I haven’t been involved in many dangerous situations. At least what I would consider dangerous.
There was, however, one time that I can recall clearly where I helped one of our cats and became extremely injured during the process.
We used to call our house ‘Cat-topia’.
Originally we had one cat, Bonnie. She was my older brother’s cat, but when he joined the Air Force, she gravitated towards me, and I thought of her as mine. Bonnie died at the age of 18.
She was older than I was, so in many ways I was her baby, rather than the other way around.
It took a while for me to recover from losing her. I felt the loss very deeply. It was the first time I really remember experiencing death.
Eventually my younger brother and I were ready to have pets again. So my mom allowed both of us to get kittens.
John got a small black cat named Smokey. And I got a slightly older black cat.
For while I couldn’t think of a name for her. Nothing seemed to fit.
Eventually I named her Cleopatra, or Cleo for short. The name seriously came out of no where while I was talking to my mom one evening, and it felt so perfect for her that I never questioned it.
A few years later my grandmother became ill and my mom ended up taking care of her, which meant we inherited two more cats. Tuffy, another black cat, and Morris, an orange tabby.
Through twisting events, we also inherited a cat from an ex my mom had been seeing; Scarlet, my baby.
So here we are… 5 cats in our house. Plus two from our next door neighbor… one from across the street, and another one from our other neighbor…
Like I said… Cat-topia.
There was one day that I was outside and a guy was walking with a dog. It wasn’t on a leash or anything. In fact he had it by the collar.
He saw me and called out, asking if I knew who the dog belonged to. I said that I didn’t. I had never seen the dog before.
Smokey was outside at the time. The dog saw him and started trying to get away from the guy.
Though he tried holding onto the collar, he wasn’t able to keep the dog in check, and as soon as his hand slipped from the collar the dog came racing towards Smokey and I.
Smokey was terrified and dashed off towards the back of the house where there are trees. I ran after him, wanting to get him so I could take him inside, or hold him. Anything to get him away from the dog.
He climbed up a tree, but somehow he didn’t stay in it. I don’t remember if he fell, or jumped to get behind the dog, but he ended up rushing back towards the front of the house.
Somehow I ended up getting him in my arms. The dog was jumping around us. Barking. Trying to get to Smokey.
Smokey was so terrified. His heart was beating so fast. His claws were digging into me. And in his fear he was biting my hand, trying to get away. Not understanding that I would keep him safe. That he was ok.
I held him so tightly. Even through the biting. I got him inside and made sure that he was ok.
I had blood running down my arm. The bites were deep. So deep and now that everything had passed and the adrenaline was leaving my body I was shaking. I hurt. I was scared. The dog could have bitten me, but luckily it hadn’t.
My arm hurt, so bad. There where so many puncture wounds from Smokey’s teeth, and I am not good when it comes to blood. I wanted to pass out. I felt nauseous.
It felt like my heart wasn’t beating right. Fluttering in my chest like a poor butterfly, trapped.
I couldn’t breath right. Short, halting gaps.
All I could think about was that I was hurt.
I’m hurt. I’m hurt.
It became an all-consuming thought. It was the only thing I could focus on. This one fact was my reality. The only thing that existed in the whole world. The only truth I knew.
The universe must have been looking out for me, because not long afterwards my mom came home. I went to her outside, shaking, trying to explain what happened, though I’m not sure if I did a very good job. I don’t remember the next events very clearly.
She saw the blood.
She helped me clean my wounds and let me cry. Not that the pain was that bad, but because I was that overwhelmed. I needed to let everything out, and that’s the only way I knew how to do it.
I remember there being a lot of fear. Worry. Determination. I wasn’t going to let Smokey get hurt, even if I had to fend off the dog myself.
But everything was over. Everyone was safe. Even myself. So I could let go of everything. I didn’t have to be strong anymore, and so I wasn’t. I cried and let it all go while my mom helped sooth me.
Even with cleaning, several of the bites became infected, and I wasn’t able to use my hand for about a week while the punctures healed.
That is my most vivid memory of danger.