In Magna Intuitum, I recently wrote about how the Universe works in mysterious ways, and it’s still behaving mysteriously. Friday evening I was called to go outside, where I found a tiny kitten sitting on the front pathway. He was just sitting, meowing quietly while one of our other cats was sitting a little distance away wondering what on earth had arrived on his front lawn.

My partner (R) was sitting down chatting to the kitten, so I walked over to our other cat and picked him up. R said ‘he’s only got one eye’. His right eye was closed and he was trying to see everything in this new environment around him, with just his left eye. R put some cat biscuits down. He would eat one and then meow, eat another and then meow … ! It was as though he was saying thank you for each biscuit as he ate it. I was holding our other cat in my arms who was watching all of this with interest; but really didn’t want to get any closer.

We live in the middle of a huge farming community, so we couldn’t work out where he had come from. How had he found us? We locked both our other cats indoors and phoned our neighbours. We left messages; but no-one returned our calls. As autumn is definitely upon us, we decided that the best course of action was to get the cat box and leave him in it overnight. He finished the biscuits, so R caught him and put in him the cat box; which we then moved into the garage. He fought with the cat box! The meow’s getting louder and louder. It took some time for us to calm him down, enough so that we could give him dinner and water; and feel that we could leave him to eat, relax and sleep; knowing that he was warm and safe. The last time we checked on him before we went to bed, he was fast asleep in the back corner of the cat box.

Saturday morning we went to the garage, really not sure what we would encounter. As we walked in we heard this little ‘meow’! He got up and walked to the front of the cat box. We agreed that if no-one claimed him, we would have to take him to the local vet. We organised another much bigger box for him to move into; with breakfast, water and a litter tray. R cleaned out the cat box and phoned the neighbours again. Eventually he spoke to one of them, who confirmed our suspicions – he was not from this area. R called and spoke to the vet’s receptionist, put him back in the cat box and off they went to the vet.

Not long afterwards they returned! Pain killers and antibiotics. The vet believes that he was about 6-months old and had got into a fight with something else. His eye should be OK, but he was probably in a lot of pain. Poor little thing.

We put him back into the bigger box and left him to calm down. We checked on him regularly and each time there he was, a little ball curled up asleep in his new bed. We guessed that he must now be feeling a lot more secure in his surroundings.

The next challenge was the ‘pill-challenge’! Anyone who has tried to put a tablet down a cats throat will fully understand exactly what I’m talking about … spitting, clawing, and a strength that you would not believe. I said ‘let’s crush them up in food’. We did! Thankfully we were able to get one dose of painkiller and one dose of antibiotics into him. R checked on him before he went to bed and again he was curled up in his bed, fast asleep.

Sunday morning – what are we going to find? Yes, we were getting attached! Thankfully when we went out to see him he was up and at the front of the box chatting away! We did the crushing up of the next tablet in breakfast and put breakfast with him, in the box – he walked away! Oh no! Now how were we going to get his tablets into him?

Now we were talking about him as though he was just part of the family. Over the past few months we had agreed that we would not get any more cats, but would start to look for a dog (or two). Had we just got ourselves another cat? We sat down with a cup of tea and talked about it. He is so cute. He is so small. He is so defenceless. If we couldn’t find him a home, what else could we do?

I then said ‘what are we going to call him?’ Various names later, we agreed on ‘smudge’, as he seemed to have a smudge on his nose.

I phoned my parents! My Dad said ‘how did he find you?’, and then wondered if someone has driven down the motorway (not that far from the house through the woods), or down one of the roads near us and just dropped him out of the car; while my Mum being the more practical said ‘you can’t have another cat!’ and then ‘but you can’t just chase him away!’ Bet she was jealous! My love of all animals, but especially cats comes from her. According to my grandfather she used to come back from school with kittens in her blazer pockets :) . We talked about a time when I was a child, when my brother found a couple of stray kittens in the bush around our house. Memories!

Later in the morning we brought him inside to let him have a little wander around and get some exercise. His back right leg looks as though it’s been broken or dislocated or something; and he can’t walk properly or even jump up onto chairs, stools, etc. in the way that cats do. It explained to me the reason he couldn’t climb the stairs to the front of the house on Friday or he seemed to have problems scratching himself. So for our next challenge with him …

He sits in his box outside watching the world go by; while we have now accepted that Smudge has joined the family! The last few days have been a challenge, but with such an incredibly giving personality; we’ve met each challenge as it’s come towards us. Today as I write this he has just had another ‘bath’ to continue the process of removing all the oil that we’ve found on his legs and tail; another tablet (worming) which is taking its toll on his little body; so I’m sitting in the dining room with him asleep in his box next to me.

We have some challenges ahead of us, but with such a loving and giving little boy finding his way to us … the Universe has answered our question. We are having another cat! We have got another mouth to feed! But, and it’s a huge but, we have another being in our environment who will provide unconditional love, many moments of fun, and become a character in his own right! We are lucky!

© 2012 Barbara J. Cormack
First published under Cormack’s Capers in Magna Intuitum