There have been many tears shed over the past three days. I've gone through emotional ups and downs and sat in the grey area in between the two.
And then everything changed. Sort of.
As Travis was walking Bella yesterday morning, he heard crying coming from the side of our house, where the bushes, weeds, and brush is all piled up in between our house and the neighbor's.
He called me and I came outside to see. We carefully walked back into the bushes to discover a little pile of kittens. Yes, kittens.
And when I say kitten I mean - really - kitten. These little ones had their eyes closed and were squirming around on top of each other.
We had no idea what to do.
Leave them? What would happen to them? Was the mother coming back? When?
So maybe we should bring them inside. But then what? Where would we put them? What should they eat? How do we care for them? What if the mommy came back and her babies were gone?
We called several animal shelters which were all closed. We called the vet who referred us to the animal shelter. We were stuck.
But not so much. You see, our neighbor and her girlfriend work for Carol's Feral's. A non-profit that does trap, spay/neuter and release work with feral cats. They also rehab cats and place them into homes if/when appropriate.
We called them and left a message.
Thinking we could cause more harm than good moving them at this point, we headed out to meet the Hill's (more on that later...)
Carol called us a couple of hours later - and by the time we got home they had retrieved the cats and were beginning to feed them. They explained that their organization and many others are 100% full of cats and kittens right now, and running out of room, foster parents, and homes. I already knew I was going to foster them.
How could I not?
I figured, hey - I'm out of work, I will have all the time in the world. Carol's Feral's provides their food, medicine, and later on their shots and spay/neuter surgery, so it wouldn't cost me anything.
Maybe I'm crazy - but it all felt like a SIGN. A sign to stop moping around and move on already.
And so the madness began. I feed them every 2-3 hours, around the clock. I'm constantly replacing heating bottles and wandering upstairs just to make sure they are still breathing.
After all, the ladies informed us that it is NOT expected that they live. They are about a week old, and very vulnerable. They were cold when we found them, and one even still had its umbilical cord attached. They said we should be prepared to lose one, or all of them.
The grief I was feeling about my job left me the minute these babies entered my home. Sure, I'm still sad, and I'm still processing, and I really have no idea what's in store for me, but just taking care of these kittens is giving me a new sense of focus, something to take my mind off of me and my situation, and a whole lot of perspective.
After all, if these babies can survive THEIR adversity, I can sure as hell survive what I am going through.
So without further ado, here they are: