Tuesday morning, I walked out the door of my house with my daughter, prepared for errands. On the second step down from our porch, however, was a tiny ball of black fuzz. I thought it was a wayward feather at first, but then an ear flicked in the wind.
This is how Pip the kitten came into my life.
Before I could make sure my daughter wasn’t about to dive headlong off the porch and for the kitten, Pip noticed us and darted away into the bushes. We didn’t see him again until that evening when my husband heard tiny mewing. We peeked out the window and, sure enough, Pip was there, playing with some leaves by my husband’s car. It was a tiny little thing, and every bit of the word “scrawny.” He was mostly black, but had white paws, as if to accentuate the idea that he was cuteness incarnate.
I immediately grabbed a couple of plastic bowl and asked, “Um, what do kittens eat? Meat, right?” One bowl held deli turkey and the other had fresh water. By the time I was done, Pip had disappeared again. I was determined, though. I set the bowls out on the porch anyway, and hoped the kitten would at least have a good drink if it didn’t like the food. That night, as we said our nightly prayers with my daughter at bedtime, I said, “And a little prayer for the little kitten, too.”
The next day, I set up my grocery list and added “kitten food” to it for the first time. I even drew a little kitty face next to it. My husband had told me he’d found Pip sleeping somewhere under his car that morning and had darted out as he started up. The food in the bowl was untouched, but that didn’t matter. This kitten was about to get some good and proper food. As my daughter and I left the house again, we didn’t see any signs of Pip; I figured he was probably out exploring and doing kitteny things.
We came home armed with a bag of kitten food. I fed my daughter her lunch, put her in for her nap, and set out a fresh bowl of water and a bowl of the kitten food— this time in the little alcove next to the garage where Pip had been seen most. A thunderstorm came and went; I tossed the mushy food, changed the water, and put out fresh stuff before turning in for the night. To my delight, the food looked like it had been eaten! I hadn’t seen Pip all day, but I still held out for the best.
Before I went to bed, I told my husband that I’d named him Pip, after the character from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. I felt it was fitting.
This morning, I was busy getting ready for work and making sure everything was in place for later this evening since I was going to be at work until 9. I hopped on Gchat while prepping dinner to ask my husband if he’d seen Pip. He hadn’t, not even under his car. Even though my mind raced with worst-case scenarios, my heart was hoping that someone had managed to coax the kitten into a warm home and was being taken care of by a person who was knowledgeable and far better at this whole stray rescue thing than me.
Fast forward to half an hour ago, as I walked in the door. My husband gently hugged me and told me Pip’s fate. He saw the furball lying on the side of our driveway, as if asleep, when he came home with our daughter in the evening. After getting the Whelpling inside the house, he came back out and saw that Pip hadn’t moved.
Upon further inspection, it turns out Pip would never run around in this world again.
My husband doesn’t know what happened, or why Pip died. He pointed out, however, that whatever did happen, Pip chose to come back to our driveway to rest his little head. “Because someone had shown him kindness and love here,” my husband said as I wept.
I truly hope that my family and I had made Pip’s last three days on Earth a little brighter, happier, sunnier— that we’d done something to make him happy before he went Home.