Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Cry From the Underbrush

Sometime Thursday night, I heard a plaintive feline cry of distress. I was at my regular nighttime perch on the porch, enjoying that magical combination of nicotine and caffeine. I thought I heard a cat or a kitten crying. So did my fine beastie, Adam, who remains alert for all critters great and small.

But we live in a fairly noisy neighborhood, what with a baseball field and dog park across the street, a hospital a block away, and a large intersection about 100 feet away. Plus, about five different bus routes pass by the intersection. Here in So-So Cal, we use natural-gas-powered buses, which though they may be green, are loud enough to sound like a slice of the apocalypse as they roll by.

I heard the cat-noise a few times Thursday night, but it just was too loud to hear much more. On Friday morning, during a lull in traffic, I heard it again. So did Adam, who pointed his nose down (we live on the third floor) at the underbrush outside our complex. I heard it again Friday afternoon, and my girlfriend and I went exploring. We left Adam inside and explored the underbrush. The cat-critter quit making noise and we couldn't find it. After an hour of looking, we went back inside and decided to go to dinner. When we came home, we both distinctly heard the kitty distress call again. This time with dog in hand (so to speak), we stomped through the underbrush and located the little noisemaker.

It was a tiny abandoned kitten, about four inches long, with one eye cracked open. He/she/it was lying in a nest under a bush, under about one foot of thick underbrush. There was no sign of any other cat. It was lying on damp ground. Our complex has automatic sprinkles everything, and all the brush there stays moist. When I picked him/her up, it mewled and tried to push itself up on me to warm up.

I went to PetSmart and got some fake milk and a bottle to nurse it. My girl kept it warm. We fed the little beast. We were up most of the night, trying to keep it fed, keep it warm, and teach it urinate - which is something most folks don't know about rescuing kittens, I assure you. When we did sleep, my girl held the kitten on her chest to keep it warm. Early on Saturday afternoon, after a long morning of feeding, not sleeping, and washing damp shirts (figure it out) and bedclothes, I took the kitten back to the same PetSmart to meet with an adoption agent.

Before any real discussions were held, I met a mother and daughter, Joanie and Kimberly (hope I got the spelling right!), who took in rescued kittens. They looked her over, declared her a her, and said she was really healthy. Better than that, they said they had a mama cat who was nursing a litter around the kitten's age. She was a good mom, apparently, and they thought she'd take in the orphan.

This was exactly the situation we were hoping for. In fact, it was the perfect situation. It was someone who knew how to take care of the orphan, wanted to do it, and would be able to try to give the orphan a new family.

I'm allergic to cats - badly allergic. Just sleeping in the same bed with one caused me to wake with my eyes swollen, barely able to breathe. A scratch from a cat's claw makes me swell up. Just being around them little beasts makes it impossible for me to breathe or see. We spent about $20 on rescue food and supplies. We gave up a night's sleep, my girlfriend gave up a night's worth of work, and we turned our weekend around to take care of the little beastie.

It was all worth it - every bit of it. Though we couldn't keep the kitten and knew it, we knew it was something that had to be done. When something can't take care of itself, you might need to do it for them.

That picture of my dog on this page is Adam, who helped us find the little critter. He's the background I use on my Twitter page, for those who have seen it. About six years ago, I rescued him from the rain. I didn't have the time, energy, interest, or money in keeping a dog. But I did. Considering the joy he's brought me over the years, I can tell you it's always going to be worth it. Now I just hope that the little black-furred beastie will provide joy for a family of its own.


  1. And your karmic teeter-totter just got a little more balanced, nicely offsetting that time that you and I went and...

    Well, let's just wait for the Statute Of Limitations to run out, shall we?

  2. Ah, yes...the fine old days when it wasn't a proper weekend without a visit from the bomb squad or someone asking, "How long until we can admit to this?" (And then someone answers, "Ten to fifteen years, I think...")

    So you suppose every kitty I save helps balance out every redneck's face I bashed in? 'Cause I might went an advance on my karma account...

  3. Karmically, the exact equation is:

    1 Kitty = 6.4 Redneck faces

    I can explain any other advance Karmic algebra if needed.

  4. Then according to your Karmic math, I need to save another 8.8 kitties to balance out...1995. Crap. May have to come up with another way.

    Any idea how many redneck faces a drowning child is worth?