I found a kitten this morning. I was driving to work and I saw it, sitting peacefully right on the white line, just out of traffic’s way. I thought, huh. That’s weird. That kitten isn’t running away from the cars whizzing right in front of her. I passed her, and two seconds later I realized she must be hurt. I pulled over. Ran back. Picked her up.
She was about 16 weeks old, I’d guess, just at that age where they start to put on weight and fill out and lengthen. She was white and fluffy, with dark smudges at the paws, nose and ear-tips. I approached. She just sat there and looked at me. There was a trace of blood at her lips. I picked her up. She didn’t fight me, not at first. I walked as gently and as quickly as I could to my car, half a block up the street. When I opened the door of the car, she started to fight, but I held on, and tucked her into a spot by the wheel-wheel on the passenger-side floor. She curled up and just looked at me. I drove to work, just two more blocks down the road.
I made calls. I’m only visiting the area and I didn’t know who to call first. The best I could find that early was an emergency vet thirty minutes up the road. I couldn’t take that kind of time off. There was no one to work my position, and it would have been at least an hour round-trip. I wouldn’t be allowed to leave.
So I called the animal shelter. I found out where the supervisor was. I drove the two blocks to meet her at the police department (I didn’t even ask permission to leave — I was scared they’d say no, just said I’d be right back), and I loaded the kitten into the crate. There was more blood coming out of the kitten’s mouth, and she could only crawl on her belly when she entered the crate — she couldn’t bear weight anymore.
The animal shelter woman nodded at me. I opened my mouth. She gave me a look. I didn’t ask. I couldn’t.
So I can still tell myself that perhaps the supervisor fell in love with the fluffy thing and got the thousands-of-dollars emergency surgery she needed and will adopt her to a loving, happy, indoor-cat home. But really, I know that she was put down. I know that she was dying and by stopping to pick her up I helped to ease her misery by getting her out of it sooner. If I’d left her to die on the road it could have taken hours or even a day.
But I cried the whole time I drove back to work (all three blocks) and I bawled a message to Lala’s phone. Then I wiped my eyes and blew my nose and felt like a monster and went inside and did my work and ignored the others when they laughed at me. Good-natured, non-animal-people kind of laughter. But still. It was a really shitty start to the day.
The day got better. I’m done with my 14-day stint up here. I drive home tomorrow, and I’m going to take the Lost Coast home. The long way. I think a drive along the coast is just what I need. (PS to the locals: KHUM a RAD station. Luckies! You all non-locals might like it, too. I heard good bluegrass, David Byrne, Death Cab for Cutie, and Jack Johnson back-to-back. Listen HERE.)
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