In October 2008, when I was a few months out of college and working a retail job that made me feel like a total waste of space, my brother-in-law called us and offered us two week-old kittens he’d found in a garage.
I jumped at the chance to escape my miserable work life and took some time off for an “emergency caregiving situation” (to this day, perhaps the biggest lie by omission I have ever told). I spent the next several weeks mixing up kitten milk replacement formula and bottle-feeding these two gremlins
and then teaching them how to pee in a litter box and then how to lap up milk and then how to eat solid food (my husband helped, obviously, but he was gone most of the day at something called an actual job).
These hand-raised monsters are the cats we still have and we have all been bonded by the trauma of raising and being raised by creatures of another species. We adore them, and for the most part, they tolerate us. Since we got them nearly five years ago, I’ve probably slept through eight solid hours just a handful of times. Because this happens:
And you know what? It’s worth it. I’m okay with being the kind of person who would spend seven weeks nursing kittens back to health (even if, at the time, I was so stressed out about their poop schedules I didn’t shower or leave the apartment for days).
Why is this relevant (aside, of course, from the fact that it explains why I’m such a cat lady)?
Yesterday my husband found a living, breathing baby bird in the middle of our driveway, an oddly far distance from any trees. It looks horrifying – it’s featherless and about a quarter of the size of my palm and it hasn’t opened it’s eyes yet, making it a nestling (thanks, Google!). We scooped it up on a REI catalogue, which made itself useful for once, and brought the bird inside.
Because we found it around 7:30 pm last night and it was too late to call rescues and vets, we decided to build it a little nest and warm it up with a lamp and feed it pieces of water-logged cat food every half hour until we went to sleep, as directed by the internet. (You know you’re a crazy person when: after discovering that your newfound just-hatched bird friend needs to be feed every half hour from sunrise until sunset, you are just relieved that at least it sleeps through the night.)
This morning, when my husband called local wildlife refuges, hoping to find a place for the little beast, they told him that all nestlings delivered to them are “humanely euthanized” …meaning we’re in it for the long haul with this creep, at least until he grows some feathers. We are way too tree-huggy to surrender Baby Bird to certain death.
Hilariously, my husband hopes caring for this (mockingbird? sparrow?) nestling will help him get over his INTENSE LIFELONG FEAR OF BIRDS.
Yeah. Probably not.