Last Sunday, we were out for a country drive - enjoying one of those golden late summer afternoons. The white SUV that pulled out in front of us had only just got up to cruising speed on the 55 mph road when a bundle of fur fell out from under the truck and tumbled sickeningly onto the road. We quickly sussed that it was a kitten that had fallen from the engine block of the moving car.
Without hesitation, D instructed me to turn our car around to see if the little thing was injured. It was - staggering is the only word for it - off the road as we spotted it again. It sought the safety of a hedge and we could see it was shaking and bleeding a little from its mouth.
D let the people who lived behind the hedge know why we were crouched on the edge of their property. A woman came out and instructed her son to get an old cat bed they had on hand. He set the scared little thing into the bed and they agreed to look after it and see how it fared overnight.
Upset about the fate of the kitten, but not really knowing what else could be done, we headed off. I was so out of sorts I didn't even think to take the woman's phone number. Arriving home that evening, I was really disturbed. I was grateful that family agreed to take on the little kitten. I was worried it might not make it if it had internal injuries - and I was frankly glad that I wouldn't have to endure the heartache that I would have felt in that case if we had taken it home. But we had essentially saddled this family with the same burden.
Then I thought of all of the emergency response personnel, the doctors and nurses, the hospice workers that deal with these issues to assist human beings every day. I don't have the emotional fortitude to do what they do - and admire those that are there for us all in our hours of need.
Back to the kitten though. By Wednesday evening I couldn't contain my curiosity about the fate of the little thing, so we drove back out to the home that had taken it in. Prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best, we approached the front door. The lady saw us coming and told her son, "It's the cat people!" then she turned to us and fairly shouted, "It's alive!"
Alive and doing very well. It's an adorable thing. Tiny - probably only 6 to 8 weeks old. But it was amazing - if I hadn't seen that horrible fall onto the road, I wouldn't have believed the kitten had been subjected to that trauma. The lady's two sons had quite clearly fallen in love. The older one is a stoutly built young man of about 20. If I saw him on the street, my snap judgment would be that he looked a bit of a thug. Shame on me - you know what they say about books and covers. But he's a complete softy and this little kitten has completely stolen his heart. He played with it, slept with it, and generally functioned as the kitten's giant jungle gym. They've dubbed the wee thing Miracle. And as D said when we found out, the fact that it has not only survived but appears to be fine pretty much made my week. I still smile every time I think of it.
But here's the heartbreaking part - the family rents their home and the landlord won't let them keep the cat. The younger son - a quiet lad of maybe 14 - was apparently so upset when he found out that he was nearly in tears.
Not wanting to let the kitten be abandoned to a feral country life at such a tender young age, and informed that the local humane society is likely to simply euthanize it, we offered to help the woman find a no-kill shelter to take the kitten in. I've contacted Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, from whom we adopted our cats a few years ago. I've offered to sponsor the kitten with a donation, and I really hope they find room in one of their foster homes to give it a chance to be adopted.
Fingers crossed they do, because it's a brilliant cat - sociable and funny - and who could resist this face?