Kunta “Toby” came to us a few weeks before we moved here to the Ozarks. He was a birthday present for Blake’s 2nd birthday. Blake will by 8 in July.
Toby is a good cat. He has brought us endless mice, moles, bats, and even a rabbit once. If you happen to be resting out on the porch he will soon be in your lap. And when I hang the laundry he perches up on the post and bats at my hands. Toby lives outside, but has gotten very good a sneaking indoors and hiding.
Last Saturday night I was busy doing laundry late, getting ready for a kayak trip the following day. Our washer is in the pump house and dryer a few hundred feet away in the shed. I wore my headlamp because our yard is not well lit. As I stepped off the porch I glanced toward our wood shed and saw two glowing eyes up on the piled wood. Coon. We’ve been having varmint problems. After I settled the laundry I glanced back at the wood shed, it was still there watching me. So I went in and told Rex a coon was in the wood shed. We finished the movie and I began tucking the kids into bed. Rex grabbed the riffle and went to check the status of the coon. A few seconds later we heard the shot.
Sunday morning I woke with a question. Toby had snuck in the afternoon before and we all giggled at him as he stuck his head out from Savannah’s room and meowed. But why didn’t I see him when I tucked the kids in for bed? When the kids got up I asked Savannah if she knew where Toby was. She said he had been let out last night. That was my first suspicion that the coon could have been our Toby.
Off we went to our day of kayaking. I was unsuccessfully trying to pass my fear off as my normal worry wart personality and put on Rex’s “it’ll all work out” attitude. Not working. I told Rex my suspicion and we discussed all the reasons why it was not a possibility. We’ve never seen Toby up on the wood (he hangs out in the garage), the eyes were too big, and Toby always comes to me when I am going in and out of the pump house hoping for an in between meal snack (which he usually gets).
We got home just at dark. As we stepped out of the truck I could hear Toby meowing/howling. The sound he only makes when he has to ride in the car. I spotted him lying in front of the cabin. I knew immediately my fear was right. I called to Rex to go check Toby as I held the kids back. Rex’s response was “it’s not good.” The kids were crying. Blake was very upset. Savannah wanted to go to him and kept asking “what happened to him”. Rex and I were crushed, how could we have done this?
Rex took Toby some water while I got the kids inside. Then I went to Toby. There was a clear bullet wound in his front leg. But he was very alert. My response was more hopeful, “he might be okay”. I wrapped him in a towel and carried him to the house. We all stroked him and his crying ceased. I made him a bed in the pump house and prayed he would make it to the vet in the morning.
After a groggy start he was again alert Monday morning. I was at the vet just after opening. Dr. Jones took x-rays and delivered the bittersweet news. Yes, it was a bullet wound. There were traces of lead in his chest but having made it two days there was a good chance his lungs and heart were okay. However the leg was receiving no circulation and Toby had no feeling in his toes. It would have to be amputated. Surgery was scheduled for 2 days later so that he could rest and receive antibiotics.
Tuesday afternoon I went to the clinic to visit Toby. I brought him out into the grass and sunshine. He was feeling better but still in pain. He enjoyed lying in the grass and looking around at his surroundings. After an hour he was exhausted.
Wednesday morning Dr. Jones called to give me an update. Toby’s fever was gone, he was purring, and he was also protesting more with being handled (a good sign). The surgery would proceed as planned. But he reminded me there are always risks with a major surgery like amputation.
Late morning I got the call. Post surgery report was, “it went as well as it could have”.
I am to call in the morning and possibly bring our Toby home tomorrow or Friday.
He won’t have to sneak in anymore, he’ll be let in.
In the above picture Toby is not hissing. It is a pant. Again which I've only see him do during car rides.