It was just another day at work , at least up until just after lunchtime. A co-worker, who was responsible for “pest & rodent control”, received a call on his two-way radio that a cat was stuck in the fence that surrounded the perimeter of the large manufacturing complex where we worked. Having overheard the conversation, I offered to go with him to help out if I could; especially since I’m a hopeless cat-lover at heart anyway, and wanted to be sure nobody hurt the poor thing!
We drove around the property to the area described, and a couple of ‘lunchtime walkers’ pointed out where they had “heard a cat crying out” . We went down a small embankment, and there near the base of the chain-link fence was a very small cat (kitten) with its head through one of the diamond shaped openings in the fence; struggling, crying hoarsely and obviously frightened, hungry, tired and quite likely dehydrated. It was clear that the kitten had been trying hard to get unstuck, as the dirt beneath it was dug out from it pawing so much (in futility, of course).
As I attempted to gently pull the kitten’s head back through the diamond opening, I realized it was not going to come free without hurting the kitten, so I asked my co-worker to hurry back to the shop area to get some bolt cutters. Meanwhile, I did my best to reassure this unfortunate feline that “everything will be OK” .
When he returned with the bolt cutters, my co-worker proceeded to cut the wire fence material as I protected the kitten from the cutters and the cut wires. Once the wires were cut, I bent them aside, and was able to free the trembling kitten from its “trap” without harm. I immediately brought the kitten to my chest and hugged it close. It literally melted into me as I attempted to comfort it and reassure it again that “everything WILL be ok” . As I held the frightened fur-bundle, I said to my co-worker, “I’m taking this poor little thing home with me!”
We drove to the parking lot where my van was parked, and I put the frail kitten inside, where I knew it would at least be safe long enough for me to return to my office and let my boss know I had to leave for the day to rescue this poor unfortunate bundle of love. My boss agreed that I should, indeed, take care of the little one, so I headed home with the kitten hiding under the back seat of my van.
When I arrived home, I had to crawl under the back seat to get the still frightened feline out of the van.
When I walked into the house with it cuddled against my chest, my wife said “where did that come from?” . I guess that’s all she could think of at the time, as she was quite surprised, to say the least.
It had only been recently that we had started talking a lot about how we were ready to get another kitten or cat to provide a friend and companion for Minky (and, of course, for us as well!). I recall saying that I hoped one would just “come to us” again, just as all of them have in the past (i.e., strays, abandoned, etc.). Somehow those just seem to be a little more special to us. Could this little fur-ball be the one we had been hoping for?
When the new kitten saw Minky, it immediately wanted to get down and get to know her, even as weak and hungry as it must have been! Minky, on the other hand, wasn’t all that interested just yet, and kept her distance. “All in HER good time” , we whispered to one another.
We called our vet and briefly explained our story, and the need to have this innocent kitten checked out. They told us to bring the kitten right in, which we did. At the vet’s office, we re-told our story with more details, and they, too, were delighted this kitten was going to be ok after its traumatic ordeal. We also learned that the new addition to our family was a boy kitten. The vet told us they would keep him for a couple of hours to clean him up, check him out and give him any medications he might need.
When we returned, the kitten was all cleaned up, fluffy-furred, and cute as a button! The vet told us he was dehydrated, nearly mal-nourished, and needed lots of rest and love. We certainly knew where he could get the love; and we would see to it that he got his rest too, for sure!
We took him back home, and I whipped together a screened frame to place across the bathroom doorway to keep the new kitten in there, apart from Minky, as the vet had suggested. We did this for several days, letting Minky investigate from outside the screen if she chose to; and, little by little we allowed the kitten to run around the rest of the house. After a while, we let him roam free.
Of course, he seemed to always want to be with one of us; he loved to snuggle into the pockets of our bathrobes and he also loved to sleep (ever so soundly, after first letting out his “contented sigh”) on my chest as I reclined in the living room. And, of course, he loved to play. For quite some time, Minky kept her distance from him, but at least she tolerated the newcomer and did not harass him in any way.
We thought and thought; and tried to think of something that would tell something of his story; how he found us! . After much brainstorming, my wife finally said “What about Matthew? It means gift from God “.
“That’s it!” I answered immediately; “What better name for such a bundle of love with such a story as his; especially since we have recently been talking about one coming to us” . So, Matthew it was, and Matthew it is. By now, he has become “Mattie” to us, but the meaning of his name is surely not lost, only endeared even more!
The experience of this day turned out to be a whole lot more than “just another day”! This day turned out to be a very special day indeed, and we still recall that day with very fond memories.