This is a tale of a kitten left to die. The story starts in the winter of 2007.
My husband and I don't smoke in our house-we smoke out on our back deck. On a cold dark winter night my husband befriended a wild outside cat, tortoise-shelled in color. She was small and very leery of people, but she was hungry.
My husband spent a couple of weeks leaving her food by the stairs and waiting for her to come close. All her instincts told her to wait; soon the human would get cold and leave the food for the warmth of his house. As the weeks went on and the food came out every day, (sometimes cold cat food with warm milk, other times warm chicken and cold milk) her need for comfort and a warm belly had won her over.
As the days passed she would come to the porch and then run when we would bring out the food. She would return as we coaxed her back. She made sure to always head bump your hand; it was her way of saying 'thank you', before she ate. After a couple of months she no longer ran away when we came out of the door. She always ran towards the food bowl, and if we sat down and stayed still she would come and rub against our legs. Yet, her instinct still playing a strong role within her body, telling her not to trust us, she would rub and growl low in her chest. I tried to reassure her that her instincts were correct and that she shouldn't trust everyone, but we would do her no harm. We still didn't try to pet her just yet. We let her continue to come to us, growl low in her chest, and rub our legs. Soon she didn't just rub; she would jump in our laps and let us pet her, all the while still grumbling because every fiber in her body told her that she should run. Yet the history she had with us told her differently.
We started to wonder where she lived, where her shelter was, and why was she always at our house around 9:00pm.
Then came a bad snow storm, and she had not come back until the storm was over. When we followed her tracks, we found where she made her home. We discovered that the person living behind us had a hole in the skirting around her house. This is where our new-found friend called home. This was a relief to us to know that she had a place to stay warm in the cold of the night.
Winter soon turned to spring, spring turned into summer, summer to fall and then back to winter. Every night like clockwork came our visitor. She would sit with me on the back porch for as long as I would stay out there. In the cold, she would sit on my lap under a blanket and keep warm. Many a day I would find gifts of dead mice and small birds left on my back steps. So proud, her way of providing for our family and giving back. I would listen for her small squeak every night, and then I would bring out the allotted food for her, only to be scolded by my two cats when I came back inside. All they know is I am their human and how dare I share my affection with some rag-tag cat that had the audacity to shows up at their house. I continuously tried to reassure my cats over and over again that "SHE" has no one to make sure she is alright and that for one hour a night they could share me with her. I would tell them over and over that I loved them very much, but they needed to understand that they could share with her too, as she was alone and much needed someone too.
In the spring of 2009 my husband noticed she was gaining weight. I said,” I don't think she is gaining weight I think she is pregnant". At this time we decided that it was time to talk to our neighbor about the options that this cat would be facing. We had multiple conversations with her and discussed things that we could help do, but simply doing nothing and leaving the hole open should not be an option as it only insured that there would eventually be kittens under her house. With it being springtime and no kittens yet, now would be a good time to close the hole so that she can find a more suitable place to have her kittens. We also have a busy road very close by and that was also a concern of ours. Because it is springtime another option would be to wait until the kittens are born, let her raise them till they are 8 weeks old and then call the Animal Shelter to have her fixed, get them all shots and then have them adopt out the kittens. This cat wouldn't be an inside cat as she was too used to being outside.
Instead of any of those options being chosen, my neighbor's choice was to do nothing.
By the end of June of 2009, my friend the cat had given birth to 3 little black kittens and 2 orange tabbies. I beefed up the food when I realized she was pregnant so that she would have enough nutrients to help her through her time as an expectant mom, I beefed it up more when her babies were born so that she could nurse her babies and be sure that she stayed a healthy mother.
Mid summer, around the end of July mama-cat came up to the porch to visit. She was walking oddly and when I petted her I discovered that there was a huge lump on her back. I thought, how weird, that wasn't there yesterday, and her hind quarters were slanted to one side. I said to my husband," I think her back is broken". He said, "No, she is fine". I sat on the chair, but she couldn't jump up onto my lap. She tried but cried out, so I picked her up and sat with her for a while.
Over the space of the next three days she lost most of her ability to use her hind quarters while walking. When she tried to walk her back end would fall over.
I went to the neighbor again and said," Look I think the Mama cat has been hit by a car I am going to keep an eye on her". My Neighbors reply was," I don't have time for this, I have things going on here that I need to take care of". My reply was," That’s fine I just wanted you to know if you see me in your yard that is why I am here". She said,”Whatever" and walked away.
My son and I started bringing food and water down to her so she wouldn't have to drag herself out to go hunting to feed her kittens. The second day my husband and son went to bring food down when the neighbors sister saw them and yelled at them not to bring the food and stay off her sisters yard. When my son came home upset and told me I just about lost my mind not to mention could have gotten a disorderly conduct. I went down to the neighbor and asked her if she had a problem with us bringing the food. She said,”You obviously don't realize that I have problems here"! to which I replied,” No, you're wrong, it is obvious that something is going on down here that is why we offered to take absolute care of this cat that you allowed under your house by not taking the five minutes to seal up the hole. I offered not to just help her but to help you also"! She then yelled at me to get out of her house so I left.
