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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Animal · #2295877
befriending wounded strays
Late that fall, a beat-up female tiger cat wandered onto our place on snowy March day. I named her Scraggles. You couldn't get close to her at first. She would eat from a bowl I put out for her on the porch. She'd eat with one eye watching me watch her. I knew there was something wrong with her, but it wasn't until she let me get closer that I saw the incredible number of dripping abscesses that caked her gnarled body. She must have lived through a lot of fights. I consulted a cat book on how to try and take care of her in spite of herself.

She finally let me touch her and I carried her in the house dunking her in a wash tub of hot salt water. The pus poured out as I tore the dried scabs away. I would syringe in hydrogen peroxide and cheese-like pus would foam out. I'd look through it hoping to find a piece of broken claw or tooth that had to be at the root of the infection. Then, I'd fill the wound with salve and put Scraggles back outside. I did this over and over the next three months. She never seemed to mind even though it must have hurt her. She seemed to know that I was trying to help.

Sometimes I'd think she was cured. She'd disappear for days only to return with a lump the size of an egg protruding from her belly. I'd have to lance it with a sharp razor blade and the infection would shoot across the room. I learned a lot about abscesses that winter. I learned too that there is something in people that makes them loves to squeeze out someone else's sores. I started going to therapy that winter too, so I understood all along how the cat felt.

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