Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dr. Dolittle's Menagerie

Our little family is getting not so little, one creature at a time. Of course we still have Snickers, Laura's cat. We got him from my parents' neighbors when he was still quite wild. I think he's pretty much over his fearful stage!

The baby blackbird (somewhat of a misnomer since it is an adult now, at least physically) is getting more independent, but still comes in several times a day for a feeding. In a way it's kind of nice since it cuts down on the housefly problem.

We have a new addition to our avian dependents. My mom almost stepped on this little robin that had fallen from its nest. It was too small to be a fledgling and even though we located the nest, it was too high in the tree to return the baby in safety.

It turns out that baby robins are MUCH cuter than baby blackbirds. They have a mouth that could swallow the Titanic, their feeding chirp is much more delicate, and they slurp their worms like spaghetti. It's cute, trust me on this. We had two other short-staying guests, one a baby blackbird that died overnight and the other a robin that was old enough to be out on its own so we returned it to where it was found.

We did not keep this creature, but it was a fun encounter last Sabbath on the way to church. The turtle was crossing the road and I stopped to take it the rest of the way across. It is so strange to me, but lots of people think nothing of deliberately running over animals that are in the road. I always try to help the slow-moving ones out when I can.

But these are not the most exciting and wondrous new additions to the family fold. On Wednesday Laura and I were driving home when I saw a feral white cat sitting in an over-grown yard. As I drove past, I saw that it had a large wound on its neck from a too-tight collar put on by some long-ago owner. We stopped, not that I had much hope it would let me get close, but you gotta try.

The cat wasn't terrified of me, but wouldn't let me come too near to it, so I followed from a distance just to see where it might go. As I was tailing it down the alley, I heard a baby kitten crying, the kind of cry kittens use when they are lost and trying to find their mama. I answered back and talked to it until I located it. It was standing on an old, partially fallen over fence and I thought it had climbed up there and was scared to come down. I knew that mama was right across the street, so I left so she could come get her baby.

The thicket of bushes where I saw the kitten. The fence can be seen on the right side of the frame.

When Laura and I drove by a minute later, I stopped just to make sure it was OK, and before we even left the car we could still hear it calling. Hmmmm. That was odd. Better go help it down. I had Laura climb back in there and as soon as she could see it better she started to cry. Someday she will become level headed in an emergency. Someday. The kitten's leg was bent backwards and trapped in the tiny crack between the two fence boards. It took the two of us, but we got it free, then rushed back to my parents' house for an emergency session of food, water, and an examination.

It had tried to chew its foot off (or maybe the mama did), so the toe-tips were gone and it had a large opening on the inside of its foot and a compressed, abraded line on the opposite side. But its spirit was undimmed, and it's been eating and drinking well, and exploring vigorously between naps.

While it was a wild kitten when it got stuck, it was not when it was rescued. After perhaps several days and nights of being stuck there, meowing for help, hearing its siblings and mother across the street, but unable to go to them, terrified of danger, and unable to rest because it had to support its weight on its front feet to keep the pressure off its trapped leg, it's so happy to be with somebody that it doesn't matter WHO that somebody is. Of course, I think it likes me a little better than everyone else, but that's because I'm so deeply intuitive.

Then came the business of determining the sex so it could be named. Yep, definitely a boy. He only needs a bottle of root beer and a football game on to complete the moment. As for the name, he is Mr. Theodore Abel Cat, Theo for short, or Sweetie, or Snoogums, or Babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, or whatever else he gets called. Makes no difference, he answers to any appropriate name.

Both Laura and I are very grateful that we were able to help little Theodore. If I had not stopped for the injured white cat, this little baby probably would have lasted another day or two before dying a lonely, miserable death from dehydration in the summer heat. I know that God led me to him, and I'm thankful that I was listening to His voice at the moment, since I don't always. Even if young Theo passes on due to his injuries (which doesn't seem likely at the moment, but he did go through a terrible stress), at least he is spending his time in comfort and plenty.

Laura mounted a short-lived campaign for a little bit of heavenly peace on earth before I pointed out that it wasn't good for the robin to get used to cats that snuggled instead of trying to eat it.


  1. Great photographs, as usual, Tina -- especially the one with the kitten and robin taking a nap together! My kids have always been great rescuers, with the result that I also have a house full of rescued animals -- they tend to stay here with me after the kids that originally rescued them have grown up and moved out. :-)

  2. Well, somebody's gotta care about animals. I don't know how people can just ignore an animal in need if they have the power to help it.