Katy Cat - Delivered by Hawk
I have always loved cats! To me, they are the most beautiful, elegant and intelligent animals in the world. Fastidious, quiet and subtle, these wonderful felines are the perfect companion. My favorite times in life and most loving memories always include a cat, kitten or two. Such a big part of my every day existence, my thoughts and words I’ve written over decades. Following is just one story about a beautiful kitten we named Katy:
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
About a year ago, I was outside on a beautiful day on my farm sanctuary in SE Kansas. I am an outdoor person by nature and can be found wandering around the acreage doing one thing or another.
On this particular day, I was looking Southward towards the huge swath of corn fields just off my property line. Birds were singing, soft, cumulous clouds floated overhead and the wind gently blew the fallen leaves in little whirlpools dancing just off the surface of my driveway. A perfect day!
I often spend time reading on the front porch looking Westward or, when the sun is setting or shining too brightly, I move to the Southward looking porch of the little cottage which is located next to the big house. This is where I sat on the day that the hawk delivered Katy to the cornfields.
The corn had grown by leaps and bounds in such a hurry that, each day, I found myself amazed at how rapidly the large, flat green ‘leaves’ reached for the sun. I think I could actually see the growth if I stood still long enough during any of the sunny days in late spring and early summer. By this time, the corn stood about 5 to 6 feet tall and filled every square inch of the small space each individual plant was given by the agribusiness farmers who planted it.
Dense is the way I’d describe the corn. Thickly packed in and tough as bamboo; the cornstalks made traversing through the field virtually impossible.
The clouds drifted by, the wind picked up a little bit and shadows began to color the surroundings in which I stood; immersed in the quiet of the day and the beauty of it all.
LIFE OR DEATH IN THE CORNFIELD
And, this is when I caught a glimpse of the hawk. Soaring from lower down in an upward motion, his flight path brought him nearer to me giving me a better view. As he approached, I noticed that he held a captive “prey” in his talons. Flying a little lower and nearer, it shocked me to the core to see what he held as he flew over the cornfield. I noted the distinct outline of a tail and 4 little paws hanging down as the bird held it’s victim by the back. I almost couldn’t believe what I saw! A very small kitten!
ON 4 ALARM ALERT
My heart thumped wildly, my instincts kicked in and I began to run towards his apparent flight pattern. I had to run around the fencing which ran along the entire southern length of my property. Serving the great purpose of keeping coyote at bay and away from my cats and dogs and the fortunate wildlife who found refuge on my farm, it now was an obstacle which threatened to obstruct my efforts ! What efforts? The hawk holding kitten had flown deeper into the cornfield and away from me by now.
My mind was racing just as my legs were! What can I do? How can I save that kitten? In a situation like this when it is, actually, almost impossible to “fix,” but when my mind did not want to entertain that idea; emotions run high and hot while solutions remain distant, at best.
I stood on the frontage road serving as access to the cornfield, unable to estimate where the hawk was in relation to my position. Waving fronds of corn are very confusing and disorienting, specially when I tried to figure out which way to go to get to wherever the hawk was headed..in a hurry!
Suddenly, the hawk dipped down into the field, below the tops of the cornstalks and out of view. This seemed odd; not quite right. I guessed he should be flying higher towards his destination. In a minute or two, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye as the hawk emerged from the field and up above the corn…..without the kitten in tow!
FEELING HELPLESS IN THE FACE OF POTENTIAL TRAGEDY
How was I to find that small animal in such a huge and tightly packed field? I ventured in at one point and then another, penetrating the sharp edges of the corn as far as possible but could not gain proper perspective…where would the kitten be?
After a long time trying to locate the poor little thing, I, reluctantly, gave up. My thoughts running wildly, still trying to think of how to save the kitten, my arms cut by the corn and my heart heavy with remorse that I had come up empty handed.
Soon, my friend Al returned home from work to find me still at the edge of the corn field, calling to the hapless and helpless little cat. He asked; “Kath, what’s up? Is one of our cats missing?”
I looked at him, tears in my eyes as I said, “No…there’s a kitten in that field…”
I proceeded to tell him the whole story. He was just as concerned as I. We put our heads together trying to come up with a way to find that kitty.
It was getting dark and we knew we had only a little while to try. After what seemed like forever, we gave up; it was useless. The field was too big, too crowded and daylight had gone.
Sadly, we went into the house as I rehashed, over and over, what I should have done, what I didn’t do and feeling terribly guilty that I did not , could not intervene to save the life of the forlorn little cat. I felt useless and angry at myself.
