December 24, 1996 in Features

Frightened Feline Warms A Heart

By The Spokesman-Review

The plan all along had been to take the shivering kitten living under the evergreen shrub to the Spokane Humane Society.

I like cats. But because of asthma, I can’t have one. And I couldn’t very well ask a friend to take it because there was no certainty the wary little tabby would make a good pet.

Plus, there was another issue. After trying for almost a week, I still hadn’t caught it.

When I first became aware of the forlorn meowing coming from beneath a low snow-capped bush not far from my bedroom window, I assumed a neighbor nearby eventually would open a front door, call out “Kitty” and that would be that. But several frigid nights went by and that didn’t happen. Nobody was looking for it.

So I made a decision. That little cat wasn’t going to starve. And it wasn’t going to freeze to death.

Keeping the first part of that vow was easy. I started putting dry cat food, tuna and warm water under the bush. Lying in the snow, I watched the multicolored cat chow down.

I made a house out of a shoebox and slid it deep under the big bush. There’s no telling if the intended resident ever set a paw inside it.

Several nights in a row, the cat emerged from under the bush to sniff me and talk to me. I talked back.

“C’mon, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ is on, let’s go inside and watch it.”

But the cat would follow me only just so far. So I started trying to grab it with my gloved hands.

Not even close. And I got just one decent chance a night.

Now please don’t get the idea I’m trying to sound heroic. Trust me. If you had seen its pretty little face and heard the plaintive yowling, you’d have done the same.

My wife suggested using a net. So I went to The Outdoor Sportsman and bought one intended for use by fishermen. It had an aluminum handle and a lime green mesh.

Friday night, I showed it to the cat when I brought out dinner.

Then, Saturday afternoon, after standing still for a long time, I finally captured my quarry.

The surprised feline fought like a little tiger. My wife clamped a towel around the panicked kitten and began soothing it. By the time we got through the holiday traffic to the Humane Society on North Havana, the animal had stopped struggling. It purred and licked my wife’s hand.

A nice woman at the shelter named Shelly estimated the cat to be 5 months old. She said it was a good bet for quick adoption.

Saturday night, I went out and stood by the bush. And I listened to the silence.

, DataTimes MEMO: Being There is a weekly feature that looks at gatherings in the Inland Northwest.

Being There is a weekly feature that looks at gatherings in the Inland Northwest.

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