Last summer, I posted this blog about my cat, Loki, having disappeared a week earlier. It is leaps and bounds ahead of every other blog entry I’ve posted in terms of hits, and that must be because so many people have had pets go missing and reach out to find others in the same situation to look for some hope that their own animals might return.
Well, there is hope! Loki has returned! Last Friday, eight months after he disappeared, I received a phone call from Home Again, one of the microchip pet locator services.
“Hello, Becca Gomez Farrell?”
“You have an orange tabby named Loki, who’s been missing?”
“Yes.” At this point, I think I started going into shock, a sensation that didn’t leave until I had him home for a couple days.
“Well, I have a vet office on the line in Apex, who has your cat. Would you like to speak to them?”
I then learned that he had been brought into their office only an hour ago for emergency care. Apex is more than 10 miles from here, and the lady who brought him in had been feeding him on and off in her neighborhood for the last six months. He was likely hit by a car, or possibly fell from a high height, and ended up with two fractures to his jaw and a ruined eye with an abscess behind it. Before the accident, he had still been wearing his black collar, but the tag had fallen off. The woman, who was crying with worry, and her son waited to meet me. She told me that she had gone to all forty houses in her neighborhood when he first appeared, to see if someone were missing him, but hadn’t considered a microchip. Many people don’t even know they exist; I’d heard of them but gave them no thought myself until I adopted Loki and Verdandi two and a half years ago from the shelter. I give much thanks to that woman for her having compassion and bringing him in to a vet, who check for microchips as part of their normal routines.
Loki was a mess. He was acting every bit the wounded cat–drowsy, in pain, smelling like an infection–but would try to purr through his broken jaw when I pet him. I’m not sure I would have recognized him-he looked much larger than he used to–but I think that was mostly swelling of his head, though he is a bit taller. The vet said he perked up when I came, but I would never have been able to tell that myself. Ben joined me after I’d spent two hours there, and we ended up waiting for another one before they finished checking his blood tests and referred us on to Cary Veterinary Specialty Hospital for further treatment. Except for what was likely a false positive FIV test (Loki’s vaccines lapsed in September, but once a cat is vaccinated for FIV, we’ve learned from my regular vet and the Internet that any test for it will turn up positive because they have the antibodies in their system. He’s had four FIV vaccines in all.), his chemistries looked great, thankfully.
He stayed at VSH over the weekend and had two jaw surgeries performed, his abscess drained, and his blind eye removed. Amazingly, one of the cats I grew up with, Princess, was also hit by a car when she was young and went through the rest of her life with one blind eye and a slightly off jaw. Ben also dreamed of Loki a few weeks before he was found, and in the dream, he wore a patch. Coincidences are crazy things, folks. We are currently trying to teach him to say, “Meo-argh!” and looking into wooden parrots to attach to his shoulder.
The first attempt at setting his jaw with dental cement did not take, so I had to take him back three days later to have the right side of his jaw wired instead. He also has a feeding tube in place in case he was unable to eat on his own, but he’s been doing okay with that, so I’m hopeful we can have it removed when he returns to VSH next week to have the stitches over his missing eye taken out. The jaw will remain wired for four to six weeks, total.
Other than being calmer (at least until he starts considering the outdoors again), a bit smelly due to not being able to rinse out his mouth of food all that well, and a strong desire to gorge himself whenever food is in sight (a result of his months as a stray, I’m sure) Loki is . . . well, Loki. He’s being very affectionate and definitely knows he’s home, even if there is a rambunctious gray kitten about and his sister, Verdandi, isn’t quite welcoming him with open arms (but is welcoming him more easily than she did Mazu!). Loki is taking the high road with all of their hissing, making no reaction other than to consider them out of his only eye, so both cats are already less persistent with their animosity. Mazu’s even taken a few playful swings at him, which he was happy to return.
Loki is home. And now the adventure of owning three cats begins.