Today I was on my way to drop off Big Kid's snack to his class and as I was driving there, something orange caught my eye.
I realized it was a dead orange tabby cat on the side of the road and two seconds later realized that as the owner of an orange tabby cat, I should be concerned. I could tell it was a small orange cat with a fuzzy, apricot-colored belly and our Tangerine fits that description perfectly.
I almost turned around but didn't want to delay the class snack (that I should have sent this morning) and it was clear that the cat was dead and not going anywhere. I felt bad but drove on.
Then I had to sit and wait while Big Kid finished up his school day, agonizing over our poor dead cat. We've had her for 10 years, someone had found her on a construction site and we got her at just a few weeks old; she used to fit in Mr. Ashley's jean pocket. Although a total asshole who wages laundry pissing wars against us if we displease her and will only drink running water, we've had her a long time and really didn't need additional stress or sadness right now.
I decided not to tell Big Kid until later because I wasn't ready to deal with his reaction, he's been insanely emotional about everything lately. On the way home, I stopped on the side of the road, facing away from the cat, and ran over there to see if it was Tangerine.
It was extraordinarily small for an adult cat, like Tangerine. It was orange with a ringed tail. I saw the fuzzy, light colored belly hair that never fully grew back in after she was spayed and my heart sunk a little but I still didn't feel positive.
Creeping around to the front of the cat, I noticed one eyeless socket and couldn't look anymore. I didn't have my phone on me and wasn't sure what to do. I felt awful just leaving her on the side of the road, but dead things repulse me and I just didn't see how I was going to get her into the truck. I reluctantly, gut wrenchingly decided to leave her there and have Mr. Ashley come pick her up later so that we could bury her at home.
I got back into the car and ignored Big Kid's questions, feeling sad and a little bit guilty about also feeling relief about moving with one less cat, particularly the cat who is difficult to live with.
I pulled into the driveway and headed to the front door so that I could call Mr. Ashley...and there sat Tangerine. Perfectly alive. Waiting for me to come home so that I could turn the faucet on for her.
Yep...I almost put someone else's dead cat in my car!!
Can you even imagine??
It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.
I guess the good news is that our cat isn't dead