Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Serendipity: The End or the Beginning?

He popped the lid open and poured out the yummy morsels into the little silver bowls he just purchased. He gasped like a girl. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but he gasped because she devoured her food like an animal. A big animal. A TIGER in fact. She gulped down her food while growling in what could only be described as ecstasy. She did struggle a little. Swallowing seemed a little new to her, but the food was small enough and so she ate and ate and ate until her poor little belly bulged with satisfaction.

I was rather pleased with myself and Rigid was rather shocked. We were so afraid she wouldn't be able use her jaw properly and I still feared that it would end up locking up on her or getting infected. It was just too early to tell. I really just wanted to run downstairs and take her into my arms, what a triumph this was, but all of a sudden it hit me again. I have three cats. I have THREE FUCKING CATS! One of which is pregnant. I can't take care of another kitten and my cats litter. 'What am I going to do? If I hand this kitten over to the pound they'll kill her in a matter of days. If I try to give her to someone will they care for her the way I could and nurture her back to health? What am I going to do?', I thought.

How long will it be before the pet store opens? We checked the clock constantly while we discussed the kittens options. Before you knew it enough time had passed. He walked over to the pet store with the kitten in his arms and I had to run off and get some work done so I couldn't listen in on his conversation. A short while later he called me with a phone number. There was nothing they could do. They couldn't just take the kitten from me. We'd have to call the organization on the flyer they gave him and wait for a return call. If they accept the kitten they'll let us know right away but he should wait for a couple of hours. They also mentioned the Veterinarians office just behind the store. He could have the kitten checked out there. He was already on his way as he was giving me the phone number. I was disappointed and close to tears. I didn't want to give her up, but I just couldn't keep her. Especially if those really were stitched pieces of this rope like material embedded into her skin. I've never had to care for a kitten in her situation and I just didn't think I could cope.

I called Kris Kelly, founder of The Kris Kelly Foundation an animal rescue organization, and was forced to leave a message. It went something like this:

"Hi, this is Michelle Su...Stewart. My number is 555 555 7449. I...rescued a kitten from the freeway this morning. I don't actually know what happened or why I did it, but I nearly killed myself and probably loads of other people just to get to her. I have three cats though, and I don't think I'll be able to care for her in the long run. Her jaw seems to be injured, but she's eating solid food, her eyes are clear and her lungs are nice and strong. She's a fighter and I know that with a little care she'll be okay. If someone could call me back I'd greatly appreciate it. Again my number is.... Thank you."

Suddenly I had an overwhelming urge to cry. I tried to suppress it as hard as I could, but a few tears did escape. I was doing the right thing. They'd call back and I would give her up if they'll have her. The phone rang as I quickly brushed the tears away in the hopes that no one saw me. It was Rigid. He'd been to see the vet, but she wasn't in yet. The nurse quickly inspected the kitten and looked at the pieces of rope on her belly. She looked really closely at them and said it looked like it could be plant matter. She pulled a little to see how badly it was embedded in her skin and it came right off. It was plant matter! They weren't pieces of rope at all. They pulled all the little pieces of plant off her belly and she was fine. Her jaw was the only concern now.

I laughed when he told me. How could we have not realized? Was it the panic? No, I hadn't mentioned a thing to Rigid and he said it first. He verbalized exactly what I had suspected and that nurse initially thought the same thing. Well, it didn't matter any more. Now all we had to do was wait for a call. He waited for a while and we chatted while I worked, but I realized it was pointless to stick around. He'll have to take the kitten home and deal with three angry cats, namely The Morrigan. She'll be the worst of all. We'll figure out what to do with the kitten later.
It took some doing of course, but I talked him into it and off he went. All day all I could think about was the kitten and what it looked like when I first spotted it. Every time the vision of her pointed little tail bobbing straight up into the sky crept into my mind my heart skipped a beat. I tried to forget about why I did it. Ignoring the strange looks I'd get was difficult as well, but for the most part my friends and co-workers just chalked it up to my love of cats.

Four hours had gone by. I just couldn't believe how busy I was, of all days. As I worked I started to wonder if I'd ever get a call back. I began to daydream about the incident and recreated the event in my mind. Holding back tears I wondered why something like that would happen to me. What was it? What happened? Was there a purpose to all of that, some sort of meaning I was missing? A vision of the kitten's face floated through my mind and I said, "Serendipity" out loud. I surprised myself.

