Things have not been so good around here, recently. But I’ve managed without any real incident, with the exception of last Tuesday night. Over the course of a couple weeks, it was determined that one of our home-stay student’s bedrooms had bedbugs. (Since they hitch rides on luggage, they are most common in places with high turnover rates of guests. We’re guessing, and the time-line kind of supports it, that it came from a visitor we had from the Philippines.) My sister was staying in this for a few days while we had no students and she developed spots. We had no idea what these were, but they were apparently very itchy. It turns out that they were bedbug bites. Wow, I can’t believe I had never seen them before. But we hadn’t discovered this yet. My sister went back to her house in Squamish and a new Korean home-stay student moved in. After her first night sleeping here (poor girl) she woke with the same types of bites my sister had! After she asked around, people suggested bedbugs.
Anyway, to get rid of these nasty predators is very difficult. Everything was taken out of the room in question, transported in garbage bags, gone through by hand outside, then put in different garbage bags. Many seams were painfully combed. Books were baked in the oven for a brief period. And we had an exterminator come over to fumigate the infected and neighbouring rooms. Fumigation must be done three times over three-week intervals to account for any unhatched eggs the previous time. While the fumigation is being done, all people and their pets must leave the house. We were all in a rush that day, picking students up from the bus stop and taking them to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner that night.
Sky, our cat, had recently been enjoying going outside on our deck. Normally, she doesn’t go outside. We could leave the door open and she would just curiously peek outside, but when we were closing the door, she would quickly run back inside. Anyway, she had recently been interested and comfortable in coming out onto our deck and enjoying the breeze while threateningly staring down squirrels and birds. She rarely strayed from our deck and not far when she did. We put Sky outside on the deck, put a wooden barricade up at the gate, and left some food and water out with her because we would be gone for a while.
We were away for maybe five or six hours. When we came back, Sky wasn’t on the deck and the wooden barricade we had put up was down. I didn’t think much of it and figured she would return soon. My mom later came to my room and told me she had found Sky sitting under a neighbour’s car across the street. She looked injured. Oh no….
I went outside to help my mom retrieve our cat and saw Sky sitting near the wheel. As I approached, I heard a very low growl. I paused and asked if there was a dog in the back of that car. “No, I’m pretty sure that’s Sky,” my mom replied. I had never heard Sky make such a low sound before; nothing even close. I approached more cautiously, not sure of what state she was in. Using a flashlight, I was able to see some blood on her hind feet and many tufts of fur around the car; her white, fluffy fur. But it was difficult to see much else. I lay down at the back of the car and tried to get Sky to come out from underneath. We did not want to reach in to get her. My mom went inside to get some towels. Sky was constantly looking around her. She looked terrified. I just lay there, trying to comfort her by gently talking to her. She eventually made a couple weak, steps towards me, and sat down again. Half-way there. Her back legs, both of them, were definitely injured as she couldn’t put much weight on them. My mom came out with the towels and I put them down, giving sky more space to sit on the towel. After a little more patient waiting and gentle reassurance, Sky hobbled the rest of the short distance out from under the car and onto the towel we had laid out.
We carefully wrapped Sky in the towels and took her inside the house to the bathroom to take a closer look at her. She had some puncture wounds on her stomach and her rear end, and her back legs were bleeding quite badly. We tried cleaning her a little but it was obvious that she needed to go to the 24 hour emergency vet, downtown. Poor cat. I had to wake up and work in a few hours, so I didn’t go. My mom and my younger sister went. I had a sinking feeling that would be the last time I would see Sky….
The vet said that the wounds were typical of a raccoon attack. Maybe they were attracted to the food? Sky was the most harmless creature, and after inspection it looks as if she may have initially been attacked on our deck, and then again at the car across the street where she obviously fled. She didn’t have any experience outside, and she really, really did not deserve this! I didn’t get any sleep that night, and it hasn’t been the best couple of weeks, to be honest. We didn’t have to leave Sky outside on the deck. We could have easily put her in a cage and taken her with us. If we didn’t have these bedbugs brought into our house, this would never have happened to begin with…. But, beating yourself up over things you have no control over rarely does any good. At 3am, Wednesday, September 17th, Sky was put to sleep. She was only 7 years old.
I miss her.