Apple Seed, now safe, and not breathing like Darth Vader any longer.Apple Seed, now safe, and not breathing like Darth Vader any longer.

Last Thursday, a friend of ours, Alfred, who does construction work, called Joe in a panic, because there were three kittens hanging around the site he had begun working at–a site with lots of trucks and semis and heavy equipment. Alfred was worried the kittens were going to get run over and was especially concerned about one of the kittens who appeared to already have something wrong with it.

On Friday, I stopped by the construction site, but it began storming and pouring rain in curtains of water, so I stayed in the car looking for any signs of the kittens. I did see one black and white fuzzball hiding beneath a truck parked near the house. That made me really worry, since kittens are famous for climbing up into engines or on the wheels of vehicles to find warmth and to get out of the weather.

After talking to Alfred later in the day, Joe and I met him back at the construction site on our way home from dinner with my parents. I brought along canned food, but no carriers to collect the cats, as I planned to assess the situation, see if our local humane society had room for them, and return the next day when it was light out (we were wandering around the construction site in the dark).

Only two of the kittens were there. The one Alfred thought was hurt was nowhere to be found. One kitten was black and white, while the other, which Alfred had described as being white and very shy, was actually a lynx point Siamese (a cross between a tabby and a Siamese). She had big, beautiful blue eyes, and she was a bit frightened, until I cracked open the cans of food and then she scurried just a bit closer. I was able to pick her up with no problem and she was soon purring so hard her chest rumbled like a diesel engine.

The little black and white guy had an upper respiratory infection and sounded a lot like Darth Vader as he breathed. Even when I put the soft food in front of him, he did not respond until I smeared a bit on his mouth. Obviously, he could not smell it and had to taste it first to realize it was something to eat. Once he knew that, he dug in with gusto.

I worried about leaving these little guys behind in the dark and cold–we were supposed to get frost that night. But Alfred was worried that if we took them, the other injured kitten would not show up. I had been around the house and barn calling for the other kitten with no luck. I had even found a box that I thought I could safely put the kittens in and hold them on my lap to take them home. I was nervous about leaving them behind.

Alfred told us that the kittens had been living in an old house on the property. Earlier in the week, the construction crew had begun to demolish the vacant, sagging structure, causing Alfred’s initial concern that the kittens would be harmed in the process. The people who had lived in the house had moved out several months ago, leaving the kittens behind. When the new owner bought the property and began construction on his new house and barn, he noticed the abandoned kittens and began feeding them. He did not, however, want to keep them.

Once the house was torn down, the kittens basically lost their shelter and were now running around outside, trying to find a warm, safe spot away from all the construction traffic. Two of them (the lynx point girl was too smart) were so friendly that they were constantly running up to the workers and getting in the way of feet and tires and dangerous equipment.

Although, I didn’t want to, we did decide that the best solution was to leave the kittens at the house to see if the third one would show up in the morning. I worried the whole way home about them, but planned to stop back early in the morning to collect them. In the meantime, I contacted Carol at the Union County Humane Society to see if they had room for three kittens. Carol assured me that she would make space for them. “What is one more kitten or three?” she said. I promised to bring them to her the next day.

Saturday morning, Bobbie and I returned to the construction site, carriers and food in hand. Alfred had told us that there would be no one there and with the quiet, we should have no problem finding the kittens. But when we arrived, a backhoe was digging up the former house site, someone was mowing the lawn, and a semi was parked in the driveway.

We got out and began searching for the kittens, who were nowhere to be found. The night before they had been sitting by the garage, but today, that area was absent of kittens. We trekked around the house and barn, calling, “Here kitty, kitty,” to no avail.

Then I walked to the front of the house and there on the porch was the black and white kitten from the previous evening and the missing kitten. The lynx point girl was noticeably absent with all the noise and commotion.

The missing kitten was also black and white, but when I saw him, I knew something was horribly wrong. His entire face was covered in blood and he was lying lethargically in the gravel.

I called for Bobbie. I was too big of a coward to put the injured kitten in the carrier. She marched forward and took care of the situation, while I stood with a hand over my face, horrified at what we had found.

It was obvious these guys were not going to the humane society. Instead, we rushed both of them, the bloody, battered kitten, and our Darth Vader breathing friend, to Noah’s Ark, where Dr. West was on duty.

Dr. West took one look at the bloodied kitten and sucked in a deep breath. “What have you brought me now?” she asked, followed closely by, “What are you trying to do to me?” Her next words would seem prophetic looking back. “It looks as if someone hit this baby in the face with a shovel.”

Both kittens were boys and since we did not have names for them, they became A and B, later re-christened to Apple Seed and Bean Bag. Apple Seed, our Darth Vader imitator, had a horrible upper respiratory infection. But other than that, he was very healthy. Little Bean Bag, however, was in very bad shape. He had a broken jaw. 

Dr. West told us that if the little guy tried to eat or showed any signs of being a fighter, she was not going to euthanize him. And, once he was cleaned up, this kitten, who was in unimaginable pain, did try to eat and began to purr and make “air biscuits.” Well there was no way Dr. West was going to take the life from a kitten who so desperately wanted to live. In fact, after a bit of pain medicine, little Bean Bag tried to eat hard food and played with a ball by grasping it in his mouth. Dr. West said it was as if he didn’t even know he had a broken jaw!

Later in the day, we finally retrieved the lynx point Siamese girl. Alfred had gone out to look for her and was sitting on the porch petting her when Joe and I arrived. 

When I had called Alfred earlier in the day to tell him the kitten had a broken jaw, he said that he had been afraid there was something seriously wrong with it. In fact, he had called Joe to get me involved because one of the other workers had said, “Should we just club it to death and put it out of its misery?” Alfred stopped the worker from doing that, but I wonder now if something happened with a shovel, like Dr. West thought, before Alfred got involved. 

This story will be ongoing. For now, Apple Seed and the lynx point girl are safe (Dr. West has now named her “Cat-cus”–a funny spelling of Cactus to accentuate the “Cat” in the word). Apple Seed is with me, getting antibiotics, playing with his toy mouse, and happy beyond belief. Cat-cus is getting spayed today and will soon be ready to be adopted into a home where she will never, ever have to worry again.

Bean Bag went to Dr. Klein, Naomi’s dental savior, yesterday to have his jaw repaired. We found out last night that he had multiple fractures and the surgery was quite intense. As soon as I know more about our little guy, I will post updates. 

I can only hope that his injuries were due to a mishap with a car and not a shovel. I can forgive an accident, but not intentional cruelty.

I've got a snotty nose, but other than that, I am feeling fine!

Apple Seed says, "I've got a snotty nose, but other than that, I am feeling fine!"

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