We Rescued a Cat!

It's just the kind of thing we do...

And the kind of "coincidence" that tends to happen around here.

She asked for a rabbit.  I said no.  She begged.  She pleaded.  I said no.

We have been through this pet thing before, and I know where it always lands.  And the thing about me is...I am NOT a good pet person.  I have little patience enough to begin with, add in the kids, and there is absolutely NO ROOM left for a pet.

She kept at it.  She persisted.  So did I.

She decided she would rather have a sloth.

I found a french angora that would provide me with wool, and she named it Sloth.  (Guess who is, now, the sole provider for Sloth...he is fortunate he is one of the few productive pets I am determined to keep.)

She wanted a kitten.  "You don't even take care of Sloth.  Why would I get you a kitten?!"

"You won't let him stay in my room."

"Rabbit poop."

She sends me pictures of kittens.


Unrelated, Matt chimes in, regarding the wild rabbits and our garden.  "What we need is a 'mouser.' "

"Oh...my...God!" (I am so sorry.  I struggle sometimes to control my tongue.  I have since repented of that profanity.)  "We are NOT GETTING A CAT!"

"Oh, I know.  I don't really want one."

Mmmmmhhhhmmmm. Sigh.  Big, exhausted sigh.

10 pm phone call..."Oh my goodness, MOM!  I found a wild kitten."

Why, I plead you to answer, does it all always have to happen when I am settled so snug in my bed?  And who, on earth, thought it was a good idea to put ME, Kristen, in charge, anyway?!

But I went out to see him, and he was the cutest little thing.  So desperate.  So damaged.  How could I not help the poor guy?!

We comforted him.  We gave him tuna and rabbit food.  (It's all we had!...listen she found him, skin and bones, eating roadkill on the side of the road.  ANYTHING was an improvement on his current situation!)

He snuggled her.  He was wounded and terrified...and grateful.  (And beautiful!  Long gray hair, so soft and tantalizing.)  But the first thing I really noticed were his eyes.  "I think he's cross-eyed."  That's when I knew I loved him.  I did not, of course, admit it for some time.

I was convinced, then, that he was a girl.  He was too sweet to be otherwise.  (It is not gender bias, people.  I don't translate that assessment to the human world, but...well, with animals, I believe it is common knowledge that the males are always more of a pain.  Therefore, we could only possibly keep him if he were a she.)

Our first goal was to keep him safe through the night.  We left him in our garage, a choice that quickly became a bit of a regret.  He is the best hider in the world!  We lost him at one point for approximately 3 hours.  We searched everywhere.  There can not possibly be that many hiding places in our garage.

In related news, I was stuck in all day (not a good thing for a restless kind of gal!), because we were afraid 1) he had crawled up into my car and I might kill him trying to back out 2) if he wasn't stuck up in my car, he might flee if we opened the garage.

Fortunately, Xander figured out there was a small space under our shelf that was backed up against a slightly open nook.  She had checked the nook multiple times, but neither of us thought the shelf had an opening underneath, since it was blocked off to the bottom in front.  Xander was able to maneuver her way into the nook and coax the little guy out of his hiding spot.  I wanted to name him Will, because...well...Stranger Things.  Thus, began a long and complicated process of trying to get 6 people to agree on a name for this cat I had yet to decide to keep.

Xander kept coming up with anime (hey...didn't we call it Japanimation?!) names none of the rest of us liked.  We all came up with common names she didn't like.

Our next goal was to get him to a vet to check him over and examine those terrible wounds.

Fortunately, I make friends.  Lots and lots of friends.  I just happened to meet a phenomenal vet this year.  (Another coincidence?  I think not.)  I drove half an hour out of the way just to go to this specific vet.  (He has been practicing since I was born, and I am not exactly a spring chick...)  He is kind and genuine, and I will drive extra just for that.  Plus, I have his number.  He texts...AND he got us in almost immediately.

The kitten sliced his finger open.

I overlooked this personality flaw, considering the vet was quite rough and the cat so obviously traumatized.  The worst the little guy had given the rest of us, who were more gentle in handling him, was a hiss or two.  Even the vet blamed himself as he pulled large, healthy tics off the poor wounded creature.  He weighed him at 1.5 pounds and 6 weeks old, though he suspected the kitten was older, as he pointed out his emaciated condition.  He tested for and cleared him of leukemia.  He gave him an antibiotic for...well...EVERYTHING.  (The cat, by the way, didn't flinch - or lash out - at the needle.)  Doc cleaned cat's wounds and sent us home with high quality food, dewormer, plenty of instructions and a wise caution, "He is definitely NOT out of the woods, just yet."

Had we not caught him, the cat would have been dead in a day or two, for sure.  At this point, his survival still  remained uncertain.  Would he eat?  Would he drink?  Would he recover from trauma to be safe enough to keep?

Turns out, he thrived.  I have never met a sweeter animal.  I think he is grateful.  We slowly introduced him to different rooms in the house.  For the first few days, he stayed shut up safe in Xander's room.  Then, we would shut him in our room.

You guys...for real.  This cat is so appreciative of us...he jumps up in my face and just rubs his nose on me.

For the first few days, he wouldn't even play.  Everything scared him.   Now, he is comfortable with all of us, and he rarely hides.  I caught him lying on my bed watching Evan play the other day.  He rubs up against Evan and cuddles him.  He even spent all day in the boys' room by choice, and they are certainly not quiet and gentle.  He does still hide from new people, and he is still a bit skittish, but he has sure come a long way!  He even plays with toys now.

And he has a name!  We all agree.  He is Oswald.  💕  How could I not love such a sweet, little, appreciative, snuggly, guy with a back-story like this.  He won my empathetic, loving, rescuer heart.

It's interesting.  Xander told me the story of how she chased him down.  (She didn't catch him the first time.  She actually came back a second time.)  She ran him down all the way to an abandoned building, where she was able to corner him.  He didn't lash out at her.  She said he went limp in her hands...like he didn't have any more energy to fight.  He had obviously fought hard before...those scars!

But look how they've healed!

Funny that he was fighting his own salvation this time, but isn't that just like us?  I know how I get when I am frightened and cornered...man, this girl's still got some fight in her...and sometimes I focus my fire in the totally wrong direction.  (Of course, he is quick to call me out on it.  My husband is NOT an enabler. 😉)  So, I think this is why a cat has won my heart.  I get it.  I was damaged once, too...a total train wreck of a hot mess.  And I just needed to know I was safe and loved...passionately, loyally, faithfully...loved.  I am so grateful I have that now, but I still have scars that remind me of what it was like when I didn't (or at least when I couldn't feel that I did)...and that makes my heart burst with love for the wounded.  Apparently...cats included.