free hit counter Snacks, please!: Bye Blue.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bye Blue.

Well, Blue is gone.

A raccoon attacked him last night, like really attacked him. It was crazy. David was outside, bringing something in from the car, when he called me from the backyard. He and Kitty Cat had discovered a raccoon eating the cat food on the back porch. (I know, a bad idea...but we had to feed the banished.) You always think they're cute at first because they have those fat rear ends and little hands, and so we watched with a little interest, small delight. The raccoon didn't seem to mind the audience at all, which should have told us right then that he was a crazy raccoon. I like my wild animals to be a little scared of people. But no, he cleaned the bowl and then waddled under the house where David heard Blue hissing at it. And even then, I thought, oh, good old Blue. He's such a crab.

And then David says, "He's trying to eat Blue!"

And I said, "No way."

But he really was. He bit him, over and again. David ran and got the hose and put it on the highest setting and managed to separate them. But then Blue was moaning and the raccoon really wasn't going away, he was just hiding, pacing, just outside the hose spray. And David was trying to get under the house too, which really freaked me out, because it's not a very big space, and it didn't seem like a good idea to go under there with a killer raccoon. Raccoons have rabies! And they can be vicious. But David wanted to get Blue out. He could see the blood on him. And, of course, he didn't want to leave him under there to bleed to death -- or get eaten by that fucking raccoon. I was saying, "Don't go in there!" And he was saying, "I have to get Blue!" Anyway, I think he, David, backed out to get the flashlight or something, and the raccoon went right back after Blue!

David was shouting, "Hey! He's back! Shit!" And then he says, "He's got Blue! He's taking him away!" And I said, "Jesus Christ!" And it was true, the raccoon had actually picked up Blue and was trying to scale the chainlink fence in our backyard. David hit him again with the hose spray and he dropped Blue in the dirt by the fence. And Blue is still moaning and he's bloody and he's wet, because he keeps getting sprayed too, and now he's dirty, and he's hissing and trying to bite David too. And that damn raccoon won't go away! He keeps trying to come back and get Blue! He must have come back like a half-dozen times. I kept running inside to get stuff -- the animal carrier case, the emergency vet address, more towels and blankets, gloves, etc. -- and the truth is, I offered to get all those things because I am a big chicken. I didn't want to be left alone out there with the killer raccoon and a hose to protect myself!

Eventually I had the flashlight and hose in my hands and David says, "Watch the perimeter!" Because the damn raccoon would not go away!! While we're leaning over Blue, the raccoon went back up the stairs to sniff around the porch. And you know what I thought? I thought, "I wish I had a gun." Which is crazy, because one could hardly shoot a raccoon in your backyard in suburban Arlington. And then I thought, I don't even have golf clubs!! (Which wouldn't have been much more useful under the house. No room to swing.)

Anyway, David took Blue to the emergency vet. And this was the choice they gave us: Pay us $1,000 to $1,500 and we will get him into stable condition, so that we can assess his injuries. Any actual treatment of the injuries would be more money -- if they were actually treatable. Or, we'll put him to sleep. Good God. So what do you do? He's 17 years old. He stumbles when he walks. He wheezes when he breathes. People talk about "quality of life," and if I'm any judge, he didn't seem to have much of it. If we were different people -- well, if we lived in different circumstances -- we might have been able to enhance his last years with lots and lots of lap time, lots of petting and brushing, etc. But our laps are full. We have three kids under the age of 3 -- our laps are always full.

Still, he was a sweet cat. You know we've had our differences. I wrote about them. I've been angry about his pooping all over the house and now I feel bad about that. Would it have been such a big deal to take 10 minutes every day to pick up poop and spot clean the rugs? When we had time for each other, Blue had a very endearing way of bumping you with his head, demanding to be petted. Or patting your knee, asking to be picked up. He was always cranky -- sort of French, maybe -- but he was incredibly patient with Lucy, allowing her to grab him around the belly and carry him around the house. Sometimes upside-down. They were actually friends. It was like he needed people and, if he had to settle for a 2-year-old who accidentally bonked him in the head with his brush, well, fine... (We're not sure what to tell Lucy. The truth? A raccoon ate Blue?)

When he was able to jump onto our bed, he used to annoy me by insisting to sleep next to my head. I'd wake up and think, "Somebody is licking my hair! And I know it's not David!" Most of all, he was David's cat. He called him, "My son Blue." The only other man in the house... But Blue and I also lived together alone for a few months, when David first moved up to DC, and Blue used to greet me at the door every night. He used to sit next to me to watch Netflix DVDs and then I'd carry him upstairs to sleep. Even then, and that was more than three years ago, he preferred to be carried up the stairs. He's been an old guy for a long time.

I'm sad.


Anonymous Cynthia said...

Blue was the greatest, most crotchety kitty ever. I used to love coming to sit for him when you guys were out of town down in SoFla. He'd be all grouchy and attitude-y but man he'd cave the second you pulled that little brush out.
Godspeed little Blue.

June 21, 2007 at 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a sad end to ol' blue. The whole thing sounds traumatic. I hope you and David are OK.

June 21, 2007 at 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to minimize your trauma, but did David actually say, "Watch the perimeter!"

June 21, 2007 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Thanks Cynthia.
Anons -- We are okay, just sad. And tired. And maybe a little freaked out about nature. (I thought raccoons ate fish! And, you know, if not near an idyllic stream, then apple cores...)
It is true. My dear husband -- who once hoped to join the armed forces as a flashy fighter pilot with little respect for authority -- did, in fact, issue Iraq-like orders.

June 21, 2007 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger RandomReality said...

Holy crap. That is a sad story. I am feeling really sad for Blue:(

June 21, 2007 at 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Alain said...

That's horrible!! I think you're lucky you didn't get bitten yourselves because that raccoon sounds very strange, to be so unafraid. We once had 4 of them in our kitchen, also eating cat food, but they got out when we made noise. They never threatened us.

My oldest son's first word was Chi-chi, the name of our neighbor's cat, whom he loved. Then at some point--I don't remember how old he was at the time--Chi-chi got hit by a car and killed. So we had this same problem: what to tell Nick? We didn't know, so we didn't tell him anything! Neither brave nor wise, just undecided. But I don't think he ever said anything.

June 22, 2007 at 6:20 AM  
Anonymous etcetera said...

i am so, so sorry... my deepest sympathies to you, truly.

June 22, 2007 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

Poor Blue. Bet you're feeling guilty now!
And such the scary rabid raccoon- I thought they were scavengers? Now you know who killed Lucy's pool. Put the fear of god in me last night when the dog was going after something in the woodpile (but using your wisdom, I grabbed the hose too!)
I hope David isn't curled up in the corner muttering weird phrases or anything.
I vote Lucy hears nothing!

June 22, 2007 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I do feel guilty! I feel terrible.
Last night: "Where Boo-boo? He hidin'?"
I said, "Ohhh, I don't know."
Which technically is true.

June 22, 2007 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

This is soooo horrible. So traumatic for Blue and you guys. Smart idea about using the hose as weapondry. Perhaps you should contact animal control/health department. Is that normal raccoon behavior--or rabid raccoon behavior? If it's not, they might send a crew to come get the murderer. It was smart to put Blue to rest. He was already so old and sick. We had to put down our beloved Sofie, due to old age and seizures, and our beloved Peaches (the hamster) after she had a stroke. At a certain point, it's not about money, but about what's the kindest way for an animal to go. Paying for treatment medical of a young pet is very different than paying for treatment on a pet that has already lived much longer than most.

June 29, 2007 at 11:31 AM  

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