The Kitten Whisperer
I’ve been called many things from problem solver to trouble shooter, but never a cat whisperer. I like cats, but I’m allergic to them. We had two cats growing up, but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I discovered I was allergic to cats. So, I don’t have any cats and that works for me. I have a dog.
Last weekend, I went kayaking on the Cathead Creek with our Boy Scout troop. I borrowed a kayak from a friend. Upon completing our eight mile trip, I returned the kayak. As I was unloading the borrowed boat, I saw a neighbor struggling under his pickup truck.
I asked, “Austin, are you ok? Do you need a hand?”
Austin replied, “No, I’m not o.k. and yes, I need a hand. One of my cat’s kittens is stuck in the engine block of my truck. ”
I ran back to the house and got the kayak paddle. I attempted unsuccessfully to reach the kitten with the paddle. Austin also tried unsuccessfully to reach the kitten with a broom handle. The angle was all wrong, so I climbed underneath the Dodge pickup. I was able to bend my arm backwards by lying on my back underneath the drive shaft. By bending my arm backwards I could barely reach the kitten, which I could not see. Austin was giving me verbal commands on getting closer to the kitten since I could not see the kitten from my angle.
The engine did not leave a lot of space to reach in for the young feline. I could just get the tips of my fingers over the metal lip into the slot where the cat was hiding. I was operating out of feel only as I could not see beyond the metal lip. I could just barely grab one of the kitten’s claws before it pulled away. I began meowing to the kitten to attempt to calm it down and gain its trust. Meowing did not work. So, I figured I’d sing to it.
My Dad was a big singer, whistler, and he liked to hum. Dad would sing, whistle, or hum all day long while he was mixing concrete or laying brick as a stone mason. His singing both symbolized his happiness and it made the day go by quicker. I’d picked up the whistling habit, but not the singing or humming.
I figured I’d give singing a try. So, I had to think about what to sing. The Gilligan’s Island theme song was the only thing that came to mind, but it did not seem appropriate. I thought about any cat songs. The only image I got was of Cat Stevens and his song Moonshadow from the 1971 Teaser and the Firecat album. The image I got was of the little boy and the cat sitting on the sidewalk on the album cover the imagery was like out of Alice in Wonderland. I think my older sister had the album. Do kids today even know what an album cover even is?
So, I started singing Moonshadow to the kitten as I tried to rescue it from the engine block.
I sang, “I’m being followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.” I could not remember all of the words, so I improvised.
I sang, “Come on out you little cat so you and I can have a chat. If I cannot get you out you may die from the gout, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.”
Austin started laughing a deep hearty belly laugh as he was laying on his back adjacent the truck in the grass. I got the cat’s paws, then head, and then pulled him out successfully with no missing limbs. I gave Austin his kitten and he thanked me and told me I was a kitten whisperer. I did not know if that was good or bad. My only cat rescue was of a cat in a tree when I was a Park Policeman in New York at Fort Wadsworth, so I took the compliment.