Like many people, Covid had me hiding in my home. It didn’t take long to awaken to the reality that something more sinister than a deadly virus would tear me down to a shriveling shadow of my former “no guts, no glory” philosophy.
The thief of my mental stability was isolation. Actually there were several thieves, all working in tandem to tear me down. In many respects, they were worse than the killing virus. This virus had no sinister objective beyond survival. The thieves disguised themselves as benign partners, compatriot warriors determined to protect me, agents of the holy grail of science and technology. Some were truly well-meaning, but all were disorganized, egotistical, full of self-preservation, and playing a deadly guessing game. And, may I say, some were truly gutless!
When the time comes in the future to choosing whose agenda to follow, whose battle-cry at the polling stations to rise to, who to stand with in the face of adversity, it will surely not be those who caused me to cower and plead for a merciful death.
Then, one freezing December night, a visitor came to my door. He was small. When he glanced at me peering down at him through the window, the terror in his face broke my heart. He scampered off past the snow banks and shrubbery. Quickly, I placed a bowl of cat food out onto my front steps and shut off my lights. Maybe he might find the courage to return to the much needed nourishment.
The next morning, I was elated to see the food offering was gone. The dish was there, but the kibble had been eaten. I refilled it. Again, he returned that evening. The little feline was tiny, only a kitten. He had a black and white face, tuxedo markings. The eyes were large and filled with wild daring.
As a volunteer at Wild North, a wild life rescue organization, I asked to borrow a live trap. After receiving strict instructions to ensure the health and safety of the animal I was hoping to trap, I set it up on my front steps. The bait was set, and I prayed.
I checked it every ten minutes. Within one hour, I had Beamer in my home, warm and safe. I set up an empty bedroom as a nursery. At the time, I had no idea what I was in for. But after two weeks of setting up the trap, I had seven kittens in my care, all different ages (3 months to 10 months), 3 females and 4 males. According to a veterinarian, the 10 month old female (Willow) had been nursing in the past, perhaps one or two of the youngest currently in my care.
I had one beautiful tabby cat of my own so I wasn’t totally a novice in caring for a cat. But since my family just got huge, I bought four more litter boxes and lots of kitty litter, best food for kittens, food dishes, and bags of toys, plus two more cat towers.
My eagerness was tempered with the fact that these little ones hated me. Feral kitties are not to be handled without due care unless you don’t mind being ferociously bitten and scratched. Once they were in my care, I promptly looked for a cat rescue organization that would take over their care. Thankfully, after many phone calls, I found Zoes Animal Rescue. They would help with the medical bills (spay/neuter, vaccinations, micro chip) but I would have to foster them until these tiny tigers were tame enough to be handled without blood loss.
To make a very long story shorter, I spent almost every waking hour tending to these babies. After two months they stopped trying to tear me apart. They got used to my dogs, and even my large male (neutered) tabby, Leo, took over nurturing the little beasts. He washed their faces, showed them grooming techniques, and instructed them a correct behaviors.
Five have all been turned into little cuddly fluff balls and adopted to perfect homes. Zoomer is resisting domestication but is too adorable to give up on. The seventh one, Chester, is his bond ‘sibling’ and ready for adoption but remains in my home until both can be adopted together.
As I look back over the past year and half, it is without question these little kitties saved my life. When they arrived I had questioned my ability to go on. The day after they arrived, my only worry was providing them with the best possible food and nurturing. Covid and politicians and scientist and the bloody media took a back seat. In fact, I stopped watching the news channels. The only thing worth watching was my little ones playing with their toys and sleeping in a huddle mass of fur and tiny toes.