I was so angry. How could someone let their 10-yr old daughter play with an animal and her kittens, yet not care that it was in the process of trying to keep the kittens alive and dying herself.
For about 3 to 4 days we didn't go down there. No food was set out for her and the only water she got was the rain water that collected in a bowl that I left down there. When she would drag herself out, I would be waiting on the property line with food for her. On the last day when she dragged herself up to me I noticed that from trying to survive and dragging her hind end all the fur and skin had been scraped off the tops of her back paws. Her bones were visible at this time.
I said enough. I knew at this time that there was no hope for my friend, but I also knew I could finish the job that she was trying to do with the kittens. I could get them all up to the Animal Shelter.
I grabbed a cat carrier. I went down there and grabbed the Mama and 4 of the 5 kittens. The last kitten, one of the orange tabbies, stayed under the house and I couldn't get it to come out from under her house. I tried to crawl under the house, the entire time I thought cops is damned, but I couldn't find the last baby. I only had until 6:00 pm to get them to the Animal Shelter and I wasn't going to let mama cat suffer another night.
I cried the entire drive to the shelter. My friend was in such bad shape, she had to be put to sleep that night.
I advised them of the situation between the kitten being left and my neighbor not wanting us down there. I informed them however that if I could get my hands on the last baby I would be bringing him up. They said ok.
I watched for the next 11 days no sign of him. The only thing for this kitten to survive on was that same bowl that collected rain water. Then on a cloudy evening I saw it. The fuzzy orange head I had been looking for. There were people on the neighbor's roof and people walking around, but, once again I said,” Let them call the cops on me for this"!
I snuck around the corner from where the opening was, shook the food I brought with me, put it down and got ready. Out popped an orange fuzzy head, I was not close enough and when I went to grab him he saw me and ran back within the hole. I thought to myself "crap". I waited once again, I got a little closer, and about 10 minutes later with the smell of the food out popped that little orange head. When I went to grab him he saw me again and "poof" he was gone.
My frustrations mounted and I said, “Come on Lord, help me out here. I know you wouldn't let me sit and watch this baby die". I leaned over and kept my hand real close to the opening as I sat and waited. Another 5 minutes went by when suddenly out popped that fuzzy orange head. Like a wild snake I struck. I grabbed him by his neck and before he knew it I had him in my arms. I pressed him close to me as he was struggling to get away.
I walked around the other side of my neighbors house where she was standing and said;” I have that last kitten you can close that hole now". Her reply was "Good, my daughter and I smelled something stinking over there and we thought it was dead". I was stunned. I wanted to shout at her. I wanted to smack her. I wanted to shake her until she could see how completely evil she was. Instead I just shook my head and kept myself calm for the kitten I had in my arms and went home.
Of course these things never happen at the right time, so by the time I got him it was 7:00pm. As the animal shelter was closed, this meant I would have to keep him in the house for the night.
I set him down in the house, and he ran right to my cats that hissed and took off to parts unknown. They weren't going to have anything to do with this orange puff ball that just came into their domain! He noticed the front of my stove, which is a black glass, and thought it was a place to hide. The next 20 minutes he spent running his head into it and scratching not understanding why he couldn't get in there. I kept saying,” It’s alright baby, you are safe here, it's all right", when suddenly he just stopped turned around and looked at me. He scrunched his face up and out came a big meow, that sounded amazingly close to MA, and came running crawled up the front of my shirt stuck his head under my chin and just clung there. That was it, I was toast.
We now have a third cat. I took him to the vet the next day instead of the Animal Shelter. Aside from being malnourished and a bit dehydrated, our new addition was clean and healthy. No fleas, no ear mites and no worms. The vet said that it might take up to three weeks to get his body weight where it should be but she believed he would be just fine.
So now our new addition needed a name. We call him Chase, for exactly that reason once his belly got full he chased everything. If you throw a toy or a scrunched he will go get it and bring it back.
Every morning I am greeted by a MA call, and he stands on his two back legs and reaches for me to pick him up like a baby. In the afternoons he searches me out, sits on my lap for 5 minutes, goes gets something to eat and then comes back and curls up on me for nap time. If he takes a nap that doesn't include me, when he wakes up he comes and finds me and needs about 10 minutes up in my arms to wake up.
My male cat is still none too fond of this little hell-yun. However my female cat has taken on a material role and waits until he is sleeping on me before she comes to clean him. If she tries when he is awake he thinks it is play time and attacks her.
We all have adjusted, and Chase lives here among my tribe.
Now we are not a rich family and we still have things to work out, like getting him neutered so my female doesn't get pregnant. But, I do believe that this will work itself out. I believe that the good Lord has sent him here, and I believe he will take care of all this in time also.
If you would like to see him in action, I have a My Space page with a video of him on there.
Thank you for reading this and remember blessings come in all sorts of packages, even fuzzy orange puffs sometimes!!!!!