On Father's Day, I am doing what all derelict wives are doing - coming home from Wal-Mart with last minute Father's Day gifts. Reveling in my hour long child-free shopping trip, I decide to take the interstate home for a moment with the open road.
It takes nearly five whole minutes of driving down the wrong direction on the interstate for me to realize I am, as usual, headed west when I need to go east. The nearest turn around spot takes me to a busy parkway, where everyone is speeding up to merge instead of slowing down.
My God. It's a KITTEN! And the kitten isn't dead at all, she is dragging her lifeless legs toward the median like the tiniest warrior I've ever seen. Mouth wide open in a battle-cry, she is heaving her good legs - one front and one hind- to propel herself away from zooming cars and toward the safety of tall grass and swarms of ants.
You can do this, you can do this, you can do this! My van and I are parked with hazard lights on before I rationalize how stupid it is to try to chase a traumatized creature on the median of a busy road.
(No cars taken in this pic as it was taken days later, but it was insane on Father's Day)
You're gonna be ok, You're gonna be ok, You're gonna be ok. I gallop from shoulder to median eyeing dry grass for any movement.
With nothing but my thrapping heart and jingling car keys, I stand without a towel, extra shirt, or even large cup, in which to put her...if I find her at all.
If I'm able to get to her, I'm now positive she'll shoot toward the street again to get away from the crazy panting monster leering at her spouting Tony Robbins inspirations.
There you are, you dear little thing.
I lay one hand on her speckled gray coat and use the other to put the hunk of cardboard on the curb that she is hugging so she can't dive toward traffic.
You can do this. We can do this. This is happening.
I quickly lift her scruff and she doesn't even flinch. Holding her a few inches off the ground gives me no comfort as to well-being. Her limbs just hang this way and that. Some look broken, some look to have simply given up.
She lets me slide her right in. Her terrified golden eyes are the last thing I see before clutching that box in my arms like it is a bomb ready to explode.
If you've ever try to extract a petrified cat from your vehicle, you'll know this only ends in cat urine all over your upholstery and slices down your arm that may or may not need stitches.
(Yep, she's in there.)
I have no choice but to trust she's too tired to fight. I put her in Abby's carseat, tell her she's going to be ok now, and drive like hell to the nearest open animal hospital.
Then, somehow text my husband.
Within a few minutes, he writes back, "Do what you gotta do," and I fall in love with him again. You see, Andy hates cats. He doesn't hate anything but he hates cats. He has allowed many dogs in our home throughout the years but has never bent one millimeter with his rule of no cats, ever.
Two hours later, Doc tells me the kitten looks bad but is stable. Do I want to continue with feline leukemia test? Yes, I do. What''s going on with her? Kitty has sustained a lot of injuries and a possible head trauma as one pupil is blown. Kitty's x-rays show no broken bones but she does have legs that have serious ligament injuries, front much worse than hind. It will be more than likely she'll need her leg removed before long. She will need observation overnight. Do I need a coffee? No, just a job please. We are hiring. I'll take an application. Thank you. No, thank you. Have you named her yet? I haven't even seen her yet, really. What does she look like? She's gorgeous. And tiny, only 2 lbs. Would you like me to bring her out. Yes, let me put on some lipgloss.
Well Hello you little warrior princess.
I name her Pandora because she is stunning, strong, and let me put her in the saddest little box I've ever seen. I name her Pandora because it's a name I love and I'm pretty sure I already love her, too. Warrior kittens don't come across my path everyday. When they do, I illegally park my minivan to help them get to safety. Forever. I'd be crazy not to.
An update on Pandora or Pandy Paws as we call her:
She has come along beautifully! She has gained weight and is now over three pounds. Pandy Paws no longer has worms, fleas, or any disease at all. She still cannot feel or technically use her front right paw but has been using the rest of her legs quite well. I cannot see any defects in any of her other legs. Our regular vet assessed her recently and discovered there is a teeny-weeny bit of feeling returning to her injured paw so we will give her much more time and kitty PT to see if she can keep it. We are so hopeful. And our vet says there isn't any sign whatsoever or head trauma so another win!
Pandy Paws hasn't officially been integrated in with the dogs yet. Sadie scares her which is hysterical because Sadie is more afraid of cats than anything else in the world. Sparrow has whined, pined, and cried for Pandy ever since she sniffed her here. We hope this is maternal (Sparrow had a litter of pups before we adopted her.) and not carniverous. Needless to say, introductions are going well but very, very slowly.
The kids' summer has been filled with kitty snuggling, kitty feeding, kitty play-scratches, and kitty bedtime stories.
Life with a kitten is a very good life, indeed.