Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Morning of Mourning

It was a busy Friday morning, I was piling all the kids in the car, and keeping an eye out to see if I could spot both of the kittens that had taken up residence in our yard over the past few days. I saw Oreo, the brave little black and white kitten almost right away. She was busy playing on the path, doing kitten things. Glancing around, I noticed the form of the black kitten, lying in the bushes. I crept up to the kitten, hoping to get a little glimpse in before the kitten jumped up and ran and hid, as she usually did. Unexpectedly however, she just looked at me and let out a little hiss, but didn't make a move to get up. Staring at her for a moment, I reached my hand out to her, ready to grab it back if she took a swipe or jumped up and ran, but aside from another hiss and a plaintive meow, there was no reaction. I cautiously scooped her up, to more hissing and meowing, and tried to bring her to the water bowl, thinking she was too dehydrated, but she would not drink. I felt alarmed and determined. We had already lost one cat because I hadn't tried to save her, I wasn't going to have it on my conscience again if there was something that could be done.
 I called my husband, and told him what I had found, and that if it was possible, I would try to help the kitten. He sighed and gave me his blessing, but warned me we couldn't spend more than $100. I agreed and went to the first place that might help, the Humane Society. I got there and asked a volunteer where I could get the kitten looked at, she told me to bring the kitten to the clinic. After getting all the children out of the car, we were told that the clinic does not treat sick animals, it was only a preventative clinic. Getting everyone (and the kitten) back into the car, I sat a and pondered my next step. I decided to take the kitten to the vet at Petsmart, and see what they would say. We drove over there, and all got out from the car again, and grabbed a cart for the baby and the kitten. After inquiring about their services, they said they were also primarily preventative care, but agreed to see the kitten in any case. 
After a lot of waiting, and a quick examination, the vet informed me that they couldn't tell what was wrong with the kitten, but would have to order blood tests and other things. I asked how much it would hit me in the packet, and it turned out to be close to $200. By this time, I had called my husband again, and he pointed out it would not be feasible to take care of the kitten inside due to our son's allergies. I sadly agreed and had to tell the vet we would not be proceeding with testing. My oldest daughter (5) started throwing a fit that she wanted to bring the kitten home and take care of it. I had the joyless task of trying to explain to her that that would not be feasible and not be happening. She was not happy to hear it.
So off we all went, again, back to the Humane Society to drop off the kitten. I went inside myself, thinking it would be a quick affair. It turned I was right, but not for the reason I thought. Apparently, this Humane Society would not take sick animals, but handed me a paper of two places that would. The first was all the way in Dural, about a 40 minute drive away, and not near any kosher stores. I hadn't yet even started my food shopping for shabbos, never mind preparing! The second location looked more promising as it was closer, although it was in another county and relatively close to a kosher food store. After driving another 25 minutes, I finally arrived. I closed my eyes and the looked down at the soft fur of the black kitten that had been quietly lying in my lap as I drove all over the place. I had to believe this was the best thing for her. I had done everything in my power. I gathered up my strength, told my kids to tell the kitten goodbye, and went to give her away. Unfortunately for me, since we lived in a different county than where this shelter was, they said they would not be able to accept the kitten. 
At this, though I had been holding myself together for the sake of my children, I burst into tears. (My children were in the car and not in direct line of view)I explained through my sobs that I had been driving all over that morning, and there was no possible way I would be able to take this kitten all the way to Doral, and also still buy food and get ready for our shabbos. If they could not take the kitten, I would be forced to leave it to die next to my porch since I could not bring it in because of my sons's allergies. I soon gathered an audience of about 4 workers, watching me as a I bawled out my sad story, and then they told me they would work something out. I was so glad, I was able to get a hold of my emotions and try to start calming myself down. While I waited for them to figure out a way to bring in my kitten, another woman came and sat next to me. She had rescued a kitten who was wandering around an intersection, and was dropping it off at the shelter. She struck up a conversation, asking about the little limp bundle in my lap. I picked up the kitten and showed her, the kitten meowed in protest. Looking at the kittens flickering eyes, the woman said it looked like the kitten had brain damage,and was unlikely to recover. In an odd way, that comforted me. I had done everything in my power to help the kitten, and now I could give it up to those to either help it, or more likely help ease it's passing. But the choice was no longer mine alone. After saying my goodbyes to the kitten, when they finally came out and said they were ready to accept her, I walked back to my car deep in thought. I was relieved to be free of the burden, and yet saddened that I could not have done more.