The following story was a finalist in the Tales of Summer Tails Photo and Story contest. The top three finishers received $500 in cash, as well as $2,000 in cash and supplies for their favorite shelter. To read more stories, click here!
More than 18 years ago, we decided to rescue a kitten from our vet. This was a litter abandoned on the side of the road. We chose a tiny, feisty boy and named him “Bob”. Some years later, our daughter was born, and when she spoke her first word, it was his name in baby language: “Baba”. Her love for him was primal.
Baba survived and thrived through two human siblings, two moves and a house flood where we were re-located five times. He loved us wholeheartedly and unconditionally. Baba was a gift. After 18 years of life and struggling through end-stage kidney disease, we chose home euthanasia, which was gentle for him and incredibly painful for us. We wrapped him in a vintage silk scarf, sprinkled him with lavender and rose petals and buried him on our family’s property.
Leading up to his decline, in a state of grief, I submitted applications to various shelters. I thought it would be good for the kids (and us as adults, truthfully) to look forward to the potential of new life.
The same hour we buried Baba, I checked my phone. It was a text from TinyKittens Society saying they’d like to speak to us about our application for Wilder and Knickerbocker (now Pickle and Squish).
I believe in things happening for a reason. I believe we were sent these two beautiful kittens as a blessing and salve for our pain. No, they didn’t replace Baba. He was a personality and soul all his own, as are our boys. But they chased away some of the hurt of coming home to an empty house. Dwelling in the negative. Thinking we didn’t have the capacity to love another furry family member again.
It’s incredible to think that without TinyKittens Society rescuing Pickle and Squish’s feral mama Orinda, our boys would be sleeping and hiding outside in the heat of summer, trying to survive. Maybe they wouldn’t have survived their birth at all; some of their siblings birthed at the Society couldn’t even be saved. Maybe they wouldn’t have survived the heat of this (their first) summer.
The reality of feral cats and kittens is that summer can be deadly without access to shelter, clean water and food. That would have been the lives of our kittens if not for their rescuers.
Instead of being feral or even outdoor cats, in the heat of summer, they’re sleeping on the softest of beds, eating the best food and receiving heaps of love from our family.
Pickle and Squish for us are hope. The grief of Baba is still here, but our boys allow us to feel joy between the dark feelings of loss and longing. This summer is brighter because of them.Whizzco