Sid After The Fire
Sid (left) and Nancy.
Years ago when my house burned down, aside from the loss of everything, the worst part was that the kitten was missing. The firefighters said he couldn't possibly have survived, and had probably crawled off somewhere and expired from smoke inhalation. So we looked in all the nooks and crannies but couldn't find him anywhere. We went off to sleep at my sister's house but came back every day to deal with the mess and look for Sid.
Three days later, just as we drove up in the truck, my mom (our neighbor at the time) came out saying, "The kitten! The kitten!" Apparently he had dragged himself up out of the gully out back just before we drove up, mewing like he knew we were coming. Who knows how he got out, because the windows had been all closed - he must have flown out just as the firefighters broke down the door and they didn't see him.
Sid's fur was singed and his little paws were all burned, so we rushed him to the vet. Some of his paw pads actually looked melted, and they had bits of gravel stuck in there. Poor little guy. The vet said he was at risk for respiratory problems and vision loss, and checked on him all through the night. (An excellent vet, by the way, he also reconstructed a three-week-old kitten's face for free after a dog bite but that's another story.)
We got Sid back with his little feet all bandaged up (with bright pink outer bandages for some reason, most unsuitable for a cat named "Sid" but we comforted ourselves with the thought that cats can't see red so he must have thought they were a neutral grey colour).
We snuck him into the motel room the Red Cross had put us in. Sid couldn't walk or do a thing for himself, so we transported him everywhere he needed to go. It was like he understood. He'd say, "Mew!" and we'd place him in front of the food dish so he could eat. "Mew!" We put him into the litter box so he could do his thing. "Mew!" Okay, out of the litter box and onto a comfortable cushion to rest. And so on.
Sid, it turns out, was an excellent traveler. For his frequent vet visits, he happily adjusted to being smuggled out to the truck zipped inside one of our jackets, hidden from view of the motel manager. He calmly sat on the seat of the truck for the trips there and back without the slightest complaint. He really took it all exceptionally well.
Sid grew up to be a fine and happy cat, amazingly well-adjusted despite his early trauma. He mentored little Nancy when we found her, and taught her to not be afraid of people. His paw pads even looked normal. The only sign that he had ever been in a fire was that his little bobcat-style ear tufts, which he had as a kitten, never grew back.