Children Teach Your Parents Well

Monday evening I took my 12yr old daughter to Middle School Orientation. Afterward, we talked about stopping by the pet store and I learned a lesson in humility.

One of the wild cats, that live in the small wood between our house and the neighbors, had kittens. I often leave food on the porch for the gold bob tail cat (Genjo) that adopted us, and this mother cat saw this as a good opportunity for free food. (Three babies are a lot of mouths to feed.) Not more than a kitten herself, the black mama cat brought her babies closer and not long after we began seeing three little black kittens on the front porch. Two had tails, one did not.

(Genjo and I had a chat about this but he was unimpressed. He doesn’t mind sharing his food bowl with the kittens though. He even lets them cuddle under his chin to eat. He takes a bite, then they take a bite. Odd behavior for a Tom, but he has always been sweet.)

Soon however, I began noticing a problem. The kittens had allergies or something in their eyes. (WARNING: .If you are eating or drinking, or have a soft stomach I would advise reading this post later or skipping the next couple of paragraphs.) Their little blue eyes oozed white stuff. A day later their eyes were matted crusty shut. One seemed unaffected, one seemed mildly okay, but the little bob tail kitten couldn’t see at all. The bobtail was also the only kitten that allowed us to pick him up.

So we gently bathed his eyes with a warm wet paper towel and wiped away the gunk covering his eyes. He could see again and ran off with his mama and siblings. The next day he was in the same shape and we had to do it again. Then we didn’t see him for a day and it got worse. More white stuff oozed out of his eyes when we cleaned the top layer off. He was more often found alone on the porch than with the others in the grass. I began to fear he wasn’t going to make it and tired to prepare for the worst.

(Okay you can read now. I will keep the gross lite.)

Then Monday evening came around and we thought about going to the pet store to see if there was anything that could help. The problem was, of course, money. I just spent the weekend getting the kids ready for school, the cable bill was past due, and I had another week before pay day.

As we sat in the parking lot of the pet store and I weighed my monetary obligations, my daughter spoke up. “But the kitten could die! Isn’t that more important?!”

It was one of those moments they show in the movies where the character’s voice echoes. Her voice echoed its way right past my heart and hit me in the soul. Was I really considering that T.V. and internet were more important that a life? Was I really weighing money on a scale with a kitten’s life on the other side?  I thought about how its tiny body felt in my hand as I wiped its eyes, and the way it had bounced around when it could see again. I felt lower than gum melted on the sidewalk.

We got out of the car and went into the store. There were a few things that might help so we bought them. For the past three days I have wiped the kitten down with kitten wipes and he seems to be doing better. This morning I had to do the same to his sibling. My mom is looking for places that might take them in and help. It the mean time we will keep on what we are doing and pray that it is enough.


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