My Weakness

Labor Day weekend I stumbled across two little, black-ish kittens who were just hanging out in the woods by my house. It’s not uncommon to see cats there as there is actually a pretty significant feral population. How to deal with that on a large scale is a totally separate issue.

Tonight, I stumbled across what appeared to be one of the same kittens from before stuck in a nearby tree, mewing sadly. Because I was out with the dogs, I took them back inside, put on some grungy clothes, and prepared myself to climb this tree to rescue said kitten. On the way back to the tree I saw a momma cat with 3 or 4 other kittens and assumed that he was left behind or separated from the bunch. I called for her to do a head count and come get her missing baby, but that was silly. She doesn’t speak human.

I got over there with my flashlight app. I foolishly mewed to the kitten and pleaded with it to come down, but of course that was no use because I’m a large predator in the eyes of a small kitten. I found of decent footing in the dim light and got about 4 feet into the tree. I was just about eye to eye with the kitten and was able to reach out and grab him. However, in my attempt to not Lenny squeeze him into submission, I didn’t hang on tight enough and he squirmed his way farther out onto the branch. It was likely not going to hold my weight so I went no further.

I thought about stealing borrowing a ladder from a nearby utility truck and using that to grab the kitten. I decided against it because, let’s face it, a person with a ladder outside of an apartment complex in the middle of the night is a bit creepy, no matter who you are or why you need it.

So I walked back to my building, dejected and kitten-less. I do want to make it clear that I would not have brought the kitten inside. I would have set it on the ground and directed it back to the woods or near to its mother so they could be together again. However, I am toying with the notion of calling the local Humane or SPCA to come get them. Winter is coming and I don’t want them to suffer the elements. Feral life is not easy. After what happened last winter to the white cat, I don’t know if I can take much more death of innocent animals.

Here is where it all comes back to social work. As I came back into the house, Monty and Lola were very excited to see me. They get confused when we come home, then turn around and leave again. I then realized that I just made one of the serious mistakes of a social worker. I neglected my own family to try to fix someone else’s. I cried at my mistake. I hugged Monty and Lola so hard. They had no idea why I was crying, but they scooted close to me and licked my face anyways.

When Ben called on his break to say goodnight I told him this story and cried almost the whole time. He promised to drive by the tree and check to see if the kitten is still there on his way home. He’s so wonderful the way he understands me.

We see things that need to be done but we don’t always know how to correct them on our own. That’s one of the beautiful things of social service positions is that you don’t have to go it alone; you just have to find the right resource to help with what you need. I’m really glad to have made that connection between my personal and professional life so I can be more aware of it in the future.