My daughters brought home an abandoned motherless kitten found underneath a parked car in the city. It hates milk but it likes burger. I have no explanation for the food preference. That’s the short story. Let me tell you the long story.
Last weekend, Sam and Alex went out with Alex’s friends. That doesn’t happen often. They have different circles of friends and they rarely socialize together. When Alex asked Sam to join them, I smiled. They made arrangements and we agreed that they would get an Uber ride home.
I was in bed when they got home. Sick. Gastro-intestinal flu. When the front door opened, there was a commotion. I wanted to get up but I felt too weak. I couldn’t make out what was going on. I thought Penny (the beagle) was again being overly enthusiastic with her greeting and the girls were telling her to calm down. But that wasn’t it.
Alex was the first to reach me and announce that Sam picked up a stray kitten. When Sam showed the kitten to me, the whole story unfolded. They were looking for an ATM machine, they could hear a kitten crying and Sam reached for it from under a parked car. My first question was what would the mother do when she finds her kitten missing. According to her, they chatted up the security guard of the building where the car was parked and he told them that the kitten was motherless. Apparently, the kitten hung around in the vicinity.
That Sam would pick up a stray was not exactly surprising. That was how we ended up having cats in the house in the first place. It started with a stray that wandered into the garage during a storm and we’ve have cats since.
What surprised me was that they managed to get the cat home. From Manila all the way to Antipolo. In an Uber ride. Did they hide it from the driver? If they had, I wouldn’t have been surprised either. Sam once put a puppy inside a shopping bag and brought it inside the grocery because she didn’t care to leave it in the car.
But, no, they didn’t have to hide it from the Uber driver. The driver only told them to keep the kitten on their lap and off the car seat.
The kitten cried intermittently, and noisily, the whole night. When I asked Sam about it the following day, she said the kitten only stopped crying when she was touching it. Without bodily contact, the kitten cried. I’m presuming that the kitten slept beside her on her bed.
I cringed. It lived on the dirty city streets and from there slept on her bed? I refused to touch it. But Sam said she already cleaned it. Gave it a sponge bath with alcohol, and so on and so forth.
Is it a he or a she, I asked Sam. She wasn’t sure. If it were a he, she said, its balls were really tiny.
The he/she kitten, not having previously experienced living inside walls, did not poop nor pee inside the house. Sam had to bring it outside, twice a day, and wait for it to do its business.
When Sam went out, she left the kitten with Alex. Alex tried to give it diluted milk but the kitten did not want it. Desperate to get it fed ahead of the other pets, Alex gave it some leftover burger from the fridge. The kitten ate it.
What the heck. Does it associate “feeding” with the smell of fast food in the city? Alex thinks so. Well, if it does, if it had been living on scraps from fast food joints, it’ll have to make a disassociation soon. It’s a country kitten now, no longer a city kitten, and there is rarely fast food scrap in our house. If it keeps searching for the aroma of fast food to trigger its appetite, it will die of hunger. So, he/she kitten, learn fast. Eat what you’re given.
As you can imagine, the dynamics in the house have changed with the arrival of this he/she kitten. Pepper, the longest reigning queen of the house, resents it. Penny, on the other hand, is curious. Penny may be a dog but having lived with cats since she was a puppy, she has learned to play with them. In fact, when Penny licks herself the way cats do, Alex gets upset and reminds her that she’s a dog and not a cat.
So, no, Penny doesn’t show interest in mangling the kitten. The he/she kitten, meanwhile, does not seem to like Penny very much. It is wary of the dog. A result, perhaps, of having to fight with stray dogs over the meagre food supply available to stray animals in the city.
I don’t know what happens from this point. We can’t keep the he/she kitten cooped inside the house forever. Cats wander. It’s their nature. Whether it learns that it now has a home to come back to, I don’t know. For its sake, I hope it does.