"Omigawd, Mom! A baby bird just fell in my window well..no, wait, it's a newborn kitten! Mom, I gotta go!"
And so begins yet another rescue story from my Mary, the former vet-tech. Fortunately, for the humans in her house, she is actually a music program director at a public radio station in southwestern Kansas.
So, it seems there is this fairly-ferrel catta (meaning a well-fed alley cat with all her reproductive organs in full force), who has a weird habit of selecting what she believes will be the weakest kitten and then dropping it in the window well of the local NPR station. No cries for help, no attempts to secure a good home. Just bombs-away and I'm outta here.
Something like the midwestern parents who found out they could drop off their unruly teens at any Nebraska hospital, no questions asked!
"Here! I can't handle her, you take her."
So, Mary takes this bundle of mud-crusted newborn eyes with her poop and mud-caked whip of a tail to the local veterinarian. He promptly agrees the kitten is only about three days old and sells Mary some mother's milk replacement and instructs her to put salve in the kitty's eyes. For the next several weeks, Mary and her loving family, feed this chirping bundle of white downey fluff with smudges of black and orange, about every three hours. All day, all night. As if that's not enough, Mary teaches my 10 year-old grandaughter, Emelie, the fine art of stroking the kitten's baby pink bottom with a rough washcloth, to simulate the mother cat's tongue and encourage "natural" elimination. Amazingly, Emelie is so impressed with the heightened sense of responsibility over her five year-old brother, Jack, that the gross-factor is close to nill.
As the kitten thrives, it becomes apparent that my reactionary exclamation of "We'll take her!" has come to fruition.
"Orphan Annie Patches" has come to live in Grandmama's house in Kansas City. She bullies the 85 pound dog, "Jake", into letting her have his entire cedar-filled dog bed. She charges at our 11 year-old orange tabby, "Buster", causing him to spew feline obscenities, while delivering a few well-placed baps to the forehead with his mitten-paws. Then, "Annie" arches her back a la Halloween cat, taking 2-3 sideways hops, snickering at the big ole tabby.
Trying my best to suppress my laughter, I remind "Buster", "You were one of Mary's foundlings a long time ago, too. Give her chance to grow up, okay?"
Heading for the refuge of the basement, he grumbles all the way about "rotten kittens nowadays".
Is it possible that my father has been reincarnated as "Buster"?!?!?