Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Great Kitten Caper of 2009

Something about this time of year seems to suck me into adventures with stray kittens. Last year I wrote a post called The Great Kitten Caper. Now, here I go again.

Last week, Kristi was visiting from California. I stayed at my parents' house visiting with her until about 10:15 Wednesday night, then decided to go home the back way, down the country roads instead of the interstate highway. At a particularly lonely spot, I came perilously close to hitting a black and white kitten that was lying with the front part of his body actually in the roadway. He didn't move as my car zoomed by, so I figured he must be hurt--maybe had already been hit by a car.

I turned around and headed back, thinking that if he was okay he would have moved by now, but at least I would be sure. Even though this was a country road with no houses in sight, it was also a throughway from one side of town to the other and there was a good bit of traffic. And there he was, still lying in the same spot. I turned around again to be on the same side of the road with him and pulled the car over right behind him to shield him from other vehicles.

At this point, of course, he could move just fine--and headed straight under my car. So there I was, now in danger myself because a steep bank kept me from pulling far enough off the road, with a kitten under my car.

I got out of the car and was trying to coax him out when I heard more kitten-squealing from behind me, and two more came out of the tall grass. Here's the odd part. (Well, one of the odd parts.) I was sure that the kittens had been abandoned here, because as I said before, there were no houses or businesses close by. But the first kitten didn't seem to have any relation to the other two. The one I pulled over for was very small, emaciated, and terrified. These two appeared to be about four months old, were wearing flea collars, and were extremely friendly. They were literally trying to climb my legs, they wanted my help so badly. I opened the car door and they promptly jumped into my car! I put them back out of the car, trying to think, and they joined the first kitten underneath it.

About this time, a deputy sheriff pulled up, lights flashing, and asked if I needed help. I think I started to babble like an idiot about kittens under my car. I figured he was about to scold me for being in the way of traffic or something, but instead, he got out of the car, blocked traffic, and helped me round up the first two kittens. By this time, I had decided to put them back in the car and get away from the side of the road and try to figure it out from there.

This left the scrawny, starved little one that I pulled over for in the first place. The kitty led the deputy and me on a merry chase from one side of my car to the other, then finally crossed the road, ran up a bank and into the field. I guess this was the deputy's last straw. He more or less told me it was over and that I should move along, so I did. Next, I did what any mature, responsible woman would do. I called my mommy and asked if I could bring the kittens to her.

My wonderful, compassionate mother lives on eleven acres of wooded land and has been taking in strays since I can remember. So she took in Fred and George, too. (That's what Kristi named them. If you've read any Harry Potter, you'll understand.)

My mother also fretted over the one that got away and asked Kristi and me to go back and look for it the next day. I figured we would never find it again, but the minute we pulled over and called "Kitty, kitty," it started squealing and came out. It was obviously starving and would dart toward us to get food but we couldn't catch it. I left more depressed than when I started, figuring I would have to make the drive out to the middle of nowhere every day to feed the ornery little cuss, because I couldn't leave it to starve.

But next day, I was better prepared. I had an upturned cat carrier in the floorboard of my car, with the door wide open. I draped a towel around my neck and took some nice smelly fish with me when I called the cat. He was so enraptured with the fried fish that he didn't notice when I slipped the towel from around my neck and dropped it over him.

He noticed then, though. I grabbed him up, completely wrapped in the towel, and you never heard such snarling and growling from such a little package. I'm sure in cat language it was very, very bad.

I've also never seen such a little package eat so much. When we got to my mother's he ate tuna fish, drank milk, and then found the other cats' food and polished that off.

This would be a great story even if this were the ending. But it's not. My mother, who has not had a stray cat show up in her yard for several years, called me a few hours later and told me that she had just looked out the window and seen two additional kittens in the yard. Can you believe that! I dump three stray kittens on her and on the SAME DAY, two more show up!

Today, a colleague at the library said she might have seen a stray kitten outside. I turned and ran the other way.


  1. They know where to find you, Robin. I think kittens are a little like used car salesmen. They know who the suckers are. Just kidding. It's a wonderful thing to do, and that poor little thing was really suffering. Have you seen him anymore? Is he hanging around gramma's house a lot?

  2. So cute, Robin! I couldn't help laughing out loud! First at the cop and then at how you were afraid you were going to have to back and feed the little cuss every day!!!
    I once rescued a starving kitty. That was a long time ago.

  3. Our town is out in the country, and I hear that a lot of people form the Kansas City suburbs will dump their no-longer-wanted cats and dogs out in the country, thinking they'll be fine. It's so sad.

    So you made me happy, Robin, even though I'm not an animal person. I don't think I could have slept if you hadn't found that poor starving kitten.