Last evening, I heard a mew outside. I knew that it wasn’t one of our cats (or our neighbor’s cats). It was the cry of a kitten, but I couldn’t see it. I went outdoors, in the fading light, trying to see if I could locate the direction of the crying and caught a glimpse of the small yellow kitten on the edge of the field across the street.
I grabbed a plate of cat food and headed across the road, gently calling to it, and thinking at the same time, “We do not need another cat. I wonder if my friend Diana wants another cat? How did a kitten get in the field? Mandy said she wanted a kitten, I wonder if she would want this one? If I can get him/her where can it stay tonight? I wonder if it is sick? It probably has fleas and loads of ticks…” Just on and on. Questions, doubts, all the while calling kitty, kitty, kitty.
It was very small, and obviously afraid of people. As soon as it saw me it ran into the deep grass and disappeared. I stayed for a while trying to coax it out and then left the food, hoping it would at least eat. 15 minutes later I heard it again and again I tried to get it, but could not. Then a huge thunderstorm rolled in. The kitten ran across the road and into the woods. I thought about it off and on all night. Said prayers for its safety.
I heard it again this morning, but still could not find it. I left more food out, hoping to bring it nearer to us. As I reflected on the situation, part of me longed for the “simpler days”. When I was a child, if I found a stray kitten or cat I brought it home without a thought of its state of health, the effect it would have on our other cats, or me. Now I have much more information. Information about cat diseases, flea infestation, cat socialization and the time it takes to integrate a new animal into the home, statistics about this being the time of year when many kittens are born and are very hard to place. When does “information” stop being helpful and start making me crazy?! When I get into the future.
If I stay in the moment, I am fine. If I see a hungry kitten, I am going to feed it. If it will let me touch it, I will bring it home. That is all I need to know right now. I feel a deep sense of relief when I stay out of the future”what if’s”.
“He who is not everyday conquering some fear, has not learned the secret of life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson