September 20, 2014

Creeping sentimentality part 2: the kitten

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Not long ago, I described how I once loathed being in the vicinity of several children — that high volumes emitting from small statures was equivalent to a nightmare — but that has changed as I have gotten older and become an uncle.

That same sentimentality developed toward children seems to be expanding toward animals as well.

Last week, as temperatures were dipping into single digits, I was in my garage at night and heard a sound — “meow.”

Back in the day, I was never fond of cats. We had a few here and there when I was growing up, but with each claw scar, I liked them less.

I don’t trust cats. It’s probably their nocturnal nature combined with their hunting prowess. I respect their abilities to stalk prey during pitch black nights, which is why I would never want to fall asleep in a dark room where a cat is present and become said prey, waking up to lovable Fluffy pouncing at my face from atop a shelf with her claws bared.

It was cold that night when I heard the meow, though. Then there was another. And another.

“Ignore it,” I told myself.

“It’s probably used to it,” I thought, trying to justify leaving the hairball to fend for itself out in the cold.

I went into the house.

“Meow.”

I turned the TV up.

“Meow.”

Aaahhhh! Just stop! Please kitty, just stop with the sad meows!

“MEOW!”

The cries got louder and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t ignore them. I refused to look out the window, fearing I would see this frozen feline. The fire in the woodstove was getting low, but I didn’t dare go outside for an armful of wood. What if the cat saw me?

“Hey, human, it’s mighty cold out here, isn’t it? Thank God I have fur, it might put off my slow, cold, painful death another hour or so.”

Finally, the meowing stopped, but my mind didn’t.

Each thought had a happy ending. “The kitty found safety… Someone drove by and saw it and picked it up... It dug a hole in the stand of trees and used pine needles to build a little shelter… It’s under the porch. It’s always warm under the porch right?”

At least now I could refill the stove. I opened the front door to grab some wood from the wheelbarrow.

And there it was — a tiny little black and white kitten sitting on the snow-covered steps to the porch. It looked at me. I looked at it.

Curse you soft heart! Curse you!

So now the rescue effort was on. I grabbed an old towel and cardboard box and fashioned a kitty bed. There’s a small shed in the backyard, which I thought would be a warm-enough place for the cat to stay, as long as it had the warm bed. I coaxed it into the shed, and closed the door.

Five minutes later I was driving to the store, buying cat food.

The next morning I checked on it, seeing it spring from the box bed (it worked!) when I opened the door. It was alive. I was a hero.

So now, the big question — who wants a cat?

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