Today I am sore, I cannot lift my arms above my shoulders, my hands are cramped and wrists painful to move. I have taken dozens of slivers out of my fingers and finally washed the dirt, moss and leaves from my hair.
I feel as triumphant and proud as I did defeated and broken only 24 hours ago.
I felt all the feels and emotions yesterday, last night as I finally dozed from exhaustion of mind and body.
My 13 year old son was given a beautiful tort kitten for his 12th birthday, something he longed for and babied upon receiving.
This was her as a kitten, smaller than our 7lbs chihuahua. He named her fireball because she has streaks of lightning along her face and a white tip at the end of her tail that looks like a flashlight, she was spayed, had all her shots and just turned 1; so we started letting her out for short periods of time, her never going too far from our front or back yard, coming back every time.
Until yesterday, well the night before now. I had not seen her all day and had a funny feeling about it but hoped she’d return by nightfall. my son went out looking for her 3x before going to bed that night and I knew something was wrong. I prayed we didn’t find her hit by a car the next day or worse eaten by coyotes.
George, our chihuahua her best friend also knew something was wrong, she was restless and paced the house seemingly barking at the wind.
The next morning (yesterday) still no fireball, my son opened the door to call her name all night long, I even walked out back at 2am hoping she would be there. I drove them to school and promised I would go look for her, I wanted to go to the gym, Christmas break just ended but I followed my gut which said to go look. I walked less than 5 minutes calling her name when she heard me and started to meow the loudest cry I had ever heard, in fact that cry would draw many neighbors and spectators through out my ordeal to rescue her, it was that loud. I followed the cry to a revine by our house, I looked down at the thick brush and new to go in there I needed supplies. So I ran home, put jeans on top of my yoga pants, pulled on my hunter boots grabbed the biggest jacket, some gloves and a hat because it was raining pretty hard. This picture below is where I had to navigate through to find her following her cry. I got to the tree, it was surrounded by prickly bushes, out I went to run back home to get clippers and a blanket.
I went through so many emotions in that first hour of finding her. As I hacked away at the prickle bushes making an entrance to the base of the tree, getting caught up in my haste and needing to constantly untangle myself, my jacket. I felt relief at finding her, joy, she was okay, then dread when I saw how high up she was, determination to rescue my babies baby, defeat when I couldn’t climb the tree. Hopelessness after 3 hours of cutting brush away and listening to her sad long meow. Worry, was she hurt, fear, will she die up there, what will I tell my son. I called the fire department, they dont help for this I was told. I called the city because it was a protected ravine habitat that you were not suppose to enter, they also were not going to help but recommended a tree service to help. I called animal protection, posted on facebook, someone please help! no one could. I was told to put white blankets at the base for her to see, I was told wave treats to coax her down, she was at least 40 to 50 feet in the air from under the tree you could not see her but needed to stand at a distance to see her. Way up in this evergreen!
I felt helpless, no one was going to help me, I couldn’t climb the tree, I didn’t know what to do. I felt lost. Not to mention cold and wet, I had gone through 3 pairs of pants and 5 pairs of gloves by now. My hat and hair soaked through.
I just kept talking to her, asking her to please come down, I cursed the bushes that were stabbing me with their tiny knives, I begged her to come down, I cried as I hacked away, here is my clearing job, I am pretty proud of it though I am painfully paying for it today.
I was giving up hope, I was waiting for the tree services people to call me back, I had learned from one of the people passing by that the night before she saw a couple of young coyotes on the path, they most likely chased her up the tree. Now I was worried she was injured too. I left my ladder, my clippers and blankets and went back home feeling defeated, willing to pay someone to get her down, though I had no idea how they would. The last time I went back to check on her to plead with her to try to come down, another person stopped and said she heard the cat and came to see and saw me, she asked if it was my cat, I said yes, I said no one will help me and that I was waiting for tree people to call. I turned and she was gone.
I went back home and waited, I stared at the wall worrying, what to do and finally they (the tree services people) called, the man nonchalantly saying -get your cat yet? I felt so dismissed, it’s not just a cat, she’s not even 2! she is my first born sons precious kitty. She was chased by coyotes 40 feet up a tree in a ravine and was up there all night in the wind and rain. Why did no one care! He said he could send someone in a few hours, I begged sooner, he said it was going to cost, I said fine whatever. I was about to leave for the bank when a knock at my door. Standing there was the last women I saw looking at me from when I was in the ravine that asked if I was ok, she said I have your cat. I was in shock, for real, I hugged her and said you do!? how? she said she loves cats, she climbed the tree and got her, she’s in her truck. I walked to her truck down the street and there was fireball, wet and scraggly. She said she was working in the area and heard the cat and saw me struggling. She finished her job and came to help, I wasn’t there so she tried and successfully climbed the tree. I still don’t know how, I couldn’t make it half way, I am a very fit person. I work out 6 days a week, I’ve done tough mudder, rugged maniac, many adventure races, 10ks you name it. If I couldn’t climb it how did she?
I felt so grateful!! Someone helped me rescue our cat, a part of our family that we would have been devastated to lose.
I had felt so many things in the span of 5 hours, exhaustion, pain, physical struggles and mentally drained. And today I am very sore but filled with relief and gratitude.
As I relive the moments of joy, defeat, stress, fear, worry, determination and helplessness, I feel so grateful to this women that helped me. I feel proud for having experienced all those emotions and kept going. I was scared but I wasn’t going to quit.
What a day! One I will never ever forget. And another reason my goal in life is to help others the way this angel/stranger helped me.
This is her, cold, wet, obviously shaken up by her adventure, she hasn’t meowed in the 24hrs since she’s been home, I think she did enough for 5 hours straight when I tried to rescue her.
My husband said I can’t believe you found her, like a mother, he joked. I said I felt like I was rescuing a baby and I kinda was, it was my sons baby and I knew he would have been devastated to lose her. He knows grief, he lost his sister when he was 6, his hamster when he was 9, not to mention he was just starting with the unmanageable teenage emotions coming up to his 14th birthday. I wanted to protect him from feeling that pain again and I was going to get his cat back. Miraculously an angel helped me after I felt so defeated, there she was with his cat.
A parent will do anything for her kids.
A good person will always help.
Thanks for reading,