Oh, the night we had.
Lucy moved her five kittens sometime yesterday afternoon. Scorning the comfy box and heat lamp we'd set in her favorite nook just outside the back door, she opted for a cold and dirty spot under the house. I'm convinced it's my fault, because I performed a little eye operation on one of her kittens early yesterday (read: "removing the goopy crust from one closed eyelid with warm water and a washcloth"). I should have known by the dirty look Lucy gave me afterward that something was up.
When we found them, after much searching, we discovered she'd taken and crammed them all right up against the cement foundation. The only way to reach them was to first dismantle the dog house Dave built long ago for our ungrateful dog, Bear. Okay ... so the demolition work belonged entirely to Dave. I just stood by and made appreciative comments about the way his muscley arms bulged and flexed as he tore down the structure. But that's helping, isn't it?
While I stood and watched, I thought about the blog I'd write about the situation. I figured I'd write something about the great lengths God goes to in order to find us in our hiding places and bring us to a place of safety, or something along those lines. But then Dave started pulling kittens out and placing them back in their fleece-lined box. "Two of them are dying," he said.
I touched the two. They were ice cold, limp, and unresponsive. One had a noseful of dirt; Dave said it had been face-down when he found it. I felt sick--and completely responsible. I didn't know whether Lucy had dropped them on the cement when she jumped down from her box or whether they just got too cold under the house, but I felt convinced that the whole thing wouldn't have happened if I hadn't taken it upon myself to open that one kitten's eye.
We brought the box and Lucy and all five kittens into the house and tried to determine what was wrong. The two weren't moving at all and only breathed sporadically. I held them both and wrapped my shirt around them, but even after twenty minutes of that, they hadn't warmed up a bit. So I asked Dave to heat up one of the rice bags I made for Christmas a few years back. He brought me one and I laid that against my chest, then placed the two kittens on top, and covered them in a down comforter. They're still less than two weeks old--and we think they may have been premature, to boot--so I had to use the tip of one finger to stroke their little heads. I couldn't stop crying, because I knew I was responsible. While I sat waiting for them to respond to the heat, I thought that if I did end up writing about this, I'd write about how sometimes, when we insert ourselves in a situation in the name of “helping,” we really only make things worse.
It took two hours of warming, stroking, and feeding dropperfuls of barely-heated milk before the kittens were ready to go back to Lucy. Even then, I only had hopes for one--a little light gray tabby. The coal gray kitten improved, but still seemed very sick. I prayed the whole time I held them and prayed as I kissed them good night, but I fully expected to wake up to only four live kittens.
But God took pity on me. They're both alive. And here they are, clutching each other and resting. I think it'll be a few days before they're fully over the trauma of the whole thing, but I believe they're safe. And I'm so grateful. So I'm not going to write about the lengths God goes to find us or give a warning about unnecessary rescues. Instead, I just want to say, "Thank you, God--for hearing my prayers and caring about two tiny kittens."
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. ~ Luke 12:6 (NIV)