Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kitten Love


Life is a bit of a struggle these days as I run my gentle-lady’s farm by myself.  The grass keeps growing; the horses keep eating but can’t gorge down enough grass to begin to keep the pastures tidy.  I’m trying to be true to my truck patch engulfed in weeds, but writing, riding, mucking horse stalls, fixing fence, and dealing with other things that go wrong here on a daily basis is getting in the way of “putting up” my specialty garden produce such as salsa, spaghetti sauce, and sauerkraut.  But I’m trying as best I can and am adamant that all the summer work here won’t get the best of me.

            The other day as I was mowing around the horse pastures with the farm tractor,  I noticed something black amidst the sea of green.  What is that? I thought, shocked.  The mower continued to purr, slicing the stalks behind, and I stopped the tractor and squinted at the dark lump.  A black and white kitten, no larger than a Campbell soup can, lay there.    I jumped from the cab, leaned over the fence, and scooped the kitten into my arms.  He  looked up at me with pitiful, glassy eyes.  It’s backbone protruded.  I ran down the driveway, into the house, and set him on the kitchen counter, where he lay, looking drawn and disoriented.

            Always prepared for a kitten or wildlife emergency, I went to the freezer for the KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer), which had always come in handy for raising baby raccoons and abandoned kittens that people dumped at my door.  This kitten had been left just inside my horse pasture—in the hot sun.  Had I not noticed it, the poor soul would have died there overnight or been carried away by a night creature as a meal.  Thank goodness I had seen it.  In minutes the kitten was sucking frantically on the titty bottle I had had tucked away in the medicine cabinet.

            Afterwards, I wiped the kittie’s face, lay him on a blanket, readied a litter box, and walked back down the driveway to finish mowing.  And then I had a fleeting thought: There’s never one kitten in a litter.  Where’s the rest of them?  Dread washed over me: I couldn’t afford to add one more animal to my critter family until the divorce was settled.  What if more kittens needed my help?  How would I afford them?

            Before I got back into the tractor cab, I looked up and down the fence line on the inside of the split-rail fencing.  My guts sank: two more kittens curled together on a pile.  So, I ran them into the house, fed them, and lay them next to the other kitten. 
            As I continued with my mowing, I wondered who had planted those kittens in the pasture next to where I had been mowing.  Surely the culprit had seen me driving around, had noticed that as I drove I had to keep an eye on the fence-line so as not to hit it with my wheels or the finish mower behind.  Whoever the kitten dumper was knew that I’d be looking in that direction and would probably notice the black kitten-lumps amidst the green, like red rescue rafts amid the blue ocean. 

            And whoever left those kittens for me to raise had a decent heart—a soft spot for those babies, so vulnerable, so weak, so undeserving of death by drowning or being taken to a kill-shelter.  Whoever it was knew that I would sustain them and allow them life, even at my own expense.

            That afternoon as I was taking a break on my swing, a truck pulled into the driveway.  A man carrying a white plastic bucket stepped out.  He said, “I have something for you?”  I didn’t recognize him.  I stood up, went up to him, and he tilted the bucket for me to see inside: two more kittens.  I looked at the guy, cursed him—a total stranger.  After all, I wasn’t the local humane shelter, and now my kitten stash would add another five cats to my already burgeoning feline crew.  But I knew if I’d refuse them, he’d probably leave them somewhere to die an excruciating death.  So, I reached into the bucket and took them into the house.

            Over the past week, my five charges have thrived under my care.  In fact, two of the kittens found a good, loving indoor home, thanks to other good-hearted angel-people.  The other three remain with me and always will if I cannot find good homes for them. 

            No one—not any human or any creature—should suffer a life unloved or uncared for.  Existing without love is worse than having a leaky roof or little food.  No one should have to endure lovelessness.  I believe it is that concept that the owner of the kittens realized, and that realization prodded him or her to place them at my doorstep.  And my dear friend, Terri, who put out feelers to her relatives and to their friends realizes, too, that all creatures deserve love and a chance at life.  I am so grateful for having a wonderful friend like Terri in my life, one who cares and loves innocent creatures.  And I’m lucky to have met, through her, a whole team of good folks who came together to make good things happen for these kittens.

            Thank you, Terri and Steve, Brandy and Joe, and Christen and Ryan for caring about and carrying out this kitten adoption.  Your actions will not go unrewarded.  Those kittens will continue to entertain you and love you in return for many years.

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