Last night when I got home from work, it was past midnight. As I walked out to the horses I looked up and saw all the brilliant stars in the heavens. The air was still and traffic had long ago let up on the road. On Sunday night, this town rolls up the sidewalks early. I could feel the warm air on my face and the horses nickered in anticipation of grain and hay. Suddenly, I heard a loud meow of distress. At first, I thought it was one of my cats in the enclosure. I had worked an 8 hour shift and thought perhaps McKinley or Everest had spotted me and wanted to visit. So I stopped and waited. By this time, I was close to the horse fence. I heard the meowing again, this time louder. A strange meow, not one I recognized. The cat, whoever it was had sent a signal a feline SOS.
I opened up the tack room and grabbed a flashlight with a strong beam. Shining it above my head, I scanned the branches of the centuries old pine tree near the barn. I swept the light back and forth looking for the source of the sound, and then I spotted the cat. A small kitten clinging to a cluster of branches about 20 feet up. A tuxedo kitty by the look of things. A very frightened tuxedo kitty.
It took me about an hour of coaxing to convince the kitten who didn’t know yet that cats have to climb down a tree backwards- to walk across a wide expanse of the branches and jump onto the barn roof. It was a long hour and I knew if I couldn’t get this kitten to trust me- he would find himself confronted with the family of coons who call that tree home. I know full well that raccoons will kill kittens and even cats if they occassion calls for it.
I had climbed up a ladder and put a bowl of wet food on the roof to coax the kitty out of the tree and finally after many trips all over the tree, the kitty understood what I was asking. Once he was on the roof, it was simply a matter of climbing up and grabbing him.
He was a mess of cobwebs, pine needles and dirt. I would say he is about four months old and he was trembling. I scruffed him and carried him gently to the house. When we neared the kennel where I had put Baron- he saw him and started to growl and scrabble in midair. His hair went up and I knew without question that Baron had chased him up the tree. This feeling was further reinforced, when I finally got him nto the house and set him on the floor. Kody came over for a sniff and he gave Kody barely two thoughts before he rolled over on his back and allowed him a lick.. Kody has always been a dog so cat and kitten-friendly.
So although Panic isn’t with us anymore, God has sent another creature in distress. As skinny as he is, I know he hasn’t had groceries in a very long time. I am calling him Levi.