Al did his best to assuage my guilt and feelings of self loathing.
Another day went by during which I walked up and down the north end of the field and the west side, too. Since the hawk had flown in a north westerly direction near my property, this was the most likely place the kitten would be if still alive. Oh, how I hoped and prayed that was the case! Poor little thing!
I had reservations to fly to California the next day, early in the morning and didn’t want to go because of worrying about that kitten. But, I had to! I had to take care of business and did not have a choice.
I MUST LEAVE
Early the next morning, Al and I placed my bags in the truck and climbed into the cab, ready to drive to the airport in Tulsa. It was 3 am (my flight was for 7 am and we had an hour + drive time plus check in, and, of course, Starbuck’s coffee before parting ways). As we drove down the long driveway to the gravel street, I couldn’t help but think of that kitten. I made Al promise that, if he had a chance and if he saw her, he HAD to capture her and bring her to safety. He vowed to do just that.
Just as we left the drive and began to pick up speed , a tiny ‘thing’ darted across in front the headlights. Al slowed the truck and then backed up quickly, aiming the beams towards the direction “it” had run. We could not believe our eyes! There, on the side of the road, was the little kitty…the same colors I noted, specially her tail! Tiny! Way too small to be out in the fields alone with coyote, traffic and any manner of clear and present danger. I began to exit the truck when the kitten ran into the corn, again. I just didn't want to leave! i watched the tail disappear, again, and felt all the heavy feelings as I did several days previously.
“Oh, Al!" I quietly said, “what are we going to do? I have to catch that plane…” He said, “I’ll get her, don’t worry…we have to go now, though. She’ll be alright!”
He always has a positive view of such things; always calming and reassuring. I believed him.
“Al,” I said, “you have to catch her. Please try!”
We drove on to the airport but I hated that I was leaving. After sharing a last cup of morning (mourning) coffee, I made him promise, again, to do everything possible to get that cat! Again, he assured me he would do his best.
I completed checking in, waved ‘bye’ and reluctantly headed on to my gate.
Thank goodness, the flight was uneventful; easy and with no problems; effortless, really.
I ALWAYS LOVE COMING HOME
I arrived at my destination; my sweet home away from my present home in SE Kansas. My flight time was a little over 6 hours including a stop over in Denver. So, that put me at about noon West Coast time, 2 PM central time. I wanted to talk with Al but knew that he would be at work until about 4 pm my time. It takes him a half hour to drive to the farm from his workplace so, I just had to wait; bide my time and worry!
After unpacking I took a walk around my old neighborhood. I’ve always loved this, it’s such a pretty place, now. The entire north side of downtown has gone through gentrification and all the home owners have made beautiful improvements to their houses and gardens. It’s a little wonderland of creativity and artistry. So, I walked to the local grocery store which has all the items I can’t get in my present hometown. Here, in America's heartland, it’s bare bones and necessity; there, in my ‘old’ hometown, it’s just the opposite. Gourmet foods, that ‘hard to find’ specialty item that just is not to be found in mid America; farm country. So, with aromatic, fresh coffee beans, crisp romaine, Balsamic vinegar, luscious fruits, a huge cauliflower, and, best of all, a crusty loaf of pungent French bread in hand, I walked back to my downtown home to enjoy a good book, good food and relaxation.
Except, I could not relax….what of that kitten?
Finally, hours had passed and it was time to call Al. Just as I opened my cell phone, it rang. Al was on the other end. I answered,…”Yes…hi…how are you ?’
He replied, “I have her!”
“What? You DO!!!!!?”
“Yes,” he replied. “Kitty (our small Beagle/dachshund mix) was carrying something in her mouth in the back cattery when I got home….she was gentle but it didn’t seem right. I went out to see what she had and it was the kitten! I told Kitty to put it down and she did…and then the little thing scurried out of the cattery; she is so small that she fits between the 2” x 4” wiring….and she ran to the back wood pile. I rushed into the garage and grabbed the HavAHart trap and set it up quickly by the wood pile. Then, (he was talking fast at this point), I scared her right into that trap and it closed! She’s in the house right now.”
I couldn’t believe I was hearing this. “She IS??? How is she?”
“She’s got runny eyes and she’s really skinny. I called the Vet and they said I could bring her in tomorrow morning. Right now, I’m keeping her warm and fed.”
Oh…such sweet relief. Now, I could continue on with my duties out west and relax a little, too.
Katy is doing very well now. After a long bout of medications and special diet, she recovered from her ringworm, pink eye and lung infections beautifully. She’s grown into an absolutely beautiful cat.
End of what could have been a very tragic story.