Long ago, when I was young and pretty stupid about the circle of life of farm animals I was given an important piece of advice, hard as it was to take. I was trying to raise four bummer lambs. They were the cutest fuzzy critters. Right up until the time one, two, three, four; all got the scours.
For those who don’t know what the scours are, think mustard coming out of the business end of four bummer lambs, all at once. One got really sick and a rancher friend that was visiting from Spring Valley south of Ely, gruffly said to me, “Trina, some of ‘em make it and some of ‘em don’t.” Well I showed him—all four of my “babies” made it.
Since that day I have lost my fair share of animals. Dogs, cats, kittens, goose, sheep… But I am here to tell you about a kitten—that died.
I told you about the advice I got, to tell you how I deal with dead animals. Big ones are buried. Tiny kittens are wrapped up and put in the dumpster. Usually weighing less than 4 ounces they are given as much respect as our 163 pound Newfoundland that passed away and was buried in our designated pet cemetery spot. But they are still wrapped up and put in the dumpster.
So about this one dead kitten. My other half found three little kittens living under a lilac bush and the momma cat had not returned to them in more than a few days, (no they were not the three little kitten who had lost their mittens…) They were three blue eyed about 4 week old kittens. One black and two gray tabby.
Immediately they were on my radar to raise. But I decided to wait a few more days to make sure the momma was not coming back. The first night the black one died and I took care of it as noted above. Then I put out a box so the two left would have a warm place, placing the box under the lilac bush, in case the momma came back.
The next night the second one, the smaller of the two tabbies died and I took care of it as noted above. That left one. So I moved kitten, box and the bowl of food that I had by that time put out, over next to our house where we always have 6 or more cats hanging out. (I hate mice so there is always room for one more!) It was mid-September, the days were warm but the nights were a bit more than cool so I hoped our local cats would take care of the newbie.
I tucked the tiny 4 ounce thing in the box that evening and went to bed. Sadly the next morning the box was empty. I called, knowing that the kitten didn’t even know it was a kitten and probably didn’t know the difference between me hollering kitty, kitty or hollering scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs! But I called and looked around. I even went over to the lilac bush thinking that the momma came back, gathered up her youngster and went home. No cats were there. I looked in the cat house, the dog house, the box again… Then I saw it. Crouched along the steps to the deck-dead. I picked up the tiny thing and it was cold as an ice cube, blue eyes rolled back and little tongue hanging out the side of its tiny mouth showing tiny white teeth that would never devour a can of Friskies salmon and beef in gravy.
So I took care of if, as noted above. It was about 9 a.m.
Later in the day I took out the household trash. It turned out to be a warm fall day. I drag the garbage bag to the dumpster and make quite a noise doing it. As I got ready to throw the bag in the dark green dumpster I heard a noise and I stopped. Again I heard the noise. A very faint meek meeew. Oh great I thought, another orphaned kitten. I looked around and heard it again—coming from the bottom of the dumpster. Yes the dumpster! The bottom, where the bag was with the dead kitten in it. I said, kitty and I waited to see if I was in the Twilight Zone.
The bag moved just the tiniest bit. So I went head first dumpster diving and retrieved the bag. Opened it and there she was, cold as ice but as alive as you or me! I cross my heart that kitten was dead, frozen dead, no life! How could this be?
Stunned I took the quivering thing inside to my other half. We warmed her, marveled at her, and cried over her. It was amazing.
But—As we already have two inside cats we debated what to do with this one in a million newly named kitten, “Happy.” We couldn’t put her back outside! So now our Christmas miracle “outside” cat lives inside.
Apparently He decided we needed one more in our family. Who are we to argue with that decision or the way it was presented to us? Merry Christmas miracles to you and your family and friends.
Trina lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS is on Kindle. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.