This is a true and revealing story from my past ————
While waiting for lunch at a restaurant with my husband, I glanced out the window with its panoramic view of the parking lot and two rusting dumpsters. An orange object in front of one of the dumpsters snagged my attention. Was it moving? Squinting one eye the mysterious object morphed into an orange kitten. Strange.
This was a business district, no houses in sight. I leaned back against the leatherette booth saying nothing about my discovery.
After we paid the check and headed for the car, I said nonchalantly, “Oh look there’s a kitten.”
“Leave it be. We are going to be late, if we don’t get a move on,” said my husband, Craig.
“The little guy could get run over. He’s too young to be street smart about cars,” I said as I walked toward the kitten.
“Carol, leave him alone. He’ll be fine.”
I ignored him. I was on a mission, as I often was when it came to homeless animals. My husband was well aware of my missionary zeal. Our house was already home to five cats and three dogs. All of whom had a background story poignant enough for a Disney movie.
“Give it up. It’s fine. It lives here.” By this time my husband was shouting across the parking lot. Restaurant patrons heading for their cars stared at him curiously.
Alas after allowing me to get tantalizingly close, the little fur ball ran and disappeared in a hole in the building foundation like Alice jumping down the rabbit hole.
Giving up I walked back to the car. Before my husband could completely compose his face into that safe neutral expression most successfully married people have perfected, I spotted smug relief.
However the dedicated determination of a genuine animal rescuer should never be underestimated. The next morning armed with a can of fish cat food I drove back to the restaurant. After I parked, I took a lay of the land to determine my best approach. Between the dumpsters and the building was a wall of dense shrubbery. The only way to get close enough to the hidey hole in the foundation was to crawl on my hands and knees peering under and through pesky branches, which of course is exactly what I did.
After waiting not so patiently about ten minutes a small blitz of orange popped into view. I gouged my fingers into the stinky fish cat food, extracted a tempting ball and lobbed it in the direction of the kitten. Without too much hesitation it took the bait. Speaking in soothing cat baby talk, I edged closer to my little buddy.
By this time I was on my belly under the evergreen branches. A mini army of blackberry stickers were assaulting me with their tiny sharp weapons. Abruptly my little prey scampered back into the hidey hole.
Another five minutes ticked by. I bolstered myself with rah rah talk, like one can’t expect instant success. Visions of Jane Goodall danced in my head. After another five minutes had elapsed, the kitten reemerged. I lobbed a second missile of succulent food. Without any tentative sniffing the kitten dove right in. I blinked and looked again. Hey, that wasn’t the same orange kitten. Before I had time to ponder that realization, a buff colored kitten sauntered into view. After an hour lying on my stomach I determined there were 5 kittens and a mother cat.
Five mornings in a row I persistently drove back to the restaurant. By now the kittens appeared to be waiting for me albeit at a distance. I did wonder at the time what the restaurant patrons thought, when they spied me lying in the underbrush near the dumpsters.
By this time I had decided to find homes for them. I named them Oliver, Buffy, Francis, Mr Grey Stripes and Priscilla. After the first morning I never saw the mother cat again.
When my week long effort proved unsuccessful, I called the Humane Society to obtain a cat trap. The Humane Society is a wonderful organization which I support with monthly checks. I don’t volunteer to work on the premises, because that would be tantamount to a drug addict volunteering to work in a pharmacy.
The first day day I trapped Buffy and subsequently three of the other kittens. Priscilla had disappeared like her mom. I wore gloves to remove them from the trap. Even though they were young, the babies were wild, scratching and biting with fright. All except for Oliver who was half the size and panting with every breath.
First order of business was to my vet’s office. Dear wee Oliver had heart worms. As he was gently put to sleep, I cried. Upon a physical examination Mr. Grey Stripes was renamed Miss Cora. My valiant vet treated them for eye infections and two of them for a non-infectious skin malady.
I ensconced the kittens in a large dog kennel with baby blankets, toys and food in our daylight basement. Next order of business was confessing to my husband what I had been doing every morning for the last two weeks.
Finally with a modicum of guilt I casually said at dinner, “Guess what? Remember that kitten from the restaurant. Well it turns out there was an entire litter. So without boring you with all the details, there are 4 feral kittens in a dog kennel in our basement.”
Have you seen cartoons where the character’s mouth is moving, but there is no sound? That’s probably the best description of my husband’s response.
As a postscript—–Those four kittens never did find their way into new homes, because I kept them. I should mention in my defense, we were living on 9 acres in a semi rural area.
Out of guilt while I was traveling back and forth I did make some delish things for breakfast. Luckily this didn’t active his alarm system to flash Red Alert, something is afoot.