My family’s usual pattern of cat acquisition goes something like this: surprise!, here’s a helpless kitten in need of a home, and you look like just the suckers to provide it. The only variation on the pattern this past summer was the number: kittens, plural rather than singular.

Our daughter Zora was away at camp, and my wife Sheila and I were in Shreveport, visiting my parents and meeting up with friends, who we would then caravan with to central Arkansas for a weekend at a cabin on a river. We had already borrowed a canoe from two other friends, and were borrowing straps from our friend Maurice to secure said canoe to our car.

While digging around in Maurice’s shed, we were surprised by a tiny female tortoiseshell kitten, who burst out onto the open floor meowing frantically. There was none of the typical shyness of the feral kitten, and she seemed more than ready to leave the Thoreauesque simplicity of life in the shed.

Maurice’s wife Valerie is allergic to cats, so there was no possibility of them keeping her, although they were aware of her presence. Maurice pointed out the mother, a very skinny gray tabby who appeared incapable of providing adequate nutrition for a litter of kittens. Fortunately for this one, I am the son of a still-clinging-to-sanity cat lady, who feeds, takes care of and traps, spays and neuters a colony of grateful house and porch kitties. Armed with such genetic predispositions, I sprung into action.

While I scooped up the barely-resisting creature, Sheila tracked down a second, shyer kitten whose faint mew could be heard in a corner of the yard, under an outdoor bathtub. This was an even smaller male, with enormous eyes and tufts of gray and black fur exploding in all directions, like a tiny feline mad scientist.

We found a box in the yard that could hold the kittens (unhappily, of course) while we finished our task. I called my mom, who graciously volunteered to host the little ones while we were away for the weekend, after which we would bring them home. When we returned to mom and dad’s house, she was ready with moist canned kitten food and milk replacer, a thick, rich elixir given to kittens who have been separated from their mothers before they are physically ready to be weaned. I should emphasize that she did not have to rush out for these items. When it comes to kitten rescue, Sue Parker is the equivalent of the St.Bernard with the little barrel of brandy saving avalanche victims in the Alps. These two little ones were in good hands.


Written by Mike Parker, Pet Sitter at Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution