Warning: This entry may not be suitable for sensitive readers.

I was nearly to work this morning, was wending the s-curves between the Lone Elder Store and Martin’s Town and Country furniture, when a cat ran out in front of my car.

As always happens in situations like this, time slowed. From the right of my peripheral vision, I spotted a blur of motion. I turned my head slightly and slowed the car from around 35mph to I-don’t-know-what. The blur resolved itself into a long and slender cat — orange and white with subtle striping, beautiful — racing at top speed at an oblique angle to the road. Into the road. I smashed the brakes, but even then I knew it was too late.

I hit the cat.

My car scraped over the top of the cat and a small something flew across my windshield. The cat made no sound. There was no hump or thump. No yowl. The car simply scraped over the top of the cat. My stomach fell. I felt momentary panic.

There was no traffic approaching me, and there was not traffic behind me, so I slowed to look for a place to pull over. (If it were my cat, I’d want somebody to do the same.)

Suddenly I was startled to see, in my side-view mirror, the cat — seemingly whole, but who can tell? — continuing to race away at top speed, across the road, leaping a ditch, and then dashing into the alpaca pasture. Surely it didn’t survive?

I didn’t stop. How could I find the animal now? I drove on, my stomach sickened, hoping that the cat’s people find it soon and take it to the vet just down the road.

Be well, little cat. Be well.

I haven’t hit many animals before, but it does happen from time-to-time, especially out in the country.

The biggest thing I ever hit was a dog. I was fifteen and had my learner’s permit. Mom and I were driving to Oregon City along back roads at dusk on an autumn evening. We came over a rise at moderate speed and a black lab ran out in front of the car. I didn’t even break — there was not time to react. “Should I stop?” I asked. “I don’t know,” Mom said, but I didn’t. I drove on, shaking.

On the drive to Costco today, I saw a more pleasant animal sight. A blackbird, glossy blue-black in the sun, had picked up a plastic produce bag — presumably for nesting material — and was attempting to walk with it, but it kept tripping over the bulky load and dropping it. Very funny. That bird probably thought he had hit the jackpot!

7 Replies to “The Cat Came Back?”

  1. Lee says:

    Wow, I’m sorry to hear that.

    I had a dachshund mix when I was younger, and I saw it get hit by a car. She just rolled under and with the wheels. She was stunned for a few minutes, had a mild concusion, and sore for a few days but no other physical damage.

    I bring this up because she was the same size as an average cat. The cat may have just rolled along, just like Sheba did.

    Wait, rereading your post…did the cat hit your windshield and rolled over the hood? Anyway, I think the cat will be fine. Shaken, perhaps, but if it was able to leap up and run away, then it will be okay.

  2. J.D. says:

    I’m not sure what came flying over the windshield. It was small and whitish. My initial impression — in the heat and panic of the moment — was that it was a jaw or an eyeball or something. In reality, it may have been a flower petal from the hood of my car. (It was covered with them.)

  3. Lynn says:

    I’ll share a happy animal moment – my dad has a new blue jay friend. This blue jay follows him in the yard hoping for peanuts, which is not terribly unusual. However, the same blue jay will follow him into the workship and bounce from fridge, to workbench, to cupboard, trying to get his attention. Dad swears it’s either the mother or the baby blue jay he saved from a roll of chicken wire last year. They’re quite a pair: my dad and his bluejay.

  4. Dave says:

    When I was in high school my dog got out of the back yard and decided that he was invulnerable to attacks by UPS trucks. Needless to say although my border collie was a smart dog he had a dismal grasp of basic physics in addition to an equally poor grasp of the basics of invulnerability.

    After the UPS truck hit him the driver apologized profusely and ultimately my dog was fine. However, from then on he could identify that particular UPS truck from up to a quarter of a mile away. It took us a while to figure out why he’d just go berserk at apparently random intervals. Then we realized that it was when the UPS truck would go by our road out on Barlow Road. And god help the UPS driver if he had a delivery at our house. But it was only that one truck and that one driver. Any other UPS truck or driver he’d leave well enough alone.

  5. J.D. says:

    Oh yeah: when we were getting ready this morning, one of the stupid flickers was rat-a-tat-a-tating on the house. Don’t drill our house, flicker!

  6. Cat says:

    When I first got my license, it seemed squirrels were forever running out in front of me. I managed not to hit any of them, but it became something of a running joke. So I did something silly. I bought a little vintage ceramic squirrel at an antique mall. It had what may have been a spot for a small flower, but I thought it looked like a perfect “offering” holder, and I filled it with a filbert, and put the thing on my mantle.

    I have never had a squirrel run in front of my vehicle since. Which, of course, proves that God is a squirrel. Er, Squirrel.

  7. sam says:

    I have read your sensitive entry and quite amazed by the way cat disappeared. How could it be possible that u hit a cat and no sound is produced. No yells. Thats strange!

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