The first time I saw her, she was wearing a hand-made from clothing-scraps harness at the end of a make-shift leash. The scruffy looking man holding the leash was homeless. He had permission of a sort to live in an out-building of the church next door to my home. I kept close tabs on him, and how he treated her. I saw that she ate before he did. But I also saw that he didn’t really know much about cats in general. I also saw clearly how much it meant to him to have this little thing to hold and love. I kept quiet and made sure that the kitten had kitten food, and occasionally I would make sandwiches for him.
A few weeks went by, seeing him with her every day. He would bring her out to the church’s courtyard for some sun and to use the outdoors for potty-time. Then put her back inside, close the door, and leave. I assumed to pan-handle or look for some kind of easy work he could do for a few dollars. Until one day he didn’t return. Or I simply did not see him as maybe he changed his routine. I didn’t worry until the next day, and him and her were still unseen. I raised the alarm to the office staff, and they got their key to open the door. There she was, hungry and scared amongst his small collection of belongings.
She ran away and we found her in the engine compartment of the car in our backyard that needed fixing. Scared and unhappy, and very hungry. She didn’t know if she could trust us, and our dogs were outside with us. Two large German Shepherds, a Labrador Retriever, and one not-so-tiny Chihuahua. We put the dogs back inside the house to help her feel safer. She didn’t know how cat-friendly they were. I could see that pretty little face of hers looking up, with eyes so big, and her voice was loud and crying. I had to be a contortionist to reach down and bring her out.
I picked her up and immediately learned that the harness he had cobbled together was too tight and it must have been painful. First thing first was to get scissors and very carefully cut it off from her so she could breathe and move more comfortably. She wasn’t too unhappy to have that thing off of her. I also discovered that she had an open wound on a hind leg that went all the way to the bone. It wasn’t bleeding, so it wasn’t recent, and it looked fairly clean and beginning to heal. I decided that food for her was the next important thing for her, and she gladly agreed by gobbling it all up. What a day she was having! After eating and feeling so much better, and drowsy, I cleaned the wound with some hydrogen peroxide and cotton balls. Thought about putting a cone on her to prevent her from licking the hurty, but decided to instead keep an eye on her to learn if she needed that or not. Looking back, I might have wrapped the leg with an ace-bandage type of cloth.
She adapted well into my family of other cats. I probably had about 20-odd rescues by then. I had 4 dogs at the time, and Dreamer, the Labrador, assigned herself to be the new kittens’ protector and shelter. We lived payday-to-payday, so money was an issue. I did get her to the vet for a check-up and shots, but getting her spayed was not doable at the time. We didn’t have any tomcats, no un-neutered males, so I wasn’t overly worried about her getting pregnant. I named her Valentine because she was so sweet and Valentines’ Day was only about a week away.
Eventually she did get preggers, but that is a part of Dreamers’ story.