commute), stay the night, then come back to mine in the morning. The vet appointment would be that evening.
Incidentally, that night would also be the first time I left my kitten at home alone overnight. It made me very anxious because not only would he be without me overnight, but he’d then have to get schlepped in a strange new cage to the vet again. All these stressful events, one after the other!
It had to happen, though. So I went to my friend’s place the next day, we rehearsed a little bit, and I spent til 5am catching up on late SEO work. Even after I finished, though, I didn’t manage to sleep at all: I kept imagining my house burning down, with poor Jack unable to escape. And many other paranoid scenes. I felt so bad about leaving my cat alone.
I relayed all this to my friend when she woke up. But we rehearsed for an hour or so anyway, though we both knew I was worried about the cat the whole time. Eventually she said “Go! Go to your cat already!” So I thanked her for the carrier and left. It was around noon.
Waiting at the bus stop was fun, because I noticed that the other people kept trying to look inside the carrier. Most of them tried to do it “secretly,” which was even better. I almost felt bad at how disappointed they must have been to find that it was empty.
Maybe I should have mentioned that not only was I carrying an empty carrier, but a ukulele, a backpack, and a handbag embroidered with little kitties. Lots of stuff banging around on my person, basically. With sleeplessness on top of all that, I felt a bit like a wreck.
The bus got to Port Authority, and while I was walking to the 1 train, I got really paranoid that, with all the crap clattering about myself, maybe some people thought I indeed had an animal in the carrier that was forced to put up with my negligence. This thought both upset and entertained me: I actually alternated between walking super carefully, pretending I had a kitten in there who I didn’t want to scare–and then changing my mind, swinging the carrier around and acting like a dick.
Eventually, I got to the 1 train and sat next to an old lady. I was exhausted and even shut my eyes, but she started talking to me anyway.
“I think you’re missing a cat!” she said.
“Haha…. He’s at home,” I said.
“Your cat is at home?”
“Yeah, I’m bringing the carrier for him… He has a vet appointment today….”
I was slurring my words and not sure if I made any sense. I didn’t feel very social, but the lady seemed really interested and kept asking questions. At one point, when the trains got super loud, I thought maybe she’d stop talking. I took for granted that tacit agreement New Yorkers seem to have, where they don’t talk until the loud noise passes–but she kept asking me things even then, and I just nodded and tried to act polite. I felt bad about being so exhausted.
“What’s that on your purse?” she said. “Oh, you got cats on your purse! You really love cats, don’t you! That’s a cool purse. I like it a lot.”
I said thanks. She said “You must love your cat, don’t you? What’s his name?”
“Awwwww. I bet you take good care of Jack.”
After a few minutes of this, she stopped talking, and I leaned my head on the guard rail and shut my eyes. Probably a bad idea, but I was fading… I was also really cold. Cold and tired and missing my baby kitty and feeling bad about being rude to the nice weird lady.
Her stop ended up being the one right before mine. As she got up to leave, I opened my eyes and said “Goodbye.”
She looked at me and said, “You give your cat a Big Hug!”
Then she got off the train and I thought awww I wanna hug my cat now!!
Two more vehicle transfers later, I ran home and said “Jack!!! I’m home!!!”
He said “MEW!!! MEW!!!” and was not at all on fire or electrocuted or in trouble in any discernible way. He hadn’t even knocked any of my stuff on the floor. He did seem to have missed me, though.
So I gave him a Big Hug, cleaned out the carrier (it was still full of hair from the other cat), and fell into bed. Jack joined me and we slept for a few hours. There was even some time for him to play in the carrier later, which he ended up being very comfortable with.
Jack had a much more pleasant journey to the vet than I had thought. Must have been a lot nicer in there than a cardboard box with duct tape. 🙂