I went to visit my mother yesterday (read: enjoy free laundry facilities and have someone else cook for awhile.) She lives out in the country, a little ways out from a small town north of Lansing. At any rate, I had just gotten on the road and was perhaps a mile and a half away from her house, nearing the intersection between the dirt road and the real road, I saw something in the headlights. I slowed down.
It was moving. Yes, whatever it was, there was something alive on the roadway. Or rather, a group of somethings. I slowed down further to make sure I didn’t hit any of whatever they were. And that’s when I saw.
It was kittens.
In the middle of the goddamn road.
And it was raining.
Thanks be to all that’s good and holy that I tend to drive slowly on dirt roads. So I stopped right there and opened the door and my mind immediately started to race thinking about what in the name of God to do with the damn things. It couldn’t be more obvious that some fucker had abandoned an entire litter - just barely old enough to be weaned - right on the side of the road, and the little things were too young to even have the sense to avoid cars. There’s enough dogs, cars, and various wildlife that kittens that age didn’t have the remotest chance where they left them.
So I got out of the car. I opened the door, and immediately heard piercing yells. You know those particular cries kittens make that are simultaneously adorable and sanity-depleting? Five of them, all at once. Four immediately rushed towards me and number five scuttled away and flattened itself out in the ditch. Three of the four began climbing over my feet - the things were obviously desperate. One hid under my car.
No room at home for kittens, but obviously I had to do something. I had to at least take them to the Humane Society - except it was ten thirty at night. Obviously my mother would have to put them up for the night. Meanwhile, how do I even get the damn things back to her house? I had to contain them. I couldn’t try to drive with five kittens crawling all over me. But I didn’t have any boxes. The only thing I had was boxes full of empty Coke cans that I hadn’t gotten around to recycling yet.
So that’s what I used. I had four kittens scooped up in one arm, while the other pulled empty cans out of a 24 pack. Kittens, thankfully, stack well (if you’ve ever seen them sleep). I stuck the four into the box, and then coaxed the last one out from under my car (it hissed when I picked it up.) So for the mile and a half back to my mother’s house, they were in an empty cardboard box with my backpack leaning on the top to hold it shut.
They continued their squealing, and scritching noises emanated from the box. I apologized for the poor accomodations. I explained that I wasn’t really set up to transport cats. I explained about man’s inhumanity to cat, and why I thus had to deal with them when it wasn’t even my responsibility.
So I took them to my mom’s house, since I didn’t have any clue what to do. Fortunately, she was a bit more equipped - in terms of resources and emotional wherewithal - to deal with them. I rang the doorbell while I tried to dig for the keys - box under one arm - but my mother answered the door. “I found something,” I told her grimly.
“What?” she asked.
“An opportunity to do the right thing.”
And I showed them to her. The kittens - while generally damp - were extremely precious. Two orange tabbys, two black and white, and one calico. She poured several saucers of milk, and the things ate as though ravenous, and then gradually began to wander around the room. My mom’s cat, a male a couple years old and not terribly friendly to animals, looked warily and then started hissing, so I shut him away. The two orange ones in particular were wandering around, and investigating the dog, a Rottweiler approximately 50 times their size. The dog sniffed at them and looked interested but clearly didn’t know how to react.
We poured a cat box and herded the kittens into a large cat carrier for the night. I drove home - slowly at first, just in case I had missed one - still pissed off at people who don’t fix their animals and then don’t even take the remotest responsibility for their offspring.
The worst part of this is that my mother just called me. I knew it was likely at the time, but it’s still sort of crushing to find out - they’re too young for the Humane Society to place. They’re not even close to two pounds yet, the required minimum. And there’s no way for any of us to take on five kittens, or even one - especially not at that size. So the Humane Society is going to put them down.