The girl next to me said, "What? Serendipity what?"

"I think I just named that kitten I rescued." I said.

"Oh oh... That's not a good sign. Are you thinking of keeping her?"

"Oh my god. Yeah, dude. I can't give her up. I fucking can't. What am I going to do? My husband's going to be pissed, but I think I'm already too attached. I mean in just a few hours I'm so attached to her I just want to cry."

"Well Michelle! I mean you rescued the poor thing from the freeway! Of course you're going to get attached to it. It's perfectly understandable. I'm sure you're husband will understand and 4 cats... It's not that big a deal. Plenty of people have more than two cats." she said. I thought she was just being sympathetic to be nice, but I think she really understood what I was going through.

Thirty minutes later I received a call from Kris Kelly herself. We spoke for several minutes as I recounted my story for her. She told me they'd be happy to take the kitten and let me know what a wonderful person I am for taking such a risk. That I'm an incredible human being and it's wonderful to hear that there are still people out there like that. I let her know I was already having second thoughts about giving up the kitten, that I didn't think I'd be able to do it. My biggest concern was if she had something simple like the sniffles for example. She could get a minor infection and her jaw might not heal properly. Will someone actually care for her and give her medication if she needs it? Will she be cared for the way she deserves to be? The way I could care for her? She assured me that unless the kitten has Parvo she'd be well taken care of. The Vet behind the pet store will give her extraordinary care and I could come and visit her everyday until she's adopted if I wanted to.

She wanted to reassure me somehow. Let me know that whatever decision I made was entirely up to me and completely understandable considering what had happened. She also wanted to remind me that it is a lot more difficult to give up the kitten once it's gotten a bit older if I suddenly realize that I really can't handle that many cats. My heart was breaking and again I found myself fighting back the tears, but I stuck to my guns and thanked her profusely for calling me. "When I make my decision I'll give you a call back." I said, but I was honest, I didn't think I could do it. Luckily she understood...completely.

When I got off the phone I called Rigid and told him about our conversation. The tension I felt kept forcing me to hold my breath as I anticipated another argument. He said, "I knew you wouldn't be able to give her up. She's quite happy with me you know. We've bonded. I can't even clean the house without her. She won't leave my side, hah little momma. You won't let me clean will you. Awwww, pretty baby kitty...." He continued to coo the kitten in this way and a wave of relief just washed over me. I still wasn't sure, but we were going to keep her for a little while and see how she does. She's cheerful, her eyes are clear her lungs are strong and her appetite is just perfect. The only thing to worry about are the fleas and her jaw.

That was it. I went home and played with her and took care of her. You could clearly see that Rigid and she bonded intensely. Just that morning he was ready to throw her out into the street. He even threatened to throw her back onto the freeway, but I realized that he was just angry and afraid for me. I think he felt so out of control because he could have lost me that morning and he wouldn't have known why. I do understand the anger and frustration he felt. I've felt it many times for him....many, many times.

Later that evening we decided on a name. He had already named her Q, after John de Lancie's character in Startrek Next Gen. Take a deep we go again.

"Are you retarded? I'm not going to call her Q!!! Hello??? Morrigan, Salem, Artemis & Q??? It's ridiculous. Besides, I've already named her." I said indifferently.

"I named her first and I took care of her while you were at work hooha! We bonded. She already responds to Q see..." he shook her in his direction as he called her name.

"Oh no! That doesn't count. No way! You're full of shit. I'm not going to call my cat Q dude, you're nuts." I bantered on this way most of the evening. I sprung my name out and told him how it just came to me, but he was unimpressed.

"What's serendipitous about that? I mean, what were you doing that when you jumped out of the car, caught the kitten then clung onto the car for your very life made it all serendipitous? That's not serendipity? There's nothing serendipitous about it so you can't name her that see? It doesn't make sense and Q makes sense see?" he said. I clamoured to make sense out of it all in my head. I had it in there somewhere...the answers I was seeking. They were there in my grasp and he'd just put me under the microscope yet again. I was beginning to feel rather foolish, but I wasn't about to be outdone.

