We brought Chip in the house, began bottle feeding him every couple of hours, a heating pad in the box and pureed tuna fish to give him some strength. Geez, I'm not used to the demands of a little baby anymore around here. With each feeding, I wondered why we were saving another kitten. As I drew up another syringe of milk replacer, I came to the conclusion that saving the animals is instinctive. Not a lot of planning takes place for these little crises out here but nature kicks right in and wiggles into our world.
By Sunday, and thanks to Facebook, we found a family that could spare the time to feed Chip and keep him forever. My daughters cleaned him up, brushed his fur and tied a bow around his neck (not really a measure I would have taken but it looked pretty adorable when they were done). After a couple days, we had grown attached to the little fella and were going to miss his demanding mewing for his next feeding.
As the girls waited for the delivery time for Chip to his move to his new home, he was hopping and scampering arund the living room. It was a source of entertainment, especially to see our dogs try to dig into the hard wood floors to get a quick escape from Chips advances.
He wandered under the sofa and Sammee warned me that he was headed into unchartered waters under there. As usual, I didn't get too excited but responded, "he'll come out when he's done checking it out."
Sammee exclaimed, "I think he fell down the vent." I glanced over and made the exit out of Outlook to go check out what was happening with our little buddy. We pulled out the sofa and there, in the floor, was a gaping, open vent where no cover had been secured. Turns out, when a sofa is sitting over a square hole like that, the pressure to get it replaced isn't as strong. Although we had good intentions of replacing the cover several months ago we hadn't found the time yet. I guess it seemed harmless at the time. But now, the shoe box sized hole had swallowed up our little fella just before he moved out. The only thing we knew of his current state was a faint mewing heard from the mouth of the vent hole.
Sammee had already apprehensive about letting Chip walk around without a supervisor. And since I'm the one who keeps calm around here and ever reassuring to let things happen as they will, I didn't want Sammee to be right about the dangers of letting Chip walk around unaccompanied in the living room. I had to get him back!
With lightning speed reaction, I grabbed a spatula from the ktichen to scoop him out. Sams was on the floor luring him out with a towel and speaking in soothing tones. I didn't want to acknowledge it, but his mewing was getting fainter. I told Cecilia to go get her dad from outside. This was urgent!
Suddenly I heard Sammee say, I think he's gone. I said, "What?!?"
"Yeah, I think he's in the basement now. I kinda heard him slide down."
Cecilia ran down stairs...thump, trump, trump, trump....
She yelled, "He's in the furnace! I can hear him!" (Relax folks, the Central Air was on, it's 74 degrees in the house right now).
I clicked the thermostat into the off position (again, lightening speed) and followed the girls to the basement.
OK, now I was getting scared. Scared for the kitten and scared to admit that my casual attitude toward letting animals/children explore could bite me in the back side.
Hearing Doug come into the furnace room, the three of us girls parted like the Red Sea and let him in to fix everything. He carefully opened the panel door.
He pulled back the furnace filter.
I watched the girls faces hoping to read in their eyes that Chip was all right.
Doug reached down and I heard the familiar mewing as he handed Chip over to Sammee again.
OK, so she was right. Perhaps walking uninhibited around the living room is more dangerous than I thought.
Final thought: No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, there is value in all living beings...even Chip. Even though we can't plan for it, every now and then, a little bit of sweetness comes into our lives to shake things up a bit.
Blessings from The Bean Farm