A Life for a Life

Meet my captive.

For logistical purposes, I’ve dubbed him a boy, something I could confirm more definitely were I not aptly terrified that he might lunge at my face after all the hissing and spitting he’s been doing every time I refresh his food and water. (Don’t let the sweet face fool you: he’s feral, frightened by the meddlesome human who orchestrated his confinement, and prepared to defend himself by whatever means necessary.) Why do I have a wild kitten in my garage, you ask? It all started about a week ago, when I spotted a mother calico and her three babies lounging underneath my car. Kittens and cars, which provide a plethora of cozy nooks and cubbies to hide in when you’re scared, spell incipient disaster. On Saturday we found the family underneath my husband’s car as we headed out for the movies. Mom and her orange tabby fled underneath the neighbor’s fence, but this ebony precious above scrambled into the engine compartment, where we could see his eyes locked on us in panic when we opened the hood. After ten minutes of slamming doors and attempting to flush him out with a broomstick, we decided to take the other car. As we cut the wheel out into the street, the orange tabby was scrambling at the foot of our driveway on his two front paws, both back legs paralyzed, presumably by a spinal cord injury. He must have skittered back under the fence and climbed into some recess of my car, startled by all the banging. He died on the way to the veterinary ER: a wholly gut-wrenching accident.

Later that night, we bought a safe-trap to lure the live kitten out of the mechanical innards of my husband’s car because, well, one dead kitten is already too many in a lifetime. When I woke up Sunday morning, he was nestled inside with a belly full of bait and an empty food dish. After a bevy of frustrating phone calls, I ultimately locked into a whole underground network of cat-rescue folks, and managed to place the little guy in a home equipped to do the work of socializing him: one life spared to redeem an innocent life lost.

Our efforts to trap the mother have proven even more maddening (and decidedly less successful) than the quest to find homes for her kittens. She’s a veritable Houdini and has managed to eat the food inside the traps without triggering them, so I have a date in the morning to borrow a different kind of trap from one member of the aforementioned network, and I found a no-kill shelter that offers a spay/neuter clinic for a nominal fee. Capturing her is critical, as is nabbing the last remaining kitten, also a calico and necessarily female (i.e. future baby-factory). The whole process has really been rather worrisome, but my tenacity has always served me well.

19 thoughts on “A Life for a Life

  1. Sounds brutal. Your persistence and ingenuity are admirable. I’ve never had that experience or anything close. On the other hand, if you’d like to talk about skunks …

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  2. Aw he is so sweet. I have a kitty that looks just like him. Black cats are the sweetest.
    Now I wonder where my sweet Little Boyfriend is. Lol. That’s his name because I’m in love with him. My husband thinks I’m crazy.
    Do you think you’ll keep him? I think you need a Little Boyfriend, too 😻

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    • I actually really love cats – grew up with 3 of them – but I’m pretty allergic. I lived with it for years (post-nasal drip as a way of life) after I met my husband because he had a cat, but to commit to that deliberately now that she’s gone is silly. He’s moving to a loving home tomorrow, and so will his sister if I can get my hands on her.

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  3. Oh, he is so cute. I’m glad you’ve found a way to get things worked out for him. Hope you’re able to catch the mom and other kitten. It sounds like you’ve done everything possible to help them.

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  4. Oh that breaks my heart! I had a cat who had kittens and lost an orange kitten (my mom accidentally stepped on him) and after days of trying to nurse him back to health, I lost him. I was SO angry at my parents for not spending the money to take him to the vet, and so haunted by the whole ordeal, that I became a vegetarian and refused to eat meat for months, mostly as a punishment to my parents. It worked. I’m sure my mom wished she’d spent the money on the vet instead of boca burgers. Bless your heart ❤ XOXO

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  5. Best luck, hon. My Oma had a gift with feral cats. She always managed to get them inside and get them fixed. It’s hard work though! I’m so sorry to hear about the other kitten, though. I hope the calico cooperates.

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    • Don’t be sorry. Bad day. Expressed myself. Lost a few followers. Felt over-exposed and pared back the blog significantly as I face the long and complicated slog that lies ahead.

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  6. I, too, noticed that your most recent post was deleted. I had come back to your blog to read it again as each resonated so strongly with me. I’ve been quietly following your journey, which has paralleled mine in many ways, and has ended in a similar place.Why a reader would unfollow you is befuddling. No humane culture leaves their women unattended in such painful times as ours. May you find solace wherever you land on this path. With peace and love.

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  7. Hi sweetheart. Just stopping in to see if I’ve missed an update. I completely understand editing & deleting old posts. I’ve deleted entire blogs that I’m sure no one has even read. It’s hard to be public, even when we are so anonymous.

    I hope your school year is going well. I hope your days are getting less painful. I hope you are indulging in the good things in life–spas, wine, good times with your man. I hope the family dramas have been swept under the rug and are not taking up room in your head (I vacillate between being super angry with my mom & not fucking caring at all. For me, I notice when I don’t fucking care about her abusive was, I’m usually happy. But when I’m fucking angry there is no fucking stopping it.)
    just know I’m out there, praying and wishing and hoping the best for you. Xoxoxo
    And thank you so much, for your gorgeous writing. I wish I didn’t relate to it like I do. I wish there’d be a happy ending. But for now, I’m right there with you, girl. And I must say I’m appalled you lost followers. Wth? Kisses. LDM

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    • Hi LDM, things are actually good with my mom. She showed up in a way that was sort of shocking after the loss of the baby. I know better than to have unrealistic expectations of her, but it’s nice to be in this place with her now, and I value and accept it for what it is. It’s my MIL who has been a complete piece of shit, but we don’t speak, so it’s not at the forefront now. AFM, I am…kind of a mess. I don’t want to write because I don’t know where I am or what I think; I only know that this thing is crushing me, but the surefire way out (adoption) is so far beyond what I’m willing/able to accept as my long-term hurt/compromise that I don’t know how to get out. I’ll probably return to the blog at some point, but right now I’m just sorting and bleeding.

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