"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Monday, August 31, 2009

Picking up a (feline) hitchiker

The project:
Adopt a stray kitten while on the road.

Moments - but a kitty lifetime of care to come.

Why bother?
It's not as if we needed another pet. We already have cats and a pond full of fish, the occasional insect pavilion (ladybugs to hatch, caterpillars to metamorphize, whatever the kids catch and bring in for temporary housing). But when a little fuzzball of a kitten found us on our first rest stop some 200 miles from home, we couldn't just leave it behind?

Wait. Let's back up and explain. We'd love to have larger pets, particularly farm animals, but we live in less than 1/4 acre (no horses, cows or sheep, for instance) in a homeowners association (no chickens, duck or anything resembling a farm animal). We like to travel, so we have no dogs. We've explained time and again to our girls that traveling with a pet is no easy task, particularly considering that many of the places we enjoy, camp and/or hike don't allow dogs.

At 4:30 a.m. we waved goodbye to our home and husband and headed east. The girls fell back to sleep for a couple of hours, but by the time we reached Arvin, Ca. shortly before 7 a.m., it was time for a rest. We pulled into a fast-food restaurant parking lot - we knew they'd have restrooms open that early. As we approached the restaurant door, a little gray ball of fluff with baby-blue eyes tripped straight to us. We picked up the kitten and searched the parking lot for other kittens or a mother cat. No dice. There was quite a bit of traffic both in the lot and on the ajacent highway. I couldn't just put her down to trip into the path of a vehicle, so we took her inside to find out whether the staff knew anything about her. They did. And were excited to see she'd been picked up. "She's almost gotten run over a few times." The kitten had appeared that morning.

Options: put her down outside and let her take her chances; find the shelter (is there one in Arvin? And is it no-kill?); take her with us. We live on California's Central Coast. Our trip will take us to Utah, Nebraska and Colorado before we return home in three weeks. That's a lot of travel for a kitten.

Our choice? Let me just say, if you want to keep young children entertained on a very long road trip, adopt a kitten.

Worth it?
Traveling with a kitten takes a little extra work. We've created her own little nest in the back seat complete with food, water, cat box and blanket. We move that nest from van to trailer when we get to our nightly destinations, and keep the windows closed on the van with a/c on even when the temps outside would allow for wide-open window driving. But it's all worth it. The kitten wanders the car, playing with anything and anyone resembling an entertaining distraction. Then she finds a lap, curls into a little ball and passes out. Great fun.

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  1. I think you should name your kitten LUCKY:)

  2. The kitty has lots of names, but none set in stone yet. Our choices so far:
    Lucky (good idea, Sue!)
    Mew-kiss (from the title of a cat drawing I made two weeks ago)
    Misty (It was when we picked her up - plus she's gray)
    and my favorite -
    Arvin McDonald


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