"Bravery!" I exclaimed triumphantly.

"How do you figure that?" he said with a raised eyebrow.

"Well," I paused for dramatic effect and to try to put my words into perspective. "I told you I had been daydreaming just before I spotted the kitten remember?"

"Uhuh." he said dubious of where I was going with this.

"So I was completely in my head and I was daydreaming about my little sister and everything that happened to us. I was wishing I could find the courage to call her. To apologize and accept her apology and be done with it all, but I felt that I just didn't have the courage to do it. I was looking for the courage to call my sister you see???" I said. Suddenly my ass started making sense...You know, when you talk out of your ass it doesn't always make sense, well this did and I ran with it.

"What??? You didn't tell me that. Whatever, I still don't see how that's serendipitous." he said.
"It's easy. GAWD your so retarded. How could you not see! In looking for the courage to pick up the phone and call my sister...In looking for the courage to face my fears I found a courage much bigger than that. I found something bigger than that and more important. I found a courage and bravery I didn't know ever existed. It doesn't matter anymore you see? What happened between us, my sister, her husband, all of us! It just doesn't matter anymore." I explained.

"I still don't get it." he mumbled. He held the kitten and explained why he didn't get it to her. "No we don't do we Q. We don't get it. Mommy's stupid because she's full of shit." he teased.

"JEZUSSS! In trying to find the courage to face my sister (aka my fears) I found a greater courage, one I didn't realize I had, and saved a life because of it. This is serendipity. It's the very essence of serendipity." I said to him. To the kitten I said, "He's retarded isn't he Serendipity. Yes he is. He's a freakin' retard 'cause anyone would have understood that. Aw, pretty Seren."

In the end we compromised. Well, in all honesty I forced a compromise on him. He absolutely refused to call her Seren and I refused to call her Q. What a dilemma. So I thought about it for a few days and decided that Q did make sense. She did "pop" into my life and wreaking havoc all the while leading me on a dangerous road to self discovery much like Q did in Startrek for Captain Picard. Hence the name: Serendipity Q Stewart. It's the strangest name I've ever come up with, but what the hell I just went with it.

That was it. Her jaw healed up nicely. Yesterday I inspected her again and it's finally completely closed and the hair on her lower lip is all grown in. Apparently her jaw wasn't out of whack it was just swollen. She's grown really well and her diet currently consists of wet food, dry food and Artemis's milk. Despite the happy ending I do have bad news. Artemis lost her entire litter in just a few days. At the moment I can't even remember when it happened, but it did and I hadn't been able to write since.

I really felt like it was my fault. I tried not to interfere with her, but Rigid was there when they were born and didn't know what to do. By the time I got there he'd already handled them to help them feed. That was a huge mistake, but I didn't know. Not until I moved her box so she would get in it. He just grabbed the kittens and placed them in her box moving them all forcefully. He didn't mean anything by it and was just trying to help, but Artemis never got comfortable in her box because of that.

Either way the truth of the matter is that she's just too young and didn't quite know how to care for them. We should have separated her entirely from the other cats, but she wouldn't have been able to handle being all alone in a room. I was screwed no matter what I did. If I locked her away after she had the kittens she's scratch at the door all day and night leaving her kittens to die overnight. So I didn't do it, but she didn't care for them properly either. By the time I tried to intervene it was too late. I tried heating pads, feeding them with a bottle, whatever I could. It didn't matter. She'd leave them for too long and there temperature would go down, so I'd place them on a heating pad and when she'd come back she'd move the kittens from the pad somewhere else, sit with them for a few minutes and walk away.

She never truly abandoned them so it made it difficult to take over completely. Not to mention the fact that I have no idea how to care for newborn kittens. It was gut wrenching. They looked so healthy and strong the first few days, but one by one they were lost forever. I cried a lot, and Artemis looked for her kittens once they were all gone for about 4 days, but since Seren was there the whole time she got over it really fast and has really connected with her. They're practically inseparable so I suppose that it all worked out in the end.

Artemis had a surrogate kitten before she needed it and Seren still gets to be a baby kitty. She's not as attached to me as I'd like her to be because of that. Can you believe I'm a little jealous? I could never replace the bond shared between a mother cat and her kitten. Fuck...I think I need a baby. LMAO!!!

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