This little guy entered my life a week ago. He was about 4 weeks old. My life has been on pause since. Here’s the story.
I was going to meet up with a friend, when her daughter became sick, and we postponed. I decided that I would take a yoga class instead. On my way, not even 1 mile away from home, the car in front of me began to slow down and swerve. I live in the “country” so there are always animals (squirrels, etc.) on the road (alive or dead), so I didn’t think much of. I slowed down as well. At first, I thought it was a chipmunk playing ‘chicken’ in the middle of my lane, when I then realized it wasn’t a chipmunk at all. I stopped my car. On a two-lane highway. A fairly busy two-lane highway. Why? Because it was a kitten. A kitten. It ran under my car and I wasn’t going to drive away until it wasn’t under my car because I wasn’t going to run it over. (To clarify, I wouldn’t want to run over a chipmunk either.)
All common sense went out the window when I got out of my car, and tried to coax him out. By this time there were at least 5 cars stopped behind me. I was able to grab ahold of him, climbing on my stomach underneath my car. Looking back I realize, (stupid!) that climbing under my car on a busy road to rescue a kitten is not the smartest move I’ve ever made. But I wasn’t thinking about myself, I was only thinking about how scared that little kitty must be.
I also realize that the kitten was probably feral, just like any other wild animal. Cats are a dime a dozen, so why rescue this one? Why was I driving down the road at the same time this kitten was trying to cross it? What motivated me to climb under my car for a cat but not a chipmunk? If it had been a chipmunk, I would have driven slowly and hoped that I didn’t hit it. But for a cat, I stop. I honestly can’t answer any of these questions except with, “I have a big heart.” I have a cat and dog at home. Cats are pets. Chipmunks are not.
Unfortunately, my cat and dog want nothing to do with this new kitten. In fact, my cat is so mad, she won’t even let me pet her. I have resisted naming “baby boy” in order to stay as unattached as possible because he can’t stay. He’s also a lot of work, he’s no longer bottle fed because he chewed up the nipple. He does his best drinking his formula out of a saucer (or lid to a jar) but still needs a mini bath after eating. He gets a milk beard, in addition to the milk mustache. He nuzzles my nose and purrs when he’s happy (or hungry). Needless to say, my household has been in upheaval.
My big heart is a blessing, most of the time. But to be honest, it’s been a difficult week. Three needy pets, all with the idea they are the center of the universe. I’m exhausted. Big hearts like to give and give; but they get depleted too. I’m still learning how to take care of myself first. It feels so selfish. But it’s not. “Put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting others.” Climbing under my car was not the best move in taking care of myself. What if the cars behind me hadn’t slowed down?
My lifelong challenge is learning to take care of myself first. My needs before others needs. Reality check: at the end of the day, I’m the only one that can (and will) take care of myself. And at the end of the day, I probably would still have saved that kitten and nursed him back to health; just like I’ve already done.