by Haunted Sox
The Writer's Cramp" WINNER, 27-Aug-2021!
|I had read stories of people being adopted by stray animals. How no matter how they resisted that animal became a part of the family. But I used to feel like that was just a story. Stray animals are basically wild or feral aren't they.
The kitten had been hanging out in my backyard for about a week off and on. I usually checked to make sure it was gone before I let my German Shepard out to do what dogs do outside. But I forgot, just once, but it changed my life. I let Ginger out and the next thing I heard was the most godawful feline scream. Damn it! Stupid cat! I rushed outside to see Ginger doing the ragdoll shake with the kitten in her jaws. Good god! I don't want to have to bury a stray kitten.
I rushed yelling "Drop it!" to Ginger's side. Confused but somewhat obedient she at least stopped shaking the kitten. I reached the scene and pried the kitten's body from Ginger's mouth. Then the kitten had balls enough to not only not be dead, but to bite the hand that freed it.
The stray population of the area has been known to have rabies floating around among it so I panicked. I called animal control with the kitten dangling from the scruff of its neck from my hand. I talked to dispatch, "I was just bitten by a stray kitten. Is there a way to tell if it's rabid?"
"Sure we can come and pick it up and run a test, but it requires examining brain tissue..."
"How do you sample that?"
"We have to humanely...."
"Oh hell no! Isn't there another way to tell if it is rabid?"
"You could keep it in isolation for fifteen days. If it doesn't show signs in that time then you're good."
"Can't you keep it in isolation?"
"It is cheaper to do the test."
"Crap, I suppose I have to feed it. If it dies of starvation that won't tell me much will it?"
"Well, we could do the test then..."
"Uh, no! Thanks for all your help, I have to go to the store."
"Good luck, and congratulations on becoming a cat's property."
"No. I am not a cat person! I am going to put it back on the street when the fifteen days are up."
He chuckled at me, "Sure you are..."
I hung up the phone and looked at the kitten still pathetically dangling from my hand. I had to put it somewhere, but I didn't want to keep it in the house for fear it got the wrong idea. I decided to put it in an old rabbit hutch my sister abandoned in my backyard from her 4-H days. It had a roof and a small run. So, it covered shelter and containment. I tossed the kitten in the hutch, gently, it had been a very bad day for the poor thing. I walked away and it mewed at me. I looked back. I swear it had the lovey anime kitten eyes. I could practically hear it giving thanks for saving it from the monster. I made the trip to the store and came back with kitten food. For fifteen days I fed, watered, and cleaned up after the little ball of fluff, but I showed it zero affection.
On day fifteen I opened the hutch and let it free. It freely followed me to and through my back door. I scooped it up quickly and put it down on the doormat, closing the screen rapidly. I thought nothing could be worse than the sound it made when Ginger tried to kill it. I was wrong. It started the most heart-wrenching wail I had ever heard. I closed the back door. An hour later I needed to make a quick trip to the store to pick up some eggs. I opened the door, it began to wail again. Ginger who was saying her goodbyes to me nosed at the screen with interest. Maybe Ginger could subtly convince it to leave by chasing it off. I opened the door and let Ginger loose. Ginger circled the kitten and the kitten hissed in response. Ginger gave it an experimental lick and the kitten silently nuzzled back.
I sighed and closed both doors behind me, I walked past the pair and left for the store. When I came back Ginger was curled up on the mat and I couldn't see the kitten anywhere. Part of me was disappointed. That lasted exactly long enough to walk up the sidewalk and discover Ginger was curled around the sleeping kitten. Awe hell!
I opened the back door, "Well, come on you two. Dinner is just a few minutes away. Anyone want eggs?"