From the file of lost and found kittensPublished 10:32am Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Column: Sara Aeikens, Creative Connections
On a Sunday afternoon each September a group of churches gather their members in Albert Lea Central Park to sponsor an ecumenical picnic after their perspective church services. This year’s weather turned out to be close to ideal for both outdoor eating and game activities for youth. At our table a minister and his wife sat with us and later while we all munched on church member-made cookies, they shared a story spurred on by the following happening at our home the previous evening.
Around 8 p.m. at dusk, our front doorbell buzzed. Two young teens, each holding a quiet kitten about a foot long, inquired together if our household wanted to adopt a kitty or two for free. One was beige and the other orange. By coincidence, the day before I had paid a visit to a home with a calico cat that the Humane Society of Freeborn County referred to me because someone in the family had cat allergies. I love calicos but didn’t think it wise to add a family member.
I invited the boys to sit with the kitties on our living room sofa while my husband retrieved our large cat carrying cage from our carport. I discovered one of the boys lived only a half block away, so we phoned his mother. She agreed the kittens could spend the night in their garage in the cage and safe distance from the family dog.
While the boys played together earlier at Lakeview Park another friend told them he’d seen a car drop off the two kittens on the curb near the playground area. The playmates decided to take responsibility for the animals by carrying them around the neighborhood block, asking for a home for them. Our home was only their second stop. I sensed I’d say no to their request but wanted to encourage them in their efforts to help.
I phoned several friends to find out details and a phone number for our local Humane Society. As unacquainted neighbors, the mother and I met midway on Vine Avenue sidewalk and discussed options for the orphaned animals, who could eat and drink on their own but started to emit hungry-like meows from the carrier.
The three of them hauled the cage to their corner home, armed with information about needing to deliver their precious cargo at least by 2 p.m. the next day, before the Humane Society closed on Saturday.
I found out the next day, the kitties arrived to their temporary home safely and I increased my awareness about our local services for animals. Meeting a new neighbor became an added benefit. I enjoyed both boys and their caring attitudes, as well as both kitties, which created a fun adventure for all of us.
After I shared this short story with our ecumenical picnic tablemates, the minister’s wife told her cat tale about Peaches, whose meow sounded like a bird crying from their car’s wheel well. When they attempted to make a rescue, the 3-month-old-looking cat crawled up into the engine area, so when they opened the hood and finally caught it, the skinny, shivering and dirty kitten sported a coat of engine grease.
The rescuers soon immersed the creature in warm and soapy water for a needed bath. The kitty won their hearts by immediately purring loudly. Even though the couple already owned an older feline named Puff and fought a few fears about cat compatibility, the wife started to discuss whether they’d name her Pumpkin or Peaches to coordinate the kitten’s name with her coat color and stated, “Oh, we’ve just got to keep her!”
And they did.
To add to the topic of abandoned or lost stories, a teenage girl near our table told us how she herself got lost at a Renaissance Fair one time and the fair officials decided to close down the whole fair, just so they could help her find her family.
Abandoned kitties or lost kids join us together in little ways to provide us mutual support, such as when sharing with old and new friends at community church-connecting picnics.
Sara Aeikens resides in Albert Lea.