So, do you want to know what has turned my life upside down in two days. If you know me pretty well (my kids if they read this will know immediately. I hate that too. That I am so predictable) you will know we have a new animal in the house. I don't even understand why I can't be happy about this. I love animals! And it isn't even having a new one that bothers me. It is the unreasonable fear that if I give in to one then I will give in to the next and the next and the next one that comes my way.
Last week a kitten was killed on the small road not far from my house. I didn't know it had been there and I don't know if I would have helped it if I had known. Sometimes I hurry away in another direction if I see or hear a dog or cat that needs help. I hate myself for that too. I know that dogs that go to the pound are put down in four days. Tetsu and I no longer call the pound if a lost dog is about. I also know that cats are put down within 24 hours. There is no cat rescue system. So it is hopeless to take cats to the pound. If we ignore them they have a slim chance of living through the dangers of traffic or starvation or crows and eating frogs to stay alive.
Anyway I have been sad about the kitten that I never knew dead on the road. But I can't change that and I can't go around feeling guilty because someone else left it in the forest to fare for itself. The creeping feeling of sadness I've managed to keep at bay and I've concentrated on other things. Thank you Lord. Help me to accept the things I cannot change.
Then Monday evening after I'd put Choco in the house, a sudden soft mewing, barely distinguishable from the crickets chirping in the forest and the crows cawing overhead. But the cats knew and they flew to the windows and ran up and down the stairs, and in a panic I went to the window. There next to Choco's doghouse, just next to the fence, a small grey-brown ball making as much noise as it could. A tiny kitten. What could I do? I know. I should close the window or get in the car and drive away and hours later it would be gone, probably into the woods alone, maybe carried away by a crow. But I can't. I called Tetsu. I sobbed that there was a kitten outside the window and immediately he said. "Ok. If it's in the yard see if you can catch it. It's okay. Don't get upset about it."
It wasn't a matter of if I could catch it, it was trembling and wouldn't move. I scooped it up and put it in a cat transport box (the same one I'd carried Lemi in in February. I noticed I hadn't changed the towel in it.) I couldn't really even look at the poor thing. I'd picked it up. Until then it wasn't mine but since I'd reached out to it, now it was. Slip some milk into the box. It sat in the bowl not knowing what to do. I sat in my chair not knowing what to do.
Tetsu came home within the hour and bounced into the house cheerfully. "Where is the little thing? Let's see the new family member!" He proceeded to clean it up and feed it with a syringe. "Three cats, four cats, it doesn't matter. Cheer up. We'll all be living happily together in a couple of weeks." I wonder about that. Cleo and Patora have not come down once and won't eat. Vel is concerned enough to check out the stranger but hisses and bats at it. Choco I'm afraid to let anywhere near it. One gulp and that would be the end and remember Choco doesn't like cats. So my life has gotten very complicated overnight.
Yesterday I took the kitten to my vet. Ah... he says knowingly. He has scolded me before about trying to save all the pitiful animals that come by my house. His thinking is that I can't expect to save all of them, that I need to set a limit in my mind. He thinks people know I have a soft spot and that's why they leave animals near my house.
Our little one is a girl. Very healthy. Maybe 6 weeks old. Not very good at drinking milk or eating cat food but can lick off the milk that she sits in. She's been given worm medicine and been disinfected from fleas and ticks that she might have picked up but I don't think she was out in the big world all that long anyway. She's still living in the cat box until I can make more of a home for her. She has no name yet.
As for me, suddenly all the noises I hear in the forest are more mewings. All the movement it the bushes are more animals searching for my house. All my own animals' sudden starts or turns or barkings are the result of a sound or sight that I can't discern. I look out the windows but I'm afraid to go out for fear of what I'll find. I peer at people walking past my house and wonder if they are the ones who left the kitten or know who did. I'm angry at people who throw out their unwanted animals and know that this is not so unusual in Japan. Even my neighbors do it. They are not bad people they just don't find newborn kittens and puppies much more than a nuisance so throw them away. Maybe the animals will be lucky enough to be picked up by someone like me. But where does that leave me? You see, I am beyond this one little kitten that found its way to (or was dropped into) my yard.
And something even more ridiculous is that in less than 24 hours I have lost my heart and do not want to find a new owner for it. That's the other problem. The animals I pick up I cannot let go even if there is someone that might take them (there hardly ever is). I picture myself sitting in an overstuffed chair with hundreds of cats and dogs perched everywhere in the house and people talking about that nutty cat and dog lady. But right now I'm not laughing.