Cats find me. I have said it before, and I will say it again: cats find me. They find me and they mock me. I walked the few blocks to the grocery store/ATM yesterday and on my way home I spotted a brown tabby cat walking through the neighborhood. By the time I caught up to where he was, he was gone. I assume this is the brown tabby I have spotted several times before. I sort of shrugged him off, thinking that it wasn’t worth my while to stress and worry about him. There is only so much you can do right?
Later in the day I was heading out to a meeting for the rescue group I volunteer with. I went to get on the expressway and found that traffic was just about at a stand still. Figuring I could move a bit faster if I didn’t get on right away, I went down to the next entrance ramp. As I zipped down the entrance ramp, I catch sight of a tuxedo cat sitting along the side of the road. Cats don’t belong on expressways. They don’t belong sitting next to the expressway either. Obviously I was going to fast to get a good look at the cat, so I couldn’t tell if she was scared, nervous or what have you. I assumed that cats don’t just simply sit in the grass by the side of the expressway for the fun of it.
For those of you familiar with Chicago I was getting on The Kennedy (90) in a residential area, I believe at Sayre. The expressway entrance is along a residential area. There is also lots of grass, weeds and other growing things. I assume to make it look pretty but I never really did understand that. Anyways, sitting amongst the thigh high grass on the side of the expressway, about three feet up from the actual road, was one of the most stunning tuxedo cats I have ever seen. I couldn’t just leave her sitting there, so as I cursed my cat magnetism, I urgently tried to come up with a way to help her. I found a spot on the side of the shoulder where I could easily pull over without getting in the way of other traffic. I there was a nice window of space for me to get out without getting run over. I trotted to the trunk and pulled out my emergency carrier (doesn’t everyone have an emergency carrier?)
I trotted (yes trotted) down the shoulder of the expressway and then climbed up the grassy slope and quickly but stealthily approached the kitty. I wanted to make sure I didn’t scare her into running into traffic. While traffic wasn’t moving fast, it was fast enough to hurt a cat if she ran into it. As I got closer to her I started calling to her. She must not have heard me for quite some time as she just sat there quiet serenely. The closer I got the better I could see her and this cat was a cat who was perfectly comfortable where she was. She looked like the little goddess that all cats know themselves to be. From a few feet away it looked like she might even have had a collar on. When she finally did hear me she looked at me, then ducked down into the grass. She looked for all the world like a lion on the Serengeti, quietly stalking her prey. As I got closer still she darted right back up that slope into the weeds and brambles.
I climbed the slope after her, already knowing she was gone and I would never find her. Damn cats and their swift graceful movements on four legs. Damn my slow, clunky, far from graceful or fast movement. She was gone from the weeds and overgrowth before I could even get up to her. If she wasn’t she was far too well hidden for me to catch her on my own. So I pulled the burrs out of my jeans and turned around to climb back down. That’s when it hit me, that I was standing on a slope on the side of the expressway. Now anyone who knows me knows just how far from graceful I really am. There was a moment of panic as I tried to figure out how to get off the slope without falling into oncoming traffic. I did it though. Then I trotted back to my car and jumped in. The whole time wondering just how many people were going to be talking about the strange lady on the side of the expressway with a bag of some sort.
I am proud of myself for my crazy adventure. Sure it might not have been the smartest thing I have ever done. However it is exactly the sort of thing I love to do. Save the kitties. Hell it was a bit of an adventure for me too! Love a good adventure now and then. I had lots of people telling me I shouldn’t have done it and that I should have left the cat alone. Perhaps they are right. However, if the circumstances were the same, I think I would do it again. People told me I would get killed if a car jumped the road. I would rather die doing something I love, something I feel so passionate about–such as saving a kitty– than ignore the problem. I am not saying that I want to die or I am going to go out of my way to find dangerous situations. However, if there is an animal in need of assistance, as this cat appeared to be, then I am going to do my damnedest to help that animal. As I write this, I am reminded of “Joan’s Pyramid of Cat Responsibility” which was established by a former co-worker of mine. Joan’s Pyramid of Cat Responsibility states, in its most basic form, that you can’t save all the cats. However that doesn’t mean you can’t try to save a few more of ’em.
I promise I will always assess the situation first, make sure the risk to myself and the animal is minimal. If I can’t do something on my own, I won’t. I am not afraid of getting hurt though, my life is all about helping animals and if that leaves me with a few battle scars, I am willing to accept that. Certainly other animal rescuers have done crazy things to save the life of an animal. Tell me your stories.