Driving home from the chicken plant one evening (always too much overtime), I kept a sharp eye out for deer and other wildlife. I’d seen the aftermath of collisions with deer including the damage to all parties – no thanks. I don’t like hitting any other creature, either, I even slow down for butterflies. In the dusky haze, I spotted two lumps smack in the middle of the road.
Kittens, a tiny boy and girl, eyes not even open yet, thrown away like the trash idiots litter along the roadside. They fit in the palm of one hand, covered with ticks (even on their eyelids) and had pale worms crawling out of them. Fleas! They were so weak they made no sounds and barely moved. The girl had the tip of an ear folded backwards, a grayish-brownish tiger stripe. The boy was white with (relatively) big black spots. Safely cradling the castoffs in an old towel I kept in back, I talked to them to let them know I would care for them as we drove on home. Pictures of them would be awful, so I’ll wait until the story brightens.
Nestled in a cozy old-sock bed, they received eyedropper super-milk and frequent gentle rubbing to mimic mama’s cleaning. They were coddled each morning before I left for work and as soon as I returned. De-ticking and deworming were critical and I did those risky tasks as soon as I though they might stand the strain, carefully as possible. They opened their little blue eyes and started looking around at their world. They outgrew the sock bed and their patchy fur filled in.
Krink and Spot seemed to be recovered from their horrid ordeal, but I came home to find Spot still and cold a couple weeks later. Krink looked up at me a mewed for her milk. From then on, I kept her on my belly whenever I was home so she could feel my warmth, feel me breathing. Her poor bent back ear never straightened. She remains my undersized sweetheart, always begging for me to hold and pet her. She’s old now, many years have passed, but she does not tire of running ahead to look up with unspoken pleading for me to cuddle her close and whisper into her crinkled ear.