On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Pretty Kitty 062015Last week I wrote about the kitten we had adopted a few days before, or more accurately, the kitten who had adopted us. I ended by saying she had managed to climb the first two of six steps to our back porch, and I wondered how long it would take her to make it all the way up and, from there, into the house. It didn’t take long.

I wrote the article on Sunday evening, and on Tuesday morning she said good morning at the top of the stairs. Then the rain came, and Wednesday morning it was coming down so hard that the plastic lids that serve as food and milk bowls would have been washed clean before she could swallow a mouthful. So, David brought her into the laundry room, and I served her breakfast inside.

Once she was happily chomping away, I closed her in and went to the kitchen to fix our breakfast. Before the food was on the table, I felt little furry paws on my bare feet, and there she was. When the builders installed the doors in our home, they used the same length door in all the doorways, regardless of whether the room was carpeted or tiled. Consequently, there is a Kitty-sized gap under the door, and she took that as an open invitation. David showed her the error of her ways by blocking the gap with a towel and a couple of pairs of work boots.

After the rain let up, David went to the shed and found a large piece of plywood which he used to shield the opening of her trash can home from splashing rain. So far, she hasn’t been back inside, but she has been traveling with us quite a bit this week.

Apparently, we aren’t the only people who have been enticed by a winsome stray lately. Some friends from church were chosen in February by a Great Pyrenees puppy who has since become a beloved member of the family. He is so loved, in fact, that they couldn’t bear to kennel him when they went away for a week, and they asked if we would house/dog sit while they were gone. When the request was made, we were happy to help them out. Then, Kitty appeared and the logistics became complicated.

We planned to stop by our house each day to pick up the mail and check on the garden, but Kitty still eats several times a day. If we left enough food to last from one visit to the next, it would draw ants and possibly predators. The house where we were staying was definitely not a place for a kitten, but leaving her outside was not an option. Even if Spike, the pet-in-residence, didn’t think she was a snack, he might accidentally step on her. Finally, we decided to bring her with us, let her sleep in the garage at night, and then take her back to our place and let her play in the yard while I performed my part-time duties at the church.

Once the decision was made, we borrowed a pet carrier and made a quick trip to the store for a litter box, a bag of litter, and a bag of kitten food. She had enjoyed the cat food our neighbor brought for her to try, but David’s Internet research said she needed something with more nutrition during her first year. Our free cat is getting expensive.

Her first trip in the car went well, if a bit noisily. She meowed and whined the whole time, and when David lifted the carrier out of the car, she was clinging to the mesh door like one of those Garfield dolls with suction cups on its feet. When the door swung open, Kitty swung right along with it. She’s very adaptive, though, and since then, the twice-a-day trips have been quiet.

Fierce Kitty 062015She has adjusted to the new environment and routine as easily as she adjusted to life at the Brendles. After one “oops” on a doormat, she has trained herself to use the litter box faithfully. She has also trained us to visit her frequently to make sure she isn’t hungry, thirsty, or lonely. Over the weekend, we had a couple of cloudy days with a nice breeze, so we brought her out to the front porch with us where she played around our feet and stalked the legs of the table before going back to garage to nap in her carrier.

As predicted by many of you, Kitty has quickly found a place in our family. I don’t think she’ll find a place in our bed any time soon, but who knows what will happen before my next column.



winding road Cover 25 percentA LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

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