07 July 2009

Kittens Can't Fly (It Doesn't End Well)

I could have sworn I’d posted about the kittens last December, but a little jog down memory lane / blog archive shows that I did not. I think I probably tried to write about it several times, but it was too painful.

Just before Christmas, Mike burst into my office at the end of the day to pick me up and said, “Grab the camera! It’s raining kittens!”

“Wha?”

I did grab my camera and I ran outside after him. Apparently a Momma cat had stuffed her kittens in the roof of my office building for safe keeping, only one of them fell out and the other two were teetering close to the edge, so they weren’t so safe. The one who fell was fine. Mike found a ladder and pulled the other two out. We decided the best thing to do was put them in a box on the ground below their roof nest. If Momma was coming back for them, she’d be able to find them easily and pull them out of the box.

The next morning we arrived at work with bowls for water and some canned food, just in case the kittens were still there. One kitten was in the box. One kitten, the one who’d fallen off the roof, was wandering around the parking lot a few yards from the box. The third kitten was gone. It was the last day of work before the office closed down for the long Christmas weekend. It was obvious that Momma wasn’t coming back, but these kittens were way too young to be left alone. I couldn’t leave them in the parking lot for three days to be picked up by hawks or attacked by cats that weren’t their Momma. For that last day of work I brought them in to my office. They teetered and squawked and drank some milk and water. Everyone came to visit them, but as much as I talked them up, no one offered to adopt them. I decided to bring them home for the weekend to live on our porch and then on Monday I’d bring them back and raise them as office cats.

We created a nice little home for the kittens on our porch. We found a bigger box for them to sleep in, and they enjoyed napping curled up right on top of each other. They were eating and they were following Mike around whenever he was outside. The one who’d fallen was definitely the stronger, more adventurous one. I wanted to name them Blisters and Crumpet, after David Sedaris’s elf names in “The Santaland Diaries.”

I never should have named them. When we got home from dinner on Christmas Day night… let’s just say they were decidedly ex-kittens. We don’t know what happened, but perhaps there was something wrong we couldn’t see but their mother could and that’s why she left them. I was so sad. They were just stupid little furballs that I’d only known for 3 days but I’d so wanted to do the right thing in bringing them home. Nature is harsh, and Africa nature is especially harsh. I tried to console myself with the circle of life and all that stuff. But it took me awhile to stop being sad because so many people asked about them at work the next Monday morning.

Fast forward to this week. Not a kitten in sight at my office until yesterday morning. The one I found yesterday was a little bit older than the previous kittens. He was walking around the parking lot crying, but scampering away from any person that went near him. He seemed reasonably strong and healthy. A coworker had decided to bring him home at the end of the day. But when I returned to my office after lunch yesterday… another ex-kitten. Even though he seemed strong enough, it appeared he’d fallen off the roof, close to where the original kittens had been stashed. How he got back up onto the roof is beyond any of us.


Today there’s another kitten. It’s stuck in the ceiling above a coworker’s desk. We started hearing it hours ago and haven’t yet figured out how to reach it. There’s no ASPCA or Animal Control officer to call here. We are our own Animal Cops Bujumbura.

Why does this Momma cat keep stuffing her kittens in the roof?

1 comment:

derien said...

How heartbreaking. :( I'm sorry this happened to you. Nature IS, as you say, harsh, and there's a reason cats have litters. This brings back some similar memories of my own. *hugs!*

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