The Day I Gave My Cat a Hand
I saved Kabuki from possible death - but almost "deep-fried" myself in the process!
Of all the feline fleaflickers that I had, my huge Bombay, Kabuki, was undoubtedly the most independent. Trying to train him was nearly impossible. But God bless him; if the rest of my cats were the Real McCoys, he was "Grandpappy Amos." Sadly, he's no longer with me—but one fateful day could've made his demise a lot earlier in his illustrious life.
You see, aside from the loving, feeding them, and changing cat litter, it's essential to train our cats to stay off places like the kitchen table, the television console—and especially the stove! Believe me, I learned the hard way. Here's what happened:
On a cool Thursday morning in 2006, I had just fried up a package of bacon for a big breakfast, and, of course, that left me with a pan full of boiling grease. As luck would have it, K-Cat (as I called him) loved that breakfast treat more than the tastiest cat food—and, as I was transferring the grease to a trap at the side of the sink, he jumped on the stove and ran in front of me! Since the pan had a rickety handle that was just about to come off, I knew the entire, scalding-hot mess would land on him if it did!
So, instead of seeing him fatally burned, I pushed the handle down in a snap, and took the entire load of that grease on my left hand! At that very moment, the pan itself broke away and landed on the stove top.
Now, I'm not going to say it hurt, but I broke out in a loud, wild tribal dance that would make the Watusi look like a waltz. I ran to the fridge, jerked open the freezer door with my good hand and stuck the parboiled one inside until I found a big bag of ice. Then, though the pain resulted in me screaming obscenities that could've banned me from Heaven, I took the bag out, poured it into a pot I had on the stove and rushed it to the coffee-table in the living room. I laid down on the sofa and stuck my hand in the pot. The relief was overwhelming—and I shortly fell asleep.
An hour later, I awoke (hand still in the ice), and immediately thought about Kabuki. What would've happened if that pan of grease actually spilled on him? My heart started racing as I thought of the possibility. As that vignette was playing through my mind, I solemnly promised that I'd train all the animals to stay off furniture—and appliances. That is, if I survived.
But, then, I felt a chill below my belt, as if I'd spilled something on my pants. It turned out to be something else:
Friends, do you know what happens if you fall asleep with your hand in a bucket of water? It totally numbs your bladder...
I looked down to find my cats had gathered around on the sofa and coffee table, staring at me, er, "down there." I could've sworn my little Siamese kittens, Ricky and Radar, were giggling while K-Cat and Sabre just gazed at the spot, slowly shaking their heads in disbelief.
Even after two Tylenol®, a bottle of peroxide, and an a white sock to cover the wound, the pain was still so bad that I went to be checked out at our local hospital's ER (no, I didn't change, because it was too painful. Besides, someone down there could use a laugh or two). As luck would have it, I caught every red light on that two-mile stretch and thought I'd pass out from the pain. After being checked in, I was told to have a seat in the waiting room. An hour passed—I was down to the last two buttons of my shirt. I'd already chewed the rest of them off—when, finally, was taken back so the ER doctor could take a look at it.
After taking x-rays of my paw, he said the burns were so deep that I'd need a reconstructive surgeon. Then he left to get some salve to put on my hand. Personally, I was just hoping he'd have come back with a hatchet and cut the darn thing off.
He also had an order for me to see that specialist at my “earliest possible convenience.” After leaving, I drove to the pharmacy (fortunately, he did prescribe strong acetaminophen to ease the pain. I guess the hospital had run out of hatchets), and they gave me a jar of some kind of cream to put on it as well. Of course, I was to keep it bandaged afterward.
Now, I also had two small dogs who were very well-trained. All I had to do is give a simple command like sit, stay, flush, and they'd do it. When I came back to the house, I gulped down two of those extra-heavy-duty pills and then tried to relax. That didn't work out well, so I walked into the spare room to try my hand (literally!) on the computer. Unfortunately, on the way in, I accidentally hit the bandaged-but-still-throbbing hand against the doorsill. Now, I'm not gonna repeat what I said, but apparently those little, obedient pups heard me, because when I turned around, the hall had about three good-sized poops near the door.
While the second-and-third degree burns had done enough damage to warrant reconstruction, I chose against it. In time, it healed perfectly, and I regained total use of the hand. Miracle?? If so, I give credit to the Great Physician. Therapy? The best I received was from loving cats gently rubbing against the bandaged hand, purring... and tender doggy-licks from deep brown eyes that gazed up at me as if to say, "Daddy, you're gonna be alright...
And, by the way: thanks for smearing the back of your bandage with peanut-butter!"