I will always remember the day I saw him. I lived in an apartment and as long as I had lived there I had seen a beautiful feral cat that roamed the grounds of the complex. I wanted to adopt her but my current four cats weren’t open to a new family member and she seemed very unhappy being held captive inside. I fed her whenever I could, along with occasionally petting her when she would come near. She had lovely markings but the way her short fur and tight skin was pulled across her face she looked like a pretty version of Smigel from Lord of the Rings.
A few months after I moved in she came to my door with a kitten in tow. I leaned down to pet her but she backed away defending her baby fiercely. I put out a dish of food and milk for them then stepped aside letting them eat in peace. They were very close for the next year. You would rarely see one without the other watching from a nearby balcony or set of stairs. I named the baby Smidge to keep like her mother. I attempted to adopt them a few more times but while Smigel came close to settling down inside twice, Smidge was barely willing to come through the door so staying wasn’t an option. Either way I was in love with them so I happily fed them and sat outside on the porch to pet Smigel when she decided to let me.
I had been living there approximately a year and a half when I noticed I hadn’t seen Smigel or Smidge around for a couple weeks. I was worried that something had happened to them. I was also holding out hope that perhaps someone without additional animals might have been able to coax them into a permanent home. Every time I would come home from the store or return from work I would look for them but they had vanished. It was odd that even though they weren’t mine I cared about them so much.
Just as I had given up seeing them again I came home one day from work and there they were. Sitting in front of the patio of the apartment below mine Smigel sat proudly watching me as I walked by. There lying next to her in the grass was Smidge surrounded by four itty bitty kittens. They were just the most adorable little balls of fluff and fuzz. I knew they were bound to be just as skittish as Smidge had always been but I tried to approach them anyway. As I suspected they scattered immediately.
I started to head up the stairs to my apartment when I happened to glance back where the family had been gathered. There lying in the dirt was a kitten that wasn’t moving. I hadn’t even noticed him in the beginning because he was half the size of the others. My heart broke instantly because I know that feral animals will abandon their offspring if they believe they are too weak to survive. I was looking at the lifeless body of this sad abandoned kitten feeling the tears rush down my cheeks.
All of a sudden I saw its head turn the slightest bit. He was alive. I jumped back down the stairs and lightly touched his side with my finger. I could make out a faint heart beat and he was breathing but not well. I ran to my kitchen grabbing a paper plate so I could lift him but keep him steady. I took him into the apartment but I was presented with a problem as I looked around. I had four full grown territorial cats. They were already taking interest in the smell of this poor soul and I knew he was going to struggle regardless; I couldn’t make him face them as well.
The bathroom seemed like the safest spot so I placed some towels in the tub and placed him on one of them hoping he would stay warm. I got a regular dish and put some milk in it hoping he might be able to go get it sometime during the night. I also knew there was a very strong chance he wouldn’t make it through the night at all. Still I knew I had to try. I stayed with him for almost an hour before I finally went to bed hoping to get some rest.