14 July, 2010

Go, and do thou likewise.

So today, Smiling Cat[1] and the UPS guy willing, the Great Kitten Trapping Escapade will begin. I am, well, not exactly thrilled. I hope that for you, gentle reader, the kittens are an unalloyed delight and that I shall have good things to tell you about taming them and finding them most excellent homes, but for me, the kittens are an Undertaking. If I’m successful, it’s going to mean a bathroom full of kittens, and precious time (there’s never enough) spent sitting with kittens and trying to tame them down, and the cost of kitten food and trying to figure out how to afford to get them to the vet.

The kittens will be welcomed, never fear. They will be protected from harm, and once they’ve got a clean bill of health and no fleas they will be cautiously introduced to Uncle Roo and even more cautiously introduced to Auntie Zille, who loves them already with all of her considerable heart and can barely be pried away from the window when they’re visible. But they are going to be four little fluffy pains in the ass.

I blame my grandmother, Mama June. She never could pass by on the other side, either, and especially not where kittens were concerned. It’s in my genes, people.

But yeah, I’m ambivalent. Because, you see, I am not the one who caused this problem, but I am going to by God be the one who cleans it up. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but it’s the way it is and the kittens need me. And I couldn’t really tell you why I’m about to undertake the Great Kitten Trapping Escapade, except there’s two things I always think of from the Bible. I’m not really a Christian anymore, I haven’t been to a church service since 2003, but when I think about what I’m trying to do here and why I’m about to start trapping kittens, there’s two sections of the New Testament that come to mind.

The first is Matthew 25:31-40, and I really need to get that last verse up on one of my walls:

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Who are the least of these? Well, shit, if tiny semi-feral kittens don’t count, if a little box turtle far from home and helpless doesn’t count, if all the small voiceless fuzzy and creeping creatures don’t count, I don’t know who the hell does. It’s not that I don’t like people. Well, all right, the general mass of mankind is not my favoritest, but I am quite fond of many human beings and I don’t want to see them sick and hungry and hurting, either. But the powers that be didn’t send hungry humans to my door this past winter, cold and long and snowy as it was. They sent a pack of cats ranging from “not really feral” (Emmaline) to “really, really feral as hell” (the toms). They send turtles and snakes in the road and once in a car[2]. They sent a big yellow dog in the road with nobody stopping to get him safe. We all get a mission, I guess, and some get called to minister to the human beings what need help. Others of us, well, we do quadrupeds.

The other section of the New Testament I always think of when I start wondering why on the good green earth I am getting myself into these things is the story of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37:

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

I can’t pass by on the other side of the road. This cat thing started when they were going through my trash this winter, desperate for food. It’s brought me one definitely outdoor semi-feral cat, Noodlehead, her sister Emmaline who will be moving inside with kittens, and a pack of skittish kitties I can’t touch (although Grace is getting more trusting by the day). Guess I could have left them to find their own way, but I’d never have been able to sleep at night.

Then again, if I’m fixing to have to listen to Zillekins cry about kittens being locked in the bathroom instead of out where she can lick them, I’ll never be able to sleep at night, anyway.

[1] I HAVE A WEIRD ASSORTMENT OF SMALL GODS. DON’T ASK. SMILING CAT IS IN CHARGE OF KINDNESS, CARE, GENERAL GOOD WILL, AND CATS.

[2] SPEAKING OF JEREMIAH SWAKHAMMER, I CAUGHT HIM TODAY PLOWING THROUGH A PILE OF LEAVES IN HIS PEN AND I SWEAR TO YOU, GENTLE READER, THAT TURTLE WAS GRINNING. IT’S THE LITTLE MOMENTS THAT MAKE IT WORTH IT.