Tuesday, January 1, 2013

If I Can Save Just One....

Somebody save me,
Let your waters break right through, 
Somebody save me,
I don't care how you do it,
Just save, save me, 
Come on, 
I've been waiting for you.... 
("The theme from Smallville, Remy Zero)
I knew I shouldn't do it when I did it....

I knew it because, in the past, I'd been warned about it, I'd been scorned because of it, I'd been ridiculed because of it---and I had already done it once.

It began several weeks ago when I began to see a lonely, dirty cat.....foraging in people's trash cans for food.  I had never seen this cat before---it had just suddenly appeared in the neighborhood.  And I knew that a hungry cat was not a good situation.  Because why was it hungry?  Why was it foraging in trash cans?  Where was its owners?

And, as I watched this poor cat, I considered our own spoiled and pampered cats-- and my heart began hurting because I knew that nobody was spoiling and pampering this tragic stray.

So go ahead and kill me.....

I fed it.

Yes, I fed it.  It was perched up on top of a trash can and looked at me with a little fear as I approached it with a can of wet cat food.  I spooned the food on the ground and the cat jumped down and began gulping it down in an extremely quick and desperate fashion.  There was a dirty old flea collar around the cat's neck.  I wondered who had abandoned this cat.  I wanted to strangle whoever it was.  I vaguely remembered that I had seen a moving van in the neighborhood recently.  I wondered whether they had been the ones who had left the cat behind.

Perhaps they had moved to a place which would not allow pets and so they had abandoned this poor cat.....
I went home---but I watched.
Sure enough, the next day I saw it doing the same thing, looking for food in the trash cans, and I took it some food again.  I called it "Kitty" as I set a plate of dry cat food chow in front of it---and also some on our front porch.  And I called out "Kitty!  Kitty!" so it would know which house I lived in.  I wanted it to discover the bowl of food I'd left out for it.  And sure enough, it did.

And so it began.  The food would always disappear whenever I put some outside on the porch.
One cold day I saw it across the street in the grassy area between two houses.  I called out "Kitty!  Kitty!" and it came trotting over to me from across the street, knowing that I was putting food down for it.
It's a pretty cat under all the grime and dirt.  And it has a lot of Siamese characteristics in it as well as those of the plain old American Shorthair.  Its lovely almond-shaped blue eyes look at me with fatigue.  And it is as friendly as could be---and it has a very sweet and docile nature.  It loves for me to pet it and will purr and purr as I pay it loving attention. 
And, pretty soon, Blaine found out what I was doing and blew up at me.  But then, as I begged him to understand, his heart became entangled as well---and pretty soon he was leaving cat food out, too.  But he remained convinced that the cat indeed does have a home to go to and just comes to our house to get a "snack".
Then yesterday was New Year's Eve.  And it came with a worrisome weather forecast.  And for once the weather man got it right.  There would be a storm---with snow.  Lots of snow.  In fact, the weatherman said it would snow for an entire day.  And then there would be freezing temperatures for the next few days after that.
By this time, the cat was mostly staying on the back deck, maybe so it could look through the glass sliding doors at us.  But when Blaine and I realized it was going to snow all day our hearts began to break in earnest.

And so, as the first snow flakes began to fall, Blaine and I went outside and built the cat a snow shelter.  We cut a hole in a box for the door, I put a thick chair cushion on the floor, and we covered the shelter with towels to try and keep in the cat's body heat.  We also covered the towels with plastic trash bags for 2 reasons: One to keep the snow from wetting down the towels, and two to keep even more body heat in.  And we put plant pots down to anchor it all so that the wind wouldn't whip things away.

Kitty went into the shelter the minute it began snowing and we had finished building it.  As it curled up inside the shelter, I became positive it had been abandoned.  Because if it had a home to go to, then it would most certainly have gone home then to get warm, right?  But it stayed--which convinced me that it had no home to go to and needed us to help it survive the cold.

All day, as it snowed more and more, it would only come out to eat.  We had to take out fresh food and water often because if we left the bowls outside, the water would freeze and the food would get soggy and frozen from the snow.

It took us about 5 hours to make a decision.  I'm ashamed it took us that long.

And so we did it.
At about 11am, with about 3 inches of snow on the ground, we brought Kitty into the garage.  We put another soft, cushioned bed down.  We put food and water down.  And we put a litterbox a ways away from the bed and food area. 
And that's where Kitty is, now.  In the garage.  If it wasn't New Year's Day I'd take her to get a bath at PetSmart.  I know she'll be stunning when I get her cleaned up.  And then perhaps I can talk Blaine into letting her into the house with the rest of us.  He keeps saying that we need to first get her checked for diseases.  But the cost would be high for us right now, since I'm going into surgery on the 8th, a week from now, a surgery on my breasts which will cost nearly $10,000.  (By the way, I'm extremely nervous about having surgery---I just want to get it over with.)
Blaine still remains convinced that she has a home nearby.  I just don't know.  The last time I allowed my heart to cause me to save a cat was was when I brought Little Baby home from her birthplace in a bush on a street in the ghetto.  Most of you know of our late cat, Little Baby, who lived until she was nearly 19 years old.  I had taken a hiatus from blogging but began again when Little Baby died, as a way of coping with my feelings at the time.  (That post is here.)
We'll see what happens.....

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

(Matthew 25.35-40 ESV)


  1. She will be a stunning cat when cleaned up!!!

  2. Before I allowed it around your kitties I would have it tested for contagious dieseases and fleas. No kindness to the needy goes unnoticed or unanswered by God. You did the right and loving thing. Bless you two!

    1. Thank you, Sueb! That's what Blaine wants to do--have it tested before bringing it into the house. Hopefully we'll be able to do that in the next day or two so that it doesn't have to stay in the garage all by itself!

  3. I did the same thing 3 years ago and had the same scenerio principally: my beloved tom died, his twin showed up in Jan. when we were really cold and snowy in CT. She looked just like Moose who had gone over the Rainbow Bridge in late fall but it was a female. Finally found a nearby rescue group that would pay the vet bill for tests and neutering while I "fostered" her. Having 3 other cats in the house, I did not want any diseases coming in with her so she lived in the garage for a week. I was soon able to pay back the costs incurred and our foster is now our delight named Minnie Moose.

    1. I'm sorry your Tom died. But I'm glad you got a new sweet friend. I love her name! Blaine said the same thing about checking for diseases. So I'm going to take her to PetSmart today--for a bathj. Then I'm also going to get her in for an exam. Kitty is sweet and desires my frequent visiting of the garage so that she won't feel so lonely.

  4. She looks like a beautiful cat, a lovely lady fallen on hard times - I'm assuming it's a female? You and Blaine did the right thing, how could your heart *not* melt when you look at that face.
    Anne in MD

    1. Thank you, Anne. She is sweet--and you're right about her delightful face!