Guess who turns two years old today!
On February 15 2019, while I’d been under the weather for some weeks, I headed out in the cold that evening to see a pair of two-day-old kittens.
Their mother, a barn cat, had been killed by a predator the day before. A third kitten had died of hypothermia when some kind people can to rescue them. They got them through that first day of being orphaned, but feeding every two hours was a lot for a high school student. It was a Friday night and I’d intended to get them through the weekend and then contact a local shelter on Monday in case they had a nursing mother.
I didn’t think they’d last the weekend, they were so tiny–very low birthweight with some characteristics to suggest they could’ve been a few days premature. And little Gus very nearly didn’t get through those first twenty-four hours–while I fought to get him to feed, I did not know that whole time he had a congenital heart defect that would not let him live past eight weeks.
But he turned a corner. And they both survived. And once we got in a rhythm with both feeding well, I knew trying to move them again to another foster situation, even with a mother cat, would put their progress at risk.
So I kept them.
They were always my boys. Something in my gut told me that before I even saw them–the moment I heard there were these kittens, I had to see them, had to help them. They were mine. Even entertaining adoption possibilities while they were young, I couldn’t bear the thought of giving them up. When we lost Gus, there was no question Shawn couldn’t go anywhere.
We’re here, two years later. Shawn is accident prone and constantly in trouble. He’s simultaneously elegant and a total goof. I am never not in sight of him, as much as he tries to be an independent cat. He’s the little prince who rules over everything but still hides behind me when there’s a loud noise or a stranger at the door.
I am so grateful to have this little ball of chaos in my life.
He got several presents from me and from his auntie in Alabama, and has been enthralled with the toys all morning. Soon the cats will get some KMR as a treat, and he’s got new beds and climbers to rest on.
Every day I sing him “Future Days”–sometimes just a few lines or the chorus, but other times the whole of the song. To get the kittens to settle after mealtimes, even when they were just two days old, I’d hold them against my chest and sing–every damn time–as the vibrations likely seemed like purring to them. He likes songs and usually won’t settle at night until he gets one. Now he even recognizes it as “his” song–last year when I was playing The Last of Us Part II, there’s a point where Ellie (at the theatre) sings the first line. When Shawn heard it, his head bopped up and he went straight to the TV to watch in fascination.
So I leave you with the Joel version of Shawnie’s song, and the hope that we have many more future days to come.