Wednesday Night, December 29, 2010, +- 10pm, Craig said…
What is that?!
We had gone out for supper that night. It was late and dark. The weather was cool, overcast and a little rainy. Unusual conditions for our summer. But, not entirely unwelcome. We had enjoyed a lovely meal at Lemon-Butta, thanks to our in-house babysitters. But, we were reluctant to end the evening, so, on our way home, we decided to drive around the neighbourhood having a look at the Christmas lights of the nearby homes.
It was a decision I’m so glad we made, because from then on some unusual circumstances unfolded. For us, anyway.
We reached the end of one cul-de-sac and, as Craig was turning his car around, his headlights picked up a ball of fluff in the gutter. "What is that?" Craig asked. As we drew alongside, we saw that it was a quivering mass of fur. "It’s a kitten!"
I carefully got out the car and approached the little thing, concerned about scaring it away. Scared also that it would react as most cornered cats do – with a fair bit of hissing. The tiny little thing did neither. Instead, it remained as still as its shivering body could manage, until I brought it up to my chest, and then it clung to me for dear life.
What to do? A late night knock at the neighbours’ door revealed that there had been a mommy cat and kitten out and about, but no one had been able to catch it. The owners? No one knew. So, the little fur ball came home with us to surprise my parents, and the kids the next morning. The poor little thing was frightened, cold and very hungry. Thankfully, my folks have a little kitten themselves, about 2 months older than this little mite, so we had some kitten food to feed it and even some sand tray crystals.
By 9am the next morning we were heading to the Onrus Vet. As we left my parents’ complex, we posted this sign that Kiera had drawn up at the exit gate. Anyone leaving the place would see the sign – guests, members, workers and admin staff. Surely, if it belonged to someone, they’d call us?
We didn’t have to wait long to see the vet. We all crowded in: 1 kitten, 1 vet, 1 granny, 2 parents and 4 kiddies. Our little quivering mass was not only slightly dehydrated, but also skin and bones. Estimating her to be about 6 weeks’ old, the very kind vet identified that she was female and gave her some meds, a vit B shot (that had her the most active we’d yet seen – yoowlll!) and some food.
She just about took off the vet’s finger when she was fed the recovery food. Starving cat she certainly was! All the while Craig spoke softly to the little mite. Although still nameless, she had most definitely wormed her way into Craig’s heart. We’ve had many opportunities to adopt little kittens in our lives, but Craig has remained firm on his policy – no more animals! Not yet, anyway. It was clear that, if no one claimed this little thing, she was going to change that policy. And really, who in their right mind could resist this little thing? Especially when, just 2 days later, New Year’s was ushered it with a thunderous lightning and rain storm that no kitten could have survived outdoors.
For our last 4 days in Hermanus, our sweet kitten remained nameless and rather timid and nervous. Gradually she got used to Craig and I. She rewarded us with her first purr that first day, and almost frightened herself to death with the surprise of the noise emitting from throat! But soon that little motor began running more often, more loudly and for longer periods. We waited for that phone call, but none came. We even tried to find the mother cat the neighbours had spotted. I did see a long haired tortoise shell behind the neighbours’ houses, but it ran away in fright before I could reach it. We did what we could to find her rightful owners. But, our time in Hermanus was coming to an end and we knew we couldn’t leave her behind.
So, when we finally left for home, she came with us, all tucked up in an old apple box, safe on my lap. I think we all sighed with relief when we took down Kiera’s "found" sign at the exit. She was ours! But…
…she was still nameless.
We’d tried a few names on for size, but nothing seemed perfect. Kiera suggested "Amberlite" for the light touches of Amber colour that she has – halving the pattern on her face and on spots on her back and legs. Sam stated matter-of-factly that he thought that "Mango" was a good name. We agreed, but still didn’t quite feel comfortable with it. There were the usual "Fluffy", "Storm", "Tabby" and "Abby" options. I suggested "Annie" as in Orphan Annie. But nothing stuck. Nothing completely suited this mild-mannered, gentle, serene sweet little kitty. Besides, she is so clearly Daddy’s cat, the kids were happy to let him have the final say. And, as yet, he was keeping quiet.
About 20 minutes outside of Hermanus, as we were heading home, Craig suddenly said…
I know what we’re going to call her.
Of course, I was all ears, as he had been so quiet about the choices so far – not really accepting or rejecting any. What?! What?!
Grace. "Grace", because, we saved her from the gutter — from certain death. And we adopted her into our family. She is the picture of Grace. Just as God gives us in Jesus.
Perfect! I loved it. Such a beautiful name that fit this graceful little one so perfectly. The kids loved it. And before long we were calling her Gracie too.
It’s been just over a week since we found her. A week since she was officially named. And little Gracie is not so timid anymore. Her little motor purr goes nineteen to the dozen. She is as playful as just about any kitten. She isn’t hiding in every nook and cranny anymore. She even looks up curiously at the door when it opens, instead of making a mad dash for her spot behind the couch. And, the big test of ehr comfort is that she happily tolerates Micah’s excited cuddles and gives Kiera the same royal affection treatment that she gives Craig and I.
She is one happy little thing. Fattening up and content as anything! We are so very grateful that we spotted her that evening. More so since finding out from mom that some neighbours had found a little kitten in the same road that we found Grace – except that that little kitten had drowned in a drain. So sobering and sad! It makes little Grace’s miracle story so much more poignant. And it makes us ever more grateful to be the ones to have saved her.
What makes you think that she has settled in?
Welcome Home, Grace!