Free Kittuns (an essay) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2004, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: southern Maine
Posts: 2,604
Send a message via AIM to spacemonkey Send a message via Yahoo to spacemonkey
Free Kittuns (an essay)

I hadn't seen this one posted, so...

Free Kittuns
from an essay by Jim Willis, ©2002

The sign on the mailbox post was hand-lettered on cardboard and read "Free Kittuns." It appeared there two or three times a year, sometimes spelled this way, sometimes that, but the message was always the same.

In a corner of the farmhouse back porch was a cardboard box with a dirty towel inside, on which huddled a bouquet of kittens of different colors, mewing and blinking and waiting for their mama to return from hunting in the fields. The mother cat managed to show them enough interest for the first several weeks, but after having two or three litters per year, she was worn out and her milk barely lasted long enough for her babies to survive.

One by one, people showed up over the next several days and each took a kitten. Before they left the woman who lived there always said the same thing, "You make sure you give that one a good home - I've become very attached to that one."

One by one the kittens and their new people drove down the long driveway and past the sign on the mailbox post, "Free Kittuns."

The ginger girl kitten was the first to be picked. Her four-year-old owner loved her very much, but the little girl accidentally injured the kitten's shoulder by picking her up the wrong way. She couldn't be blamed really - no adult had shown her the proper way to handle a kitten. She had named the kitten "Ginger" and was very sad a few weeks later when her older brother and his friends were playing in the living room and someone sat on the kitten.

The solid white boy kitten with blue eyes was the next to leave with a couple who announced even before they went down the porch steps that his name would be "Snowy." Unfortunately, he never learned his name and everyone had paid so little attention to him that nobody realized he was deaf. On his first excursion outside he was run over in the driveway by a mail truck.

The pretty gray and white girl kitten went to live on a nearby farm as a "mouser." Her people called her "the cat," and like her mother and grandmother before her she had many, many "free kittuns," but they sapped her energy. She became ill and died before her current litter of kittens was weaned.

Another brother was a beautiful red tabby. His owner loved him so much that she took him around to meet everyone in the family and her friends, and their cats, and everyone agreed that "Erik" was a handsome boy. Except his owner didn't bother to have him vaccinated. It took all the money in her bank account to pay a veterinarian to treat him when he became sick, but the doctor just shook his head one day and said "I'm sorry."

The solid black boy kitten grew up to be a fine example of a tomcat. The man who adopted him moved shortly thereafter and left "Tommy" where he was, roaming the neighborhood, defending his territory, and fathering many kittens until a bully of a dog cornered him.

The black and white girl kitten got a wonderful home. She was named "Pyewacket." She got the best of food, the best of care until she was nearly five years old. Then her owner met a man who didn't like cats, but she married him anyway. Pyewacket was taken to an animal shelter where there were already a hundred cats. Then one day, there were none.

A pretty woman driving a van took the last two kittens, a gray boy and a brown tiger-striped girl. She promised they would always stay together. She sold them for fifteen dollars each to a laboratory. To this day, they are still together...in a jar of alcohol.

For whatever reason - because Heaven is in a different time zone, or because not even cat souls can be trusted to travel in a straight line without meandering - all the young-again kittens arrived at Heaven's gate simultaneously. They batted and licked each other in glee, romped for awhile, and then solemnly marched through the gate, right past a sign lettered in gold: "You are finally free, kittens."
spacemonkey is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2004, 03:57 PM
Premier Cat
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4,144
Heartbreaking.
All too true, though, I am afraid.
Lori is offline  
post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2004, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: southern Maine
Posts: 2,604
Send a message via AIM to spacemonkey Send a message via Yahoo to spacemonkey
Yes, when I think about the kittens sleeping just a few feet away, it really makes me glad I was in the right place at the right time.

I posted this because it's on the wall at the shelter where I volunteer. We get boxes of kittens, two or three litters in a week. Some must be euthanized - there will never be enough homes for all of them. A lot of the "owners" get upset when we say the kittens might be put to sleep, as though they suddenly care what happens to "their babies". What's better, a humane death or something that might happen as in the story?

As a side note, Jim Willis has written some great essays for animals, including this short one, which is one of my favorites (and also posted at the shelter):

The Animals' Savior

I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast-offs of human society.
I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal.
And I was angry.
"God," I said, "this is terrible! Why don't you do something?"
God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly.
"I have done something," He replied.
"I created You."
spacemonkey is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-18-2004, 08:14 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,986
*bawls head off*
ForJazz is offline  
post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-15-2004, 05:00 PM
Senior Cat
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Scotland
Posts: 769
Oh my, that made me cry. Why are there such people in the world and so many beautiful babies to look after.

Claire x
There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats!
Misty is offline  
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-15-2004, 08:36 PM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,262
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
So sad, but so true.




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-16-2004, 01:10 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 3,200
That's a horrible thought, but occurs much too frequently.
jessamica8 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome