Kitten dropper left burden for others to bear

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023

By Harold Brummett
Denmark Star Route

I do believe I killed the kitten. I am not sure, and do not really want to know for sure, but in my mind I killed the kitten as surely as I had put the needle in myself.

The whole thing started a couple of weeks ago. A shadow, a kitten cry, a streak of movement in the corner of the porch – did I really see that?  A trap was set and nothing. The cat food was eaten and the trap was not sprung.

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A few days went by and the kitten was seen a bit more. Hunger driving it rather than curiosity. Joseph came home from work and put a bowl of cat food out just for it. The small animal was winning us over. I continued to set the traps and it continued to rob the traps.

Joseph and I realized the little thing was so light that it would not trip the mechanism. We decided we must add weight to the trigger of the trap to make it more sensitive so the magnets came out and attached to the trigger.

A lid added to act as a food bowl at the very back of the trap so the kitten would have to walk over the trigger to get to the food. The kitten took the food and wandered out of the trap like leaving the grocery store.

The kitten got to know us and became bolder but humans and the other animals continued to be equated with danger.  Eventually at night we would catch it as it slipped up to the full glass front door and watch what was going on inside.

Three dogs reside with us at the time, Blossom the canine matriarch is a 2001 model who couldn’t hear and you could see the frosting of cataracts in her eyes.  Perry, a middle aged old man of a terrier, was a gift from Maria before she went to the nursing home. Then there is Milo, who until recently was a resident of the Oxford Lafayette Humane society. A terror of a puppy that is destined to take the spot of Baby who passed away midsummer.

Baby was Papas dog and renowned in her protection of her territory from raccoons, possums and other wild things that would eat our chickens.

There are the cats that live with us. Pixie, a retired barn cat who after years of living at the barn and hunting mice, decided one day it was time to pack up the claws and head for warmer and cooler conditions that better suited her old bones.

Pixie came to the house one day and stayed, spending her days sitting or laying, staring at the other animals and daring them to bother her. Two grandcats that were living with us who belonged to my daughter.  One cat is a large Jabba The Hutt of a white and yellow male named Peko whose favorite pastime was laying with Papa in the big chair;  and Reese a multicolored female cat that meows constantly.

When we went to feed the cows, she traveled with us commenting on everything.

To the kitten the house must have looked like something out of a dream. The kitten watched animals and people living together, food and companionship and most of all safety. In a world where the kitten must have come from, humans were to be feared, other cats and dogs enemies.

To the kitten, danger was everywhere and trust was deadly.  When I did finally catch the little thing, it went into a spasm of fear. The trap held and I covered it with a blanket to limit the outside stimulus and calm it.

The kitten was quiet on the drive into town. I walked into the animal shelter, filled out the forms and the lady took the terrified kitten outside and returned with my trap.

It was crowded and I wanted to ask the lady, was the kitten all right? Would it be taken care of and be gentled out and find a home where the humans and animals sit at night?  I knew the answer. There are too many cats, too many dogs, too great the need, too few the resources.

Little hope for a feral kitten, the rest need not be said.

To the person that dropped the kitten at our driveway,  I did what you would not do. You think a farm can always use another cat. Or a dog. Go back to your home thinking you did the best you could for the kitten.

Perhaps you did.  Sleep well.  I did the heavy lifting for you. I made the hard choice.

Write to Harold Brummett at denmarkmississippi@hotmail