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Poor Wink

October 4, 2011
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Poor Wink. I feel somewhat villainous this morning. Sometimes even the best executed plans leave you feeling like you should have taken a different course of action.

Everyone besides the casual reader of this column will recognize Wink as the one eyed huntress who rules over Gilly Hollow. She is smallish, mostly white, a cat, and this morning -- ailing.

It was past time for Wink to get her shots. Since she is a fiercely independent sort, and allowed to roam the property at will, as well as come back inside, protecting her from harm is the right thing to do.

The adventure began yesterday when I coaxed the diminutive feline into an improvised carrying case. Through a sequence of events, I acquired this chicken cage one could imagine being used on a bus in Central America carrying several chickens to market. It has been hanging on a nail in the barn for a while no. I thought it the perfect way to transport Wink to the veterinarian.

The night before, I took the cage down off the nail and brought it to the house. I hosed it off to remove any dust, dirt and chicken residue. It sat on the porch all night. I brought it into the house yesterday morning, and immediately both cats were interested in it. I opened the door and left it open. Soon the inquisitive Wink had inadvertently caged herself.

Cats are prone to investigate and play inside enclosures. Boxes and sacks seem to be their favorite playthings I suppose that is where the old salt “curiosity killed the cat” came from. In any event, this particular curiosity was convenient; Wink was caged and ready for the trip into town.

I placed the cage into the back of the car and covered it with a towel. My logic was that if she couldn’t see what was going on she might be more at ease.

Before Wink came to us, she suffered some unthinkable trauma. Something, maybe a dog, coyote, or raccoon got a hold of her face and removed part of it, including her left eye, part of her lip, and part of the left side of her nose. To top it off, even though she managed to live through that trauma, she was left out in the country to fend for herself on one of the coldest nights on record here in Iowa. She suffered frostbite to her ears, and probably her vocal cords. I think because of that, Wink is not vocal, and has a faint meow; most of the time.

Poor Wink meowed as loud as I’ve ever heard her, the entire trip into town. She apparently didn’t like being stuffed into a chicken crate and forced to ride in the back of the car.

Once at the veterinarian’s office and inside, Wink at least quit crying. Gentle handling by Dr. Downs while administering the three shots Wink needed to bring her vaccinations up to date seemed to calm her some. We coaxed Wink back into the cage and made the trip back home. She cried the entire trip back, just as she had before.

Wink is the consummate huntress. You might catch a glimpse of her stalking bugs, moles and other prey during the day, and typically is on some adventure or another. Not so yesterday. Wink spent the day right outside the front door curled up on the welcome mat, basking in the sun. It was apparent something wasn’t quite right with her.

In the evening, she decided she would come back inside the house, but was limping. She didn’t seem to want to put any weight on her left front leg. That is where one of the vaccines was administered. My thought was she was just suffering a mild reaction to the vaccine, and would snap out of it by morning.

Wink spent part of the night nestled between Elaine and me during the night, until about 3:30 when I got restless and inadvertently woke her too. At first tried to get readjusted at my feet, but I must have knocked her off the bed; I don’t like anything restraining my feet while trying to sleep.

I go up for a few minutes and found Wink in the living room. She was having a hard time walking. I tried to comfort her and went back to bed.

When I got back up a couple hours later, I couldn’t find Wink. It took some searching before she was found hiding under one of the couches. With some difficulty, we coaxed her out of her hiding place to see how she was doing. I don’t think she ate or drank anything all night.

At 8:00, I called the veterinarian office and asked them what to do. I talked with Dr. Downs. She thought I should bring Wink in for a dose of an anti-inflammatory. Her thought was Wink had a sore leg from one of the injections. After some talking and voicing my hesitation about making Wink suffer through yet another traumatic trip in the chicken cage, Dr. Downs offered to prepare an oral dose of the drug to help Wink out.

Since I am home writing this column, it seemed logical to call Elaine and have her pick up the medicine and bring it home for Wink. She did. As gently as I could, I opened her mouth and squirted the medicine down her throat. All we could do is wait.

I am writing this column with a laptop computer while sitting on a couch. There is another couch in this room directly facing this one. It is Elaine’s usual perch. Wink sat there for the longest time, not lying down, just sitting and watching me.

Sometimes it takes me a while to write my column, as I stop and do other things between thoughts. This morning was no exception. I am setting up a new laptop computer and working on another for a customer. Wink stayed in the same position for more than an hour.

Finally, after Garth, the three legged cat aggravated her a little bit, she hissed at him, seemingly to say, “Leave me alone!” She gingerly stepped off the couch. She was still favoring that front leg. She wanted out, so I let her.

I just checked on the poor thing, and she is curled up outside the front door in the flower garden, basking in the sun again. Before she went out, it seemed she had perked up a bit, and I think she is going to be OK. I’ll give you a little report next week on her status.

Until next time--

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2009-2011 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.

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