I was driving home on I-45 with my brother Sunday at noon when I noticed a little black and white ball coming into my lane. I gasped when I realized what it was and moved sharply out of the way to avoid running it over. It was a tiny kitten. I had never seen a kitten that small before. I continued a little further down the road before I pulled to the shoulder and looked in my rearview mirror. People were hugging the left edges of their lanes to avoid hitting the kitten.
I was not sure if the kitten was alive by the time I had stopped. She had managed to crawl back onto the shoulder of the highway but was barely moving. When I saw her little form twitching, I exited the car through the passenger side and onto the shoulder and walked carefully towards the direction of incoming cars.
I took her within my grasp. There was a pea-sized amount of blood on her paws. She was injured and needed to see a doctor. We made a U-turn towards PetSmart and waited nearly an hour to see the cat veterinarian. My brother and I took turns holding and caressing her, in our attempts to calm her down. She huddled against my arm and I fell in love.We named her Lucia, which means “light.”
Lucia was dehydrated and hungry but, most of all, exhausted. It was a hard day for this kitten that was barely larger than my small hands. On closer observance, I saw that Lucia had bruises on her nose and mouth, which must have come from being blown back and forth on the highway. I believe her previous owner had left her on the shoulder of the highway, as we were high above the feeder when I found her and she could barely crawl up there, much less walk. The technician at PetSmart’s Banfield hospital told me that it was not unusual for people to abandon their pets on the road this time of year, especially kittens.
We brought Lucia home and allowed her to sleep in my cat’s kennel. She spent much of the day sleeping and ate only that evening. I gave her the antibiotic prescribed by the doctor. I had every intention of keeping her since we left Banfield. Unfortunately, my parents were closed to the idea of having another cat in the house. I tried to explain that she would not require much food and that my brother and I could pitch in extra money to care for her, but they were adamant that this helpless kitten in need would not be allowed to stay.
I cried so much in the last twenty-hours that I had her. I wanted her to get well and have a fighting chance for happiness. I despaired because I had a one-week deadline to find her a new home or I wouldn’t know what to afterwards. I instagrammed, facebooked, texted, and called as many people as I could that night. I barely slept. I kept going over ideas of what I could do for her. When she cried, I would leave for the restroom where she was kept and stay up with her. She was just a baby and she was hurt. She deserved so much more than what she was dealt with.
I awoke early this Monday morning to feed her and give her her medicine. Shortly after, I decided to make little advertisements to post around town, but not before checking my email for any potential offers. There was just one and it came from Vicki of Catnip Inn. She had received and answered the email that I sent late Sunday night. She would take Lucia in.
I was so happy and grateful for Lucia but sad for myself. I would miss her; she grew on me in less than 24 hours. After bringing her to Catnip Inn and seeing the attention and love that the ladies had for her, I was convinced that she is much better off with them. It doesn’t take the sadness away from my heart and mind, however. I still tear up thinking about her, hours after I had entrusted her with her new caretakers.
This experience has made me recall the time my friend and I spoke about adoption. He was the only biological son in his family; his brothers and sisters were adopted. He spoke of the emotional roller coasters their family faced with cases and how difficult it was to part with his siblings after they had grown attached to one another. I know it’s not the same circumstances but I can imagine how it must feel to part with one whom you have taken under your protection. It really tears you apart. You wonder if the child (in my case, kitten) will be better off in another’s hands rather than in your own.
Despite the depression I feel right now with her being away, I do not regret saving her nor do I regret the short time we had together. I would do it all over again, break my heart again, to save another one in need. We did not have a full day together, but I made sure to make memories with her and to see that she was comfortable before I left her new home. I am glad that I was able to do as much for Lucia as I could. My brother and I take comfort in the fact that she will have a chance at finding a family when she gets a bit older. I’ve read about the noble, self-less love that runs and gives life to all creation. This is the self-less love that I’ve been waiting to learn and give. We were meant to meet, Lucia and I. I learned a lot about love and about myself in the time we shared.