It was just another morning, with Glenda accompanying me on my pre-breakfast walk around town. We took a different side street this morning in our hunt to find that first cat I encountered more than a week ago (whom I have not seen again since that day). After making this one new turn, we found ourselves staring face to face with a new fuzzy friend.
I sat down on a curb, ready to slowly lure the kitten over with promises of food…but luring clearly wasn’t necessary for the Cat Whisperer over here. Within seconds, he was on my lap and rubbing his face on my body and clothes.
He had white mucus coming out of two red eyes, and his coat was dry and dusty. One of his front paws looked like it was still healing from a recent injury, and I could feel from the bones in his rib cage that he hadn’t had a decent meal in a minute. I pulled out a packet of wet cat food from my bag and spread about a third of it onto a piece of paper; he gulped it down in 15 seconds. I gave him a few minutes to digest that and put some oxygen back into his lungs before feeding him the rest. He purred vigorously while he ate, and afterwards I wiped his face and his booger eyes with a tissue.
“You know, in all my walks here, I have not seen a single veterinarian,” I told Glenda.
Perhaps I just wasn’t looking for that, though, because when I checked Waze (which works in Mexico, by the way!), there was a vet 0.8 miles away. We decided to take the walk.
When we got there, the sign on the door said abierto, but the padlocks indicated no one was there. It was just after 8. I called the number on the door.
“A que hora tu estas abierto?”
“Nueve.” 9:00. It was 8:15. We had already missed breakfast, and my foot bath therapy was scheduled for 9:30. We decided to wait for the vet. I’d deal with the consequences later of missing one treatment; I was in Mommy Mode, and there was an animal to save. We sat down on the curb and took turns playing with the kitten and entertaining an adorable husky in a cast who had clearly found a way to break out of their cage sometime in the middle of the night.
1.5 hours later, I am walking out of the vet with a collared kitten named Botas (Spanish for “boots”), a bag of food and medicines, a bill that cost less than one office visit in the states, and not a clue what I am going to do with him once I get back to the clinic. Waze guides us the 1.3 miles back to Rubio Cancer Center as we devise a plan to smuggle Botas in to the clinic and up to my room.
Cat Whisperer. Cat Burglar. Cat Smuggler. All true.
It is now 8:30pm. My secret is stashed in my bathroom as I wait for the night nurse to come in and take my vitals. Blanca almost blew up my spot an hour ago, when she headed to my bathroom to fill a tube for the oxygen tank with water from the faucet. When I loudly exclaimed, “No, don’t go in there,” she made a joke with her hands indicating I must have just blown up my bathroom; I held back the urge to remind her that I use Poo-Pourri, so my bathroom NEVER smells funky.
I have no idea how long I will successfully keep this secret stashed. What I do know is that pet therapy should be incorporated into this program…cuz the amount of bliss I have felt all day walking this kitten around town, getting some food and meds into his system, playing with him in my room, watching him crawl in my hamper and nap on my sweater from this morning, and hearing his purr in my ear as he rubs against my face has provided me with the only thing I have been missing since I arrived here three weeks ago: