Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Story About a Kitten

Last week, Earl had some days off and he decided to go on a long bike ride. He drove east of the city and got on a rural bike path.
After six miles or so, he saw a kitten sitting on the asphalt path. It stayed there, close to the body of another cat -- maybe its sibling, maybe its mother. The other cat was clearly dead, and Earl moved him off the path. Rigor mortis had set in, yet the loyal kitten remained there beside his dead comrade.
Earl stopped to pet the kitten and fed it a blueberry cereal bar he carried in his bag. Then he crumbled up some crackers for the cat.
I know our cats would have turned up their nose at those offers of food, but this kitten hungrily ate all of it.

After sending me a picture, Earl continued on his bike journey. I forwarded the pictures to Grace and told her the story. She immediately began sending texts asking her dad to save the kitten.
At the end of the trail, Earl took a break before riding back, and when he returned to his bike, he had a flat tire. So, he called and asked if I'd drive down to pick him up.
Once I retrieved him, the two of us agreed that we'd stop and see if the kitten remained on the bike trail. "There's no way he'll be there," Earl predicted.
But we pulled off at a place near where he thought the kitten had been. We walked, not very far down the trail, and a little gray kitten ran after bikes as they passed before giving up. "I can't believe he's still here."
Earl picked him up -- so small he could sit in a hand. The kitten didn't like being carried, but Earl put him inside his coat. He wouldn't last on the bike trail near a farm field. Coyotes,  hawks, buzzards,  owls. A number of predators would find him a tasty meal.
So we took him home.

Grace took him to the vet after work. The vet said he was 6-7 weeks old. He got antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection, medicine for an eye infection, spray for ear mites and a deworming. Plus he passed a feline leukemia test.
This picture is hilarious. The kitten looks like he was photoshopped in,
but he really just sat there on Earl's shoulder and stared at the camera. 
He was so sick the first few days that I got fooled into thinking he was just a well-behaved kitten, but he feels better now and spends his time getting into mischief.
I don't think this kitten will be ours though. We're carefully trying to integrate him into the household, but the older cats are not fond of him. They hiss at him and swipe at him. We keep him in a crate at night and whenever we leave the house. We've tried all the techniques that I read about online to introduce the cats to each other, but the older cats are still resistant.
I don't want to throw the older cats away, forcing them to hide in the basement or outside to avoid the kitten.
Also, we haven't been able to decide on a name, which I feel like is a sign that he shouldn't stay. Grace wants to call him Oscar Wilde, since he was wild. We almost all agreed on the name Loki, but Earl vetoed it. He didn't like that Loki was evil. In Norse mythology, Loki is a trickster, but apparently in the Avenger movies, Loke is a bad guy. Sometimes Earl calls him Donald because his hair sticks up like Donald Trump's.

One of the main reasons I don't think he'll be with us long is that I'm not quite ready to take care of someone again. Just last year, our youngest child went away to college and I achieved a sense of freedom. But the kids have moved in and out, as I imagine they will for a few years yet until we move to France.
With the kitten, I'm cleaning his litter pan, carrying it downstairs to the other litter pan and cleaning it too. I have to be careful about putting the food up so he can't reach it. Keeping him off the counter, off the table, away from the other cats. When I try to write in the morning  he attacks my feet so I spend more time evading him than I do writing.
Kittens are still a lot of work.
But they sure are cute.


Just Me said...

Oh my goodness, cute cute cute and that my friend is how they get you. I love that picture of him on Earl, seems like his personality shows through. I understand what you mean about taking care of another being too. Have fun while you sort it out.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I'm so happy you guys rescued the adorable kitty and hope he finds a family home.

Lucia said...

I like the name GRAYSON...he's so sweet

grammajudyb said...

Cute, but I agree. If you older cats don't tolerate him, it is going to be a struggle. Good Luck.

Unknown said...

The picture with Earl is adorable! I completely understand about the work involved. Our cats are getting older and I just don't want to take care of cats again. I love them, but they are a commitment.

Esme said...

The photo of him with Earl is adorable. It takes time to introduce a new cat into the home. Have you tried feeding them together. We introduced a dog into our cat's life this summer.-just like you found her running down the street.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Love the photo of the kitten and Earl. He does look like he belongs but totally understand the total commitment to looking after kittens. Lucky little kitten to be rescued by a caring person/family.

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