The Rescue

Melissa Stagnaro

I am always horrified when I read about parents implicated in the neglect, abuse and even death of their own children. When I see these tales splashed across the headlines, my heart bleeds for the innocent victims of these senseless crimes.

These acts seem to be against the very natural order of things. Parents, not matter the species, should take care of their young. That tugging we feel on our heartstrings when we see small defenseless creatures is instinctual. It is Mother Nature’s way of ensuring that we take care of those who are dependent on us for the basics of survival.

Until recently, I thought these heinous acts of negligence were unique to the human species. It was then that I found evidence to the contrary in my own back yard.

That evidence was the desperate cry of a small, malnourished kitten. The tiny mewling creature was all that remained of a litter of five abandoned by their “mother,” a feral cat that doesn’t deserve the title. And thus began our role as surrogates.

The little guy couldn’t lap milk out of a bowl, and struggled even with the tiny pet nursing bottle. The first couple of days, until he got the hang of it, the only way we could get the little guy to eat was out of the palm of my hand. The first time he purred in my ear made all the effort worthwhile.

Now if he’d just learn how to use that litterbox…

The fuzzy ball of energy has even melted the heart of my tough as nails father, who has been revealed to be a softy at heart. He thinks he’s being discreet, but he’s not. I’ve seen his antics, rolling the little guy around on the floor.

We still haven’t settled on a name for the kitten, partially because we have yet to determine its gender. (I feel it has already suffered enough indignities in its short life and doesn’t need us manhandling it.)

In the week it has been with us so far, we’ve tried several names on for size. Nothing has stuck so far. At first we tried Persie, short for Persistent.  When he/she/it proved to be quite the little escape artist, we called it Houdini. Murphy, Stubbs, Ugly, Cupcake and Cupboard (don’t ask) are a few of the others that have been thrown around. No wonder the little guy remains nameless.

I know he can’t stay in the house forever. I’ll have to find a permanent home for the kitten before too long, but for the time being I’m enjoying watching him grow. It’s hard to believe the little guy bounding around the house is the same one I found, half starved, a week ago.

I don’t think it will be too hard to find a home for him/her/it. Because I can attest that Mother Nature has done her job right this time. The sight of this cute, cuddly kitten is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings.