Baji the brave

December is one of those months I dread for many reasons, but mainly because it brings along with it unhappy events that would drag for months later. Last year was no different but this time it involved a cat that I had to rescue.
It all started while visiting my brother who was being hospitalised for pneumonia, I came across the cat lying under one of the cars in the parking. I was accompanied by my dad- the veteran animal rescuer who dragged all sorts of animals from the streets to our house.
He rubbed Vicks on lame birds’ legs claiming that it was the best cure, I was obviously too young to doubt his druid skills. We both stood looking at this stocky, brute-looking stray with bald patches round his tabby head and one-half missing ear due to many fights.
I had a bag of cat’s biscuits in my car and squatted to check if he’s friendly enough to feed. The cat just meowed acknowledging my presence and I stroked his head. He didn’t seem to mind, that’s when I noticed that one of his leg wasn’t looking right. I took a closer look and told my dad that I suspect that the cat’s leg was crushed by a car.
Leaning on his walking stick and looking ahead – the famous lecture-mode pose- my dad cursed the cruelty of human race and their insistence on harming peaceful animals “like this one!”.
I assured him that it looked like an accident as it was the back leg. We both walked silently heading to my brother’s room. I was in two minds about the cat as I rarely pick up strays off the streets. I mainly focus on helping the ones I have in my neighbourhood. But being a woman who believes in fate and signs, I reasoned that if he came in my way then I should rescue him. I’ve been here a couple of times and today -out of all days- he was out there.
It must mean something! I decided that if I find him again on my way out, then I’m definitely rescuing him. And that’s what exactly happened- actually he was lying on the same spot and never budged an inch for the past hour or so. It was time to get home and bring back with me my rescuing gear: my bulky carrier, some canned food to lure him in and of course my comfy mistaken-for-a-scratching-post flip flops!
When I returned, the cat had disappeared and my heart sank (after spending an hour travelling back and forth!). I called him and he appeared from nowhere hobbling and meowing happily. I doubted my initial injury diagnosis but knew that he had to see the vet anyway. He rushed into the carrier as he was clearly famished. I took him home and went to see the vet the next day.
The vet confirmed my diagnosis, adding that the tail was crushed too. Both were to be amputated and the cat would stay with them till he’s completely healed. I decided to call him Baji -the first name that came to mind. To everybody’s surprise he turned out to be a sweetheart despite being a stray.
Baji recovered well and the vet suggested that we should find him an adoptive family (it wasn’t ideal to keep him outdoors and I couldn’t keep him indoors). I wasn’t sure if anyone would adopt him but he assured me that many do. We decided to place an ad on Facebook before taking him to Kitzania for a short stay (to be continued…)

Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja.

Oman Observer