A couple of weeks ago we found a new home for our kitten (almost a cat now) Doji. We found him last fall when he was just a few weeks old. There is a feral cat colony living in a backyard/alley next door and Julie discovered him one day meowing loudly like he was in pain or afraid. He was tiny. The first night he stayed in our apartment we put him in the bathroom so that he would be in a small space and couldn’t get into trouble. In the middle of the night, maybe 4 am, I went in there and turned on the light and he was gone. We searched all over the apartment and couldn’t find him. It was very upsetting. And then I went back into the bathroom and I noticed that there was a hole in the wall behind the sink and I wondered if somehow he had crawled into it. It was an awkward space and there was no real way to look into it or shine a flashlight in or anything. So it became clear that I would have to stick my arm in the hole and see if I could find him.
Not sure how you feel about this, but for me, sticking my arm into dark holes where I can’t see see anything and I’ve no idea what is down there is usually the kind of thing I experience before waking up from a nightmare. Call me what you will, but just the thought of it was utterly terrifying. But you know, I had to find this kitten, and that desire was stronger than my fear. It made me realize just for a moment (and on a much smaller scale) what it might be like to be a parent and want to protect your child at any cost, to completely ignore what may scare you because you have to do this one thing.
So I stuck my arm down there and I felt around and lo and behold, once I was in up to my elbow, I discovered something furry. Could have been a rat, I guess, but it didn’t bite me and judging from the circumstances seemed more likely it was Doji. But I poked him and he wasn’t moving and I thought, “He’s dead.” So now I was going to be pulling a dead kitten out of a hole in the wall.
But no, after a second I could feel just a little bit of stirring and I was able to get his head between two of my fingers and draw him out of there. He blinked into the bathroom light and he was fine. We stuffed a towel in this hole.
So we raised him for a few months and he was great but he was also very, very wild. And I’m pretty sure that after coming from many generations of feral cats he had some extra amount of aggression in there somewhere. The male ferals in the neighborhood are really something; they are the biggest, meanest, toughest-looking cats I have ever seen. They have to be to live outside year after year, fight off dogs and possums and raccoons and other cats trying to get in on their territory. I’d be scared to go anywhere near one of them. And one of these was his father. But he was also very affectionate too, it was hard to say. In any event, he seemed too wild for a one-bedroom apartment and he now lives on a large farm in rural Virginia and we hear that he’s very happy there. I am quite sure that he is the only cat living on this mountain in Virginia that was born in Brooklyn, New York.