Note: This post has nothing to do with sailing, the great loop or with our year of travel. It is, instead, a post about Sid, our cat. Who is 18 years old and who we didn’t think was going to make it on the trip. He has been in slow decline for a year now, but he is still with us. Mostly, we think, to spite us. He is after all a cat.
Not sure how many lives Sid has left. We thought, until yesterday, that it was exactly one. But turns out he had a least one additional life in reserve and we will get to ‘the incident’ that happened here in the Bahamas, but first a quick count of Sid’s lives (that we are aware of) that have been expended up until now:
1. Kansas City, MO, 2000: Sid was 6 months-1 year old when we rescue him from the animal shelter just before he has to walk the big green mile.
2. Gambrills, MD: In 2001 Jan and I left for Germany where we would be stationed for three years. Unfortunately we only could bring one pet with us on the flight over and we liked Tazzil-dog better, so she accompanied us.1 Sid stayed with our friends Mark and Vicki who owned a mean German Shepard named, and I kid you not, Wolf. Wolf was an outdoor dog who was chained to his dog house because if he got loose or got inside he would kill anyone not named Mark. Sid had the run of the indoors. But Sid was both and indoor and outdoor cat and one day when Vicki held the door open a bit too long, Sid ran outside to FREEDOM!!! Exactly 10 seconds of freedom. Which is how long it took Wolf to see Sid, turn and run at rocket speed and grab Sid between his jaws and proceed to try to SHAKE HIM TO DEATH! He threw him in the air, picked him up, shook some more and repeat. Vicki was screaming at the dog and presumably hosing him down or beating him with a stick and eventually got Sid out of Wolf’s jaws. Needless to say, Sid did not ever try to run out that door again.
3. Germany, 2003(ish). When stationed in Germany we lived on the third floor of an apartment building. This building was built in the early 1900s and each floor was about 20’ tall. Our bedrooms were like racquetball courts. We had huge windows that could open at the top and stay cracked open, or would open sideways. When we opened from the top, Sid’s favorite perch was at the top of the window sill looking down. Which we hated because if he fell, he would get trapped between the window and the screen. Which is exactly what he did. Fortunately we were home and somehow got him out of the window before he either starved or cut through the screen and fell the 60’ to his death. Except cats land on their feet, so maybe he would have been OK.
4. Omaha #1, 2006. I return from a TDY trip just after AJ was born. I walk in the door and Sid is laying on the floor, unable to walk because his head is the approximate size of a pumpkin. And pus is leaking out his eyes. Jan is sleep deprived; a walking zombie taking care of a howling banshee that NEVER sleeps (that would be AJ). I take Sid to the vet; he had a infection in his head from a cat fight. Emergency surgery which sent us back a boat unit, a night stay in the hospital and he is returned to us with a piece of tube through the top of his head that drains the pus and wearing a cone of shame. Lovely.
5. Omaha #2, 2006. Six months after the above same thing happens. Other than Jan not noticing. We caught it this time early, but more emergency surgery, another boat unit, another cone of shame.
6,7. North Carolina and Augusta, Georgia. The Army decided that our duty station after Omaha would be in paradise. But my orders got screwed up and we got sent to Augusta, GA. We drove from Omaha up to Minneapolis to visit my dad, then to Severna Park, MD to visit Jan’s sister and then drove to Augusta. From Severna Park it was a two day trip with one stop in North Carolina and another in Augusta at a hotel before we reported for duty on post. In the North Carolina hotel we lost the cat; we though he had escaped outside, but he was hiding in the room. We searched frantically for him and just before we left him for good, he sauntered into the room ready to leave. You would think that we would have taken that into consideration when we stopped in the hotel in Augusta. But nope. We aren’t that smart. We woke up in the morning, couldn’t find the cat. I had to report into work at 0800, so Sid was screwed. We left. And came back at 5pm and asked the hotel if we could see our room from the previous night; then opened the door and there was Sid. Sitting on the bed waiting for us. And hungry.
And I’m sure there is at least one more that we don’t know about. After all, he can’t actually speak words to us, though he certainly can (and does) meow constantly.
Which gets us to Saturday. The day we arrived in Great Harbour Cay. Sid was his usual self. Sleeping. Eating. Pooping. Repeat. And at some point in the evening, while we were eating dinner, he wandered out on the deck. And ended up falling into the water.
The crew of C-Shel (the boat in front of us) were on their back deck enjoying a quiet evening when they heard the sound of something in the water. They thought it was a manatee so went to get a flashlight and when they lit up the water, they saw Sid’s tail and back legs flailing in the water. He was struggling and not doing well–going down for the third time apparently. They got their boat hook and fished him out of the water. Jay, from one boat over, came over and gave mouth to kitty resuscitation. Sid vomited copious amounts of sea water and collapsed. C-Shel cleaned him off and nursed him through out the night.
On our boat we were eating dinner, playing cards and getting ready for bed. Jan noticed at 9:30 that Sid was not on board. We assumed he jumped ship onto SHORE (as opposed to the water), so we went out to call for him along the road that runs by the marina. No luck. We figured he would come back in the morning. So we went to bed.
And in the morning on our boat there was a more than a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth when we woke to find that Sid wasn’t back. Then Carla (S/V Mahi) came over to ask us if our cat was on board. And she then linked us up with our cat. Looking much worse for the wear. But still with us and still kicking. And sleeping a lot more. Sid is back! For a little while, at least.
1Turns out Sid got the last laugh. I arranged for a company to pick him up at Mark/Vickis, make sure he had the correct shots, transport him to the airport, fill out the paperwork and transfer him to the airline for his trip overseas. We would meet him at the Frankfurt airport. Which cost us at last another boat unit. Mark and Vicki reported that when he was picked up, at their house, he rode shotgun in a limo. and I’m convinced he rode up in first class in the airplane. Only explanation I have for the outrageous bill.