Blood has a smell.
Moby was vocal, at 4AM, eloquent cat poems, with a note of complaint, as is usual on the occasions he choses to speak. Not meow, not howl, but the best he can do with a predator's mouth, no lips, sharp teeth. D got up, and unloaded the dishwasher in pursuit of a milk glass, as I stumbled out into the dimly lit kitchen.
Moby follows me around as I get dressed, stepping up onto my half socked foot, and pressing his teeth to my big toe, which is odd. We decide to give him some of the good canned cat food, hoarded, not replenishable until the Recall
is over. As he scarfs loudly, I notice what looks like dropped corn flakes, or flower petals all over the kitchen floor.
"Did you drop something on the floor?" I ask, and turn the light up. I wonder if the now paw shaped marks are tomato sauce, and did we leave any out? The little spots are scattered onto the carpet, and Moby's blanket on the stool. I stoop, wet my finger, rub some of the stain, and sniff.
I know the tang of blood, sticky and acrid. As soon as he is done eating, to his great irritation, I pick him up, and a smear of blood from his paw crosses my thumb. I try to blot with a tissue, to see the source. Over his objections, I wrestle him, with D's help, to a position to examine his paw. The same pad that gets irritated, swollen, dry, but the vet didn't have a good treatment, and it usually doesn't bother him, aside from, perhaps 'feeling funny' or maybe itching, based on his behaviour. He does not react with a painful pull-back when I press the pad. There is a tear, though and fissures extending to his toe pads. And it's bleeding, oozing.
Mind you, it's 5AM. I'm in the middle of packing. I know I want some coban ( a magic dressing that only sticks to itself, used in vet medicine often.) Cannot find it, and don't want him running around. D holds him, while I search. What I find is an ampule of a sort of bioglue, liquid bandage, accidentally brought home in a pocket from the evening before. Used to seal small lacerations in children, or for difficult to suture areas, faces, plastic surgery. Perfect.
It ain't pretty. It does sting. I hold him tight, his back to my belly, my arm holding his paws out from under his armpits, an undignified posture, which amuses D out of the worst of his worry, until the stuff has a chance to dry properly. Moby is fairly sanguine about this part, for long enough.
I am getting short on time, hungry, still not thinking well. D encourages me to play hookey, and I don't resist. What are they going to do? Take away my raise next year? Empty threat. I stay home, and make sure Moby is ok. D would have stayed home if I had not, and he did not need that today, for unrelated reasons.
So, D mops the kitchen, I spot clean the scores of bloody paw prints on the carpet, both of us are down with brushes finally. Moby is sitting in the bedroom, ruffled, but not chewing.
Why? Cat version of nail biting? Missing his favorite smelly food? Lancing a sore? His paw actually looks much better, now, than it has for months. I'll apply glycerine frequently, as a tardy precaution, starting tomorrow.
D and Moby crashed on the bed for an hour. Well, Moby is still there, calm, apparently not much bothered. Watching my comings and goings, accepting of my comfort and affection.
The thoughts going through my head, as I searched for tiny drops of blood, all over the TV stand, were that I hoped there would never be a crime scene in this apartment, or they are going to be confused by the presence of old cat blood. And that Moby, in Cat, was telling us that he was having a spot of trouble with his paw, and could we please make it right. Now.