It was a beautiful Easter day here in Maine – temperatures flirting with eighty in some places and just the right amount of cloud cover over our homestead to keep the heat from becoming too much. Best of all, we were able to get together to enjoy the day with friends and family, to cement in our hearts the power and meaning of Easter.
Anyway, we’re back with Once Upon a Kitten! Part 2 will pick up where 1 left you all hanging in utter suspense. What shall it be? What awaits those three MIA stay cats who have vanished in the coldest days of winter? Well, here you go. I won’t keep you hanging.
December 19th . . .
I seem to recall a sort of fog that morning. A dusty curtain of clouds to shroud the dawn. It was when we looked out onto the driveway that we saw her, a thin, bedraggled kitten coming towards the greenhouses. Her focus was set in determination, as though her purpose in returning to us a week and a half after the disappearance could not be thwarted.
We were in shock. Days of temps pummeled well below zero, tempest winds reaching the level of ferocity, not a bit of our cat-food offerings touched . . . We had given up hope, assumed their lives had been snuffed out. But here Lentil was.
She hid in the greenhouse/winter-firewood-storage-house for the first hour or so while we set up a have-a-heart trap with cooked chicken inside and some regular cat food outside the trap simply in an effort to nourish her. She looked so scared, her eyes wide, her pitiful meows of hunger coming from behind the firewood where she hid from us.
We watched from inside the house as she spent the morning in refusal to eat, seeking only the snow, which she licked relentlessly while wandering the space between the two greenhouses where she, Yarrow and Ali had lived, had played, had slept. At times she would simply lie down upon the snow above the same place she had once huddled with her family. We were heartbroken.
And then she returned to the greenhouse . . . and entered our trap. And just like that, Lentil entered our lives in a whole new way. After my father had spent the last several years taking a stand that we would never own a cat . . . well, those three strays had earned a special place in his heart. He had no misgivings about saving Lentil. 🙂
The frightened little creature fled into one of our upstairs rooms and hid behind two boxes. There, she remained. We quickly realized she was coming out at night, as her food was clearly nibbled at. Over the next weeks, I worked to gain her trust. Holding out bits of cooked meat, talking with her, reading to her.
This effort paid off. I’ll never forget the milestone moments. There was the day she first took food from my fingers as I reached into her hiding place. The day she first came out to eat from her dish despite my presence. The first time I succeeded to pet her. The first time she climbed upon my lap and licked my fingers. The day she followed me downstairs and later to sleep on my bed – that lasted all of one night, thanks to her waking me up by tirelessly licking my arm and nibbling my hand.
Long before that point, Yarrow, too, returned. To this day, we feed her in front of the house. She has become a good deal more trusting, even so far as to hide in the bushes while we set out her food, and then come out as soon as we’ve left. Sadly, it was Ali, dear, sweet, gentle Ali, that we lost in that mysterious vanishing of the three so many months ago.
Still, Lentil and Yarrow’s survival is a miracle. Our best assumption of that week and a half in December, is that the three of them were trapped in our neighbor’s barn, among the bales of hay. No food. No water. Maybe it is true what they say of cats’ nine lives. Or maybe it was just God’s way of giving us a little gift, of taking care of the sparrows . . . or cats, as the case may be.
Lentil sleeps on the carpet as I write this post, curled up in a slice of sunlight that peeks through the window. We have begun to allow her passage to the outdoors now, due to her noisy insistence. While this poses a good deal of risks, I believe it has made us all the more grateful for and inspired by her incredible – and true – story of survival.
God has told us through His Word that His eye is on the sparrows. Whether it is on a bird or a helpless cat, it is comforting to me to see firsthand the truth of that scripture. I hope her story inspires you, too! We all have seemingly insurmountable obstacles in our journeys. But God is really good at those.
He took care of and continues to watch out for our dear little Lentil and by His mercy does the same for us. I know He is watching out for you too.
Blessings and happy trails! More to come on stray cats . . . some day. I have a particular fondness for them now. 🙂 Meantime, I’ll be back to blogging about writing, reading, writing and . . . well, writing, of course.