Saturday, March 17, 2007

That (Not So) Still Small Voice

I am a firm believer that listening is the greatest gift that we can give ourselves as well as others. We must learn to listen to that still small voice that often chatters below the frequency of our everyday world.. What is "that" small voice? This is a tough question because the voice seems to be constantly changing. Or, maybe the voice doesn't change but we are asked to hear it differently. Whichever the case, I am grateful that I am learning to listen.

Thursday evening I was taking the dogs out before bedtime. It was nearly midnight. We live in the country so the night time sounds are often a bit enchanting - coyotes howling, pasture grass rustling, an occasional dog barking. I love to sit on the deck and just listen to the night. I must admit that on Thursday night I was tired. The day had been going on for 18 hours already. It was definitely time for bed.

As I waited for the dogs, I was aware of the usual night time symphony but there was something different. I heard what sounded like a cat meowing. This is not one of the normal sounds. I had my husband come listen. He said it was the wind turbine on the house next door. I was fairly certain that the sound I heard was not that though it did come and go with the regularity of a whirling turbine. Convinced that what I was hearing was indeed a cat, I came into the house to make sure that all three of our cats were present and accounted for. As I called their names, Cambridge and Blair came running - probably in the hope that treats were to be distributed. Spencer, who always comes when called, did not appear. With flashlight in hand I headed outside to follow in the direction of the small voice I heard.

I was lead to the front of our four acre lot. As the meowing grew louder, I realized that it was above my head. There was Spencer about 10 feet up in a Mesquite tree and he was not coming down. He is an inside cat who never goes outside. For some reason he must have followed the dogs out earlier in the day without being noticed.

So here is the scenario. It is midnight in the country, pitch black, and the clawless cat is 10-12 feet up in a Mesquite tree. Think about those thorns! And, a stray dog, who is probably the reason the cat is in the tree, is lurking below. My daughter came to take the dog away and hold on to him during the rescue operation. Mike went for the ladder while I stood in the yard talking to the cat like he was my child. After several minutes of trying to stabilize the ladder in a place where we could reach the cat, we carried him down the ladder and back to the house.

He headed straight for the food bowl While he was eating, I noticed that his tail did not look quite right. As I got closer, I realized that the tip was only bone. Something (the stray dog) had stripped his tail. Spencer did not seem to notice. He did not seem to be in any pain as he went about his night time routine.

Friday morning I took him to the vet. He had to have about a third of his tail amputated. More than what was injured was removed to assure that no infection would move into his spinal column. He came home this morning and seems more annoyed by the Elizabethan collar he is wearing so he won't disturb his stitches than he does with his shorter, bandaged tail.

I am so grateful that I took the time to listen to the still small voice that said this is an unusual nighttime sound, the still small voice that said make sure all of your cats are safe, and Spencer's not so still small voice that led me to him in the tree.

Here is Spencer in is collar, which is definitely not his idea of fashion, and his shorter tail.

I am happy to say that he seems fine. He is eating well. He is trying to get the collar off. He did not fight the "pink medicine" as my children used to call it. And, he is happy to sit in my lap and purr!