|Spay and Neuter Your Pets, People.
||[May. 4th, 2019|08:46 pm]
Hey, did you know people actually leave literal cardboard boxes of kittens on other people's doorsteps? Even when said kittens are like a week old, the size of hamsters, and clearly not weaned yet?|
So, our morning didn't turn out like we expected it to.
We were on our way out to get a present for a friend's kid's birthday party (which was in 3 hours, never let it be said that I've outgrown my procrastination). And as we went out to the car, there was a cardboard box on the front walkway. I went through the following stages as I checked it out.
1. Oh cool, a package.
2. Why's the lid off?
3. What? Why would someone put a box at our door with three dead gerbils on a paper towel?
4. Holy crap, those aren't gerbils. And they aren't dead.
5. HOOOLLY CRAAAPP.
It might come as a shock to you, but we don't keep feline milk around the house. So I call the first place I can think of, which is Baxter's vet. They tell us to call a place called the Austin Animal Center. I call them, they don't pick up and their voicemail is full. Google around, consider the Austin Humane Society, but they don't open for another hour and also don't answer the phone.
The kids are meanwhile giggling about the "mice" in the box, I'm alternately dialing angrily and snapping at them to not even think about touching the mice.
Call the vet again, vet-phone-lady checks with co-workers and tells us to just take them directly to Austin Animal Center, don't worry about calling.
The place is maybe 25 minutes away. And of course the kids want to come along. So sure, let's make a family trip out of it, the birthday present can wait. I held the box of kittens while Nate drove, noticing how much their paws actually do look like gerbils' at this age, worrying about the one whose breathing seemed shallower than the others', wondering how long it had been since they ate, and growing more furious with whoever left them at our door. Did they know the mother was dead or tried to eat the kittens or something, and that's why they did it? Was it just that we looked responsible? Did they think our cat was the dad, because one of the kittens was gray (Baxter is quite neutered, thankyouverymuch)? If they just didn't know what to do or couldn't deal with the kittens for some reason, why not just ring the doorbell and ask for help? We would have helped. But leaving the literal cardboard box... If we hadn't had the party that day and hadn't needed to shop for it, who knows how long it would have been before we came out the front door? Then my kids could have discovered a box of dead kittens, which would have been fantastic on so many levels.
Vet-phone-lady was right, the Animal Center took the kittens right away. It was a little depressing—in the few minutes we sat in their front room, another 4 or so abandoned kittens were brought in, though none were as tiny as ours. I asked the person at the desk how many kittens they get in a day.
"In the spring and summer? A lot," she answered.
Another lady took the box, mentioned that the kittens seemed a bit cold and she was going to get them warmed up, and whisked them away into the back. All three were still alive when we handed them off, so I guess we did what we could. I felt a little bad turning it into someone else's problem, but Nate mentioned that that's what the place is there for. And the alternative of letting them die in our kitchen wasn't something I wanted to do either.
We made a donation to the Center before we left, because boy are those people probably overwhelmed, then got back in the car, and that was that. Nate and I tossed back and forth various versions of, "Can you believe people?" We went straight to the toy store to get the present, and then straight to the birthday party after that, only a little bit late.
It was weird to have something that urgent pop up and take over our life for a couple hours, and then have it disappear again just as quickly. I have no idea if any of the kittens will make it, whether that means making it to adulthood or making it to a home or what (I was just hearing about kittens who grow up without their mothers not learning to clean themselves and needing to be bathed regularly, aww). But I dunno, sometimes I wonder what the first part of Baxter's life story was. Or Chloe's. Maybe somebody will wonder the same thing about one of those kittens one day. And even though they'll never know the whole story either, I like the idea that it's written down somewhere.