The rescue stories I’d planned for this week just haven’t resolved, so please enjoy this story from…eek, 25 years ago! And an interesting perspective on what I didn’t know then, and what I’ve learned about rescue and socialization since then.
Sometimes, even though you’ve done your best to rescue kittens from a bad situation, you don’t succeed, and you never forget the ones you couldn’t catch. In this case I did manage to catch two out of five, and also have my left hand deeply punctured at the knuckle by a kitten who had no intention of being stuffed into a carrier. Every time I look at the scar on my hand, and every time I pass by that spot, I remember him and all those kittens and that night in 1994, and I’m glad I had the chance to rescue at least the two.
With today’s resources I could have done so much better, and every time I encounter another situation I am grateful for the others who rescue today and all the resources we have. This story was long enough that I wrote it in two parts, both linked here, and both linked to each other.
. . . . . . .
Part One: Kittens in the Night
The favorite dumping spot
One late evening in summer in 1995 I was driving home on a stretch of two-lane back road adjacent to a residential neighborhood near me. Suddenly in the shadows I saw what appeared to be leaves blowing around on the road and I slowed in automatic response.
The leaves slowed and regrouped and turned into a group of various-sized kittens before running to one side of the road and up a slight hill among the underbrush, one or two peeking back out at me. Tiny eyes reflected the fading daylight.
Oh, no, how am I going to catch them all? I thought.
. . . . . . .
Part Two: Getting to Know You
Initially, I called these two little bits Sugar, for the bigger guy with lots of white, and Spice, for the little guy with the rich ginger stripes. Though both hid completely when I was in the the room, not even breathing if they could help it, I could tell they were only traumatized by their experiences, and who could blame them? Tossed out from the security of their mother into the wilds of the woods and a paved road with regular traffic, we humans wildly trying to grab them probably instinctively seemed to them less like humans than like prey animals, then a wild storm. These two had lost everything they had known in about two days, and what their world had been replaced with was not at all familiar and totally frightening in its own.
. . . . . . . .
In 2013 we lost Smudge, the older kitten in this story—I grabbed him from this back road in 1995, and he had the chance to live 18 years with a wonderful person and several fur siblings. I’m so glad I took the time to rescue him and his fur brother Timmy; we can’t save them all, but we can give a better life to the ones we do save.
I originally published this story in April 2012 on The Creative Cat; then found more notes, information and vet records as well as photos to fill out this story and to write another about their socialization.
Read more of my stories from decades of rescuing and fostering cats, with a few from other rescuers mixed in: Rescue Stories.
Art and Gifts Featuring Cats You Know!
The sketch at the top of this post is titled “Big Game Hunter”, drawn in ink from a photograph in 1993. It’s one of the designs in the series of note cards called “Kitties Being Kitties”.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!
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