You’ve all heard me say this - I don’t take in animals unless they “cross my path”. There have certainly always been plenty who actually do cross my path - enough to keep me nice and full. I have never been in a position where I could take on the homeless dogs and cats that cross other people’s paths (though there have been loads of times I have wished I could). At this very moment in time, my cathouse is full. All I could do was hold my breath and keep my fingers crossed that the Universe wouldn’t send any more somebodies my way. I guess the Universe had a different plan in mind. Let me put it this way. If it crosses my path, I can’t turn away. But how about if it runs right down the middle of the path directly at me . . .
On Sunday evening, Older Daughter, Younger Daughter, and their male companions, all had dinner here with me and Husband. I was tickled to have the whole gang together for a meal. Conversation bounced around the table, and before long I saw that look come over Older Daughter’s face. She had a story to tell. It went like this.
The previous night (Saturday night), she and her friends had driven a very long way into the deep recesses of southern Illinois to find a corn maze that had been advertised to the public. They never found the maze, but on the return trip, on an extremely remote country road, after slowing to let a raccoon cross the road, they were just starting over a country bridge when they had to slam on their brakes. Right in the middle of the road was a black & white kitten. Of course, Older Daughter was out of the car in a heartbeat. But this little guy wasn’t writing one of those fantastic rescue stories where the subject walks right over to the rescuer and climbs into her arms. Nope. He got ready to bolt. Older Daughter slowed everything down and knelt there in the beam of the car headlights and tried to coax the kitten to her. But it shot off into the tall grass and down a ravine under the bridge.
Older Daughter had been at work all day, and now here we were at dinnertime having this conversation. It was the first chance she'd had to tell us. I asked - How far away? A long way from here, Mom. Any homes around? None. Can you find your way back to the spot? I’m not sure.
Conversation moved to other topics. After dinner, I started one of the many rounds with all of the animals. Since we had all four kids here, we had planned to watch a movie together once I could get several animal chores done. I went from feeding station to feeding station, speaking to the various sweetheart fur babies - but my mind was elsewhere. Older Daughter said this was not a little bitty kitten, but still way too young to be on its own. All I could think of was how it could have ended up out there in the middle of nowhere. There were no houses, or barns, or dumpsters, or anything in the area to have attracted a feral mom with her kittens. Besides - if this had been a kitten from feral litter, no one would ever have seen it. Feral moms train those babies to stay hidden. Also - I knew it was unlikely that there was just the one kitten. It sounded like a “dump” job, and I suspected that an entire litter had been dumped out there in this remote area. Depending on how long they had been there, the others could have starved or fallen prey to coyotes or other wild animals. I couldn’t stand it. I knew that little baby was out there. And there was NO ONE else in the world looking out for him.
When I got in the house I asked my family if they’d like to join me on a rescue mission. There was no hesitation. We loaded crates, canned cat food, dry cat food, the trap, and six humans into Husband’s truck. It would turn out to be a FORTY-FIVE MINUTE drive ONE WAY. I thought more than once about how much gasoline we were using. And I wondered if Older Daughter could even get us back to the spot. There was a much greater chance of NOT ever seeing this kitten than there was of actually finding it again. I already knew how I would feel if we didn’t see it, leaving me to wonder forever what happened and if it might still be alive out there somewhere trying to survive on its own - a baby, in the wilderness, trying to fend for itself.
We drove farther and farther from home, deeper and deeper into nowhere. What in the world was I doing way out here, looking for a needle in a haystack?