Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This Is Why I Should Have a Point & Shoot Camera

How to explain my evening...

I wanted to start the Sustainability series with a story about Auntie Blanche but I was having trouble writing about it. Then I wrote other sustainability stuff anyway and other stuff about her and then tonight happened and it's the quintessential sustainability story and it cannot wait to be told.

I was heading home, as I usually do, crossing Flatbush Avenue (4 lanes, very crowded and lots of people going in lots of directions) and having to navigate stopped cars since the traffic cops weren't acknowledging the walk light. Approaching the other side of the street I saw 2 older ladies scolding some young men in a large truck. Since I'm not made of stone I looked back to see what the deal was.

My powers of description are OK but I don't know that I'm going to do this justice. Just work with me. You know how there are steps to get you into the cab of a semi? Lying lengthwise on the top step of this truck was a tank like an oxygen tank or a large fire extinguisher canister. It was attached to the rest of the truck with hoses so maybe it had to do with hydraulics, I don't know. Wedged underneath one of the short ends of the tank with only her face, one ear and a paw showing was a kitten. She was screaming bloody murder so it seemed like there was some urgency to getting her out.

I love living in Brooklyn where old school Brooklyn ladies make the world turn on their time schedule. They made those guys get out of the truck, they stopped 2 lanes of traffic and the forced a rescue effort. I went in and tried to coax the kitten out but she was super stuck. It looked like she had gone up underneath the steps then tried to get out between the step and the tank and gotten herself well and truly stuck. This all points to a litter of kittens born outside somewhere near where the truck was parked for a while. After a cursory try (with gloves! big work gloves the guy got specially out of the truck because kittens are scary) the guy turns to one lady and says, "It's stuck. We'll have to leave it."

Apparently he hasn't been in Brooklyn very long because that was so not an option. Yay Brooklyn Ladies!!!!!! I told them that if they just got the cat out I would take it but they had to get it out. So there we stood, gathering onlookers and traffic cops and a certain amount of panicked bile in my throat while the guys tried to figure out the problem. Finally they were able to pull the tank away from the step enough for the kitten to make a break for the 4 lanes of rush hour traffic. Its possible that I strained something screaming for them to stop the kitten right now! Fortunately one of the guys responded to my high pitched screeching and threw a sturdy work glove over it so it couldn't get away. (Yes she is small enough that did stop her.) I fairly snatched the kitten away from him, thanked them politely and speed walked in the opposite direction.

This kitten is maybe 5 weeks old at the outside. She's super cute, though covered in dust, and
she has a healthy set of lungs on her. She snuggled into my neck too so I didn't think she was injured but I couldn't take her home since I have fragile-healthed animals and I couldn't just bring her home without getting her checked out. My vet was a few blocks away so I went there as fast as I could walk with a screeching kitten and asked for help.

Helping is expensive.

Anyway, I told them my story and they said they were backed up and could I wait. Yes. They couldn't really take the cat. Did they know anyone who could? Blah blah blah. A few clients asked what was up so I told the story. One woman who was there with her daughter and their 2 cats who looked exactly like this kitten, (Pickles, I'm calling her Pickles since she got herself in suck a pickle) asked me if I would mind if she donated $25 toward the Pickles' care. Did I mind? Um, no, exactly how stupid do I look? The more I waited the more they tried to convince me to take Pickles home but I stuck to my guns. I also called a bunch of no kill shelters and got no help there either. So after calling a friend and ranting to her answering machine and asking if she wanted another cat I called Alex, who had offered me a ride, and decided to take my ride and my $25 to the emergency vet for a clean bill of health and figure out how to integrate Pickles' adventurous butt into my apartment when I got there.

Interestingly enough when I went back in and asked for my $25 I started to get some actual help. So she was looked at and deemed basically healthy though hugely stressed (shocker), so stressed that they couldn't test her for FIV or anything because they couldn't get any samples from her. They fed her, gave her water and I was then allowed to make the decision whether or not to surrender her ($150) or keep her. I made the, supposedly, smart decision and surrendered her, paying $125 to go along with the money donated by the awesome lady and signing away all my rights to Miss Pickles. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do I felt like a total heel.

Alex took me home and I walked my dog about 2 hours after her usual time, poor girl. As we walked Kath called and wanted to hear the story from the horse's mouth and (huzzah!) she's calling the vet and trying to adopt Pickles tomorrow. I hope she does because I didn't even have my camera with me and I have no pictures of the Pickle to show you and I hate that. Dude, she is cute as the proverbial button. I hope there'll be another chapter to this story and in the mean time please repeat the mantra with me: Please spay & neuter your pets, please spay and neuter your pets, please spay and neuter your pets...


  1. holy crap. I'm so glad the kitten was okay. Oh dear.

    Seeing stray animals kills me. I hate it. Even the concept of prolonging Dida's life makes me feel oddly guilty because of all the homeless and unwanted animals out there. Oy, the guilt.

    Anyway, the kitten will surely get adopted. Good for you for taking it to the vet. Great story!

  2. Reading this I am amazed all over again at your ability to get into these crazy situations. I'm glad you are a writer (and an animal lover)!

    No word back from the vet as of now. I will keep you posted.

  3. You are amazing!! Wonderous joo joo just follows you. and HOORAY for a possible Pickle adoption!! keep us posted.

    I love your heart!

  4. Anonymous5:54 PM

    See now if you're really serious about your love of animals, you'd randomly spay and neuter other people's pets too once yours are done.

  5. I'm so glad you helped save her! Those little scamps can get stuck in the most unusual places.

  6. Mike, if only I could. Hell, I might neuter some of the people, too.

    How does this shit happen to me? I don't go looking for it, I promise. I walk across that same street at the same place up to 4 times a week and nothing usually happens.

    If the kitten had been in an empty lot or if someone else was stepping up I would have walked away and felt bad about it afterwards. I guess life knows it has to smack the shit out of me to get me to respond.