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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Midnight Rambler

Our Feral Beastie Rocco
Rocco (the Midnight Rambler)  is our oldest porch visiting cat. That is, he seems to have come with the house. The Amazing Bob™, Jen, Oni, Erin, PJ and I all moved here to Cat Heaven eight and a half years ago. Rocco showed up shortly after.

We’ve heard, through the Neck grapevine, that Rocco actually has a home over on Edgewater Drive -- which would explain his episodic absences from the breakfast table. Of course, these same theoretical folks are also the ones who ‘owned’ B.O.P. AND named him Peaches. No wonder he ran away to our house.

Rocco is, after all these years of having me serve him a breakfast of Fancy Feast and sometimes tuna, mostly feral. Eight years into knowing one another, carrying him a plate of fish and I can still only get so close. Holding him? Patting? Stroking his beautiful black fur? Fuhgeddaboudit.

He’s also always shown a tremendously healthy respect for the other wild guests, here at Bob and Donna’s Creature Cafe.

He steps back though not away, when Rocky the Raccoon steps up. They must have signed a Lawrence and Gerald Durrell brokered peace accord. There is neutrality, if not unity, on our porch.
Flower (our semi regular skunk guest) crowded him out of the breakfast bowl only yesterday. Rocco, always affecting a thuggish mien -- masking a total scaredy cat core -- nonchalantly stepped aside. He yawned and stretched, as if to say 'yeah dude, I was so done. Here, have some. It’s on me. No. really -- knock yourself out, man.’ He then assumed the meatloaf kata on our welcome mat while waiting for his turn to come back 'round.

In all these years, I’ve never seen him with a speck of damage (not that he’s here every day or lets me get tight close). Unlike our dearly departed B.O.P., Rocco is most def NOT a fighter.

B.O.P. -- the Great Warrior
Given this, along with his advanced, for a more or less feral cat, age, I was stunned/blown to bits/shocked out of my slippers to see him this morning with a major chunk out of his cheek -- like some Alien-esque bastard took a major swipe at him.

At 4 AM this morning when I went out with the morning fish feast, he let me get closer. Mind you, I didn’t have my much needed glasses on, but it looked like he was missing half his face. Serious, wicked zombie action. While I reeled in shock and horror, he tucked into the morning meal.

I ran upstairs to wake poor Bob with my less than coherent, panicked cries of ‘onna porch, onna porch, attacked’ and the like. Not being a stone morning person, like me, it took him a bit to grasp what I was not describing well (at all).

Bob came down and had a look -- got as close as Rocco would permit. We looked in the phone books and on line for a cat ER without luck. I checked the porch again and saw that Rocco was in his 'hey lady, what’s a cat got to do to get seconds around here’ pose. He jumped down from the porch railing when I came out with his second bowl and dug in.

I thought ‘how can he eat when his entire cheek has been ripped out?'

While we were busy hunting cat ERs, wondering if Rocco would even let us escort him there, and then calling Quincy Animal Rescue, he ambled off.

Goddamn, I felt helpless, frustrated and failure-esque. I should have been able to do SOMEthing to help, fix, heal that poor boy. I wondered, and still do, if that was his last meal and he’s gone off someplace to die in peace. I don’t want him to be in pain. I don’t want him to be afraid,

And WHY don’t I have a magic healing wand?! I really should, you know.

When I came home from work, I checked in with Bob -- I wanted to hear something hopeful, less dire than the thoughts and images in my head. I asked ‘did you see what I saw -- Rocco’s cheek ripped out beyond the bone?’ Bob, smart bean that he is, had put on his glasses when he looked at poor Rocco. Yes, there was a definite, nasty bad gouge but his cheek, though deeply hurt, was still there. I guess, black fur/black skin/ the pre-dawn hour and me without my glasses combined to make things look horror show worse.

Am I done fretting? Do I feel placid? Oh, fuck no! If he’s on the porch for breakfast tomorrow, he’s SO getting tuna.

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