“Son of a bitch. Are you kidding me? Again?!”
I stared down at the scruffed-up little kitten who had just crawled out from under my backyard brush.
“Well, there goes the rest of my day,” I thought.
From the previous week’s experience, I knew that finding a home for a stray kitten could be a full-time job. When a little stray crawled out from under the bush last week, we were lucky enough to find a neighbor who took it in.
But to find a second happy home? It just didn’t seem very likely.
I made the usual round of social media posts. I texted as many friends as I could.
A number of people recommended that I call an organization named The Pet Pantry, located about 30 minutes away. I called, but needed to leave a message.
I called the Humane League. They weren’t taking any animals.
I called our local SPCA. They gave me a surprisingly ignorant and useless response.
In the meantime, this poor little kitten was looking sluggish, and began making weird faces and body movements as it wriggled slowly on the ground. It clearly had some sort of infection because its eyes were gummy and it was coughing out little balls of mucas and saliva every few minutes.
How sick was it? When was the last time it had eaten? Was this behavior normal? Was this cat about to pass out? Or worse? Was it just sleepy?
I didn’t know these answers and I was running out of time. I had to leave for work in a few hours.
So, I put the cat in a box and drove it off to The Pet Pantry, in hopes that they would take the animal in, as my friends had suggested. I didn’t have time to wait any longer for them to call me back, so I just went in.
When the kitten and I arrived, I met the lady who didn’t call me back. She seemed a little overwhelmed. I then met the staff person in charge of animal placement. She told me they were not able to take any more animals.
I was irritated, but not surprised.
So back to the car we went. I put the little guy back in the box and proceeded to drive home. I was frustrated and out of time.
It seemed like the best solution was to return home, put the cat back in the yard to fend for itself, go to work, and then try again the next morning (assuming I could find it again). My wife and I are allergic to cats, otherwise I would have just taken it inside the house.
Driving around with that cat in a box was not easy. It was hot and there was no airflow. I tried to keep the lid somewhat open so the little thing could breathe, but each time I did that he exploited my weakness and crawled halfway out of the box. Sometimes he got the whole way out and ended up on the dashboard, or the floor, or on me.
I was distracted enough that I failed to check carefully before switching lanes in traffic.
This day was getting worse as it went.
The mild but unexpected jolt, accompanied by that hateful crunching sound, told me I had screwed up. Fortunately, the crash happened at a low speed and nobody was hurt.
The car that hit me was a fairly large pick-up truck. Hitting my smaller Prius, the truck didn’t sustain much damage. My car was banged up a little bit, but with it having 17 years in the tank and over 300 thousand miles on the odometer, I am not interested in appearances.
As I apologized to the other driver and exchanged insurance information with him, I looked at his face. His irritation had died down when I admitted responsibility for the accident. He seemed calm.
I looked at the box on the passenger seat of my car. The lid to the box was bobbling around. The kitten was anything but calm.
Opposites attract, right?
“Hey- you wouldn’t happen to want a kitten would you?” I asked.
He looked at me with a weird but curious glance.
“Yeah”, I said. “ That’s probably why I pulled in front of you- I was distracted by this cat I’m trying to find a home for.”
I gave him the whole story.
He told me that his adult daughter works for an animal rescue group and was just saying recently that she would like to take in another stray.
I showed him my kitten.
His face lit up.
He scooped her into his palm and said yes!
As we shook hands, he thanked me and mentioned that his son-in-law does autobody work on the side and could probably hammer his dents out without the need to go through my insurance company, thus saving me my $500 deductible.
Of all the people on the road, how did I end up crashing into this one?
Kitten karma I guess.
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