I Might Lose My Finger.

I started yesterday hoping to be productive, but by 7:30am I was just hoping my finger wouldn’t fall off.

I crooned along with Springsteen’s “Sandy” while I drove my usual route to work. As I slowed at a yellow light, I noticed a small mound in the street and stopped in front of it.  Whatever it was, it was directly in line with my left front tire.  I leaned forward and focused my un-caffeinated eyes.  It was a tiny, gray kitten, likely not more than 2-3 weeks old.  This cat looked just like my dear, departed Pumpernickel.

I put the car in park and lowered my driver’s side window as I always do when I exit and leave the car running, just in case I hit the lock and then lock myself out.  I jumped out in the hopes of shooing this cat out of the roadway before the light changed.  I have enough problems; I don’t need to add Ran Over Kitten to my bad karma.

“OK, Kitty.  Get up.  Let’s go.  Come on,” I said in my sweetest voice.  The kitten stayed there in the tightest ball imaginable, looking at me with pure feline fear.  I reached down to see if I could pick it up and it hissed at me.  The hiss was laughable though because this baby could barely get it out.  Not wanting to upset it further, I gently tapped its cat-butt in the hopes it would get up and run.

No dice, that cat was staying there.  I stood up and looked around.  While this busy intersection is usually immensely irritating with its excessively long light, today I welcomed the delay.

“Are you OK?” a man shouted.  He was emerging from the bagel shop near where this kerfuffle was unfolding.

“There’s a kitten here and it’s going to get killed.  It won’t let me pick it up.”

“Let me try.”  Bagel Guy bent down, clearly nonplussed by the prospect of getting mauled by a kitten.  He wrapped his hands around her and gently started to lift her.  She suddenly came to life, squirming madly.  He dropped her and she took off running, straight under the car that was stopped at the light in front of me.

The light was about to turn green and the drivers who had lined up behind me were getting annoyed.  I moved my car so they could get around me more easily as Bagel Guy ran to the car up ahead.

“Don’t go!  You have a kitten under your car!”  The driver of the Old Black Jalopy put it in park and got out.  The two men searched under the car for the kitten.  I waved the drivers around our shenanigans before I joined in the search.  This cat was nowhere to be found, yet none of us saw her run away.  The light turned red again and the noise of traffic lulled.

“Mew!” was followed by a chorus of “I hear it!”  Sure, we could hear it, but we could not see it.  Where the hell did this cat go?  The driver of OBJ got on his back and slid under his car.  Somewhere in the inner workings of this car was a tiny kitten, mewing in fear, and we couldn’t find her.

A Lady approached from the bagel shop and we realized we had an audience.  “It’s still under there,” she said.  “We didn’t see it run out.”

OBJ-Driver popped the hood and we checked the engine.  This cat was so small it could have been anywhere.  Because it was a deep charcoal gray, it would blend right in with the machinery.  As cars were passing once again, there was no way to hear the faint cries over the traffic.  The only option we could think of was for OBJ-Driver to put it in drive and roll a little to see if Kitty got scared and ran or put it in drive, roll a little and possibly kill Kitty.

Traffic stopped.  She let out another squeal and I turned to follow the sound.  It came from the back passenger side.  I looked down to see a shiny little black eye and a half-inch patch of white fur stuck inside the wheel, right behind the hubcap.

I stuck my hand in to see what kind of grip she had and she let go just long enough to scratch me.  OBJ-Driver retrieved an old shirt from his back seat, got down behind his tire and reached up to pull her out.  Her claws scratched along the rust as he pulled.  She squealed in fear, but he kept pulling.  Better to hurt her a little now than crush her later.  Slowly and as gently as he could, his hand emerged with a kitten small enough to fit inside of it.

Bagel Guy, OBJ-Driver, Lady and I all cheered.  Then we all looked at each other because now that we had her, what were we going to do with her?  Excuses abounded before Bagel Guy finally agreed to take her.

{My husband is highly allergic to cats, so don’t hector me about not giving it a home.  Plus that thing had scratched me when all I was trying to do was save her life.}

We parted ways, thanking and congratulating one another.

I got back in my car and checked my finger, which was thankfully not bleeding.  When I got to the office, I asked around for medical supplies for my wound.  My colleague told me it’s a good thing I took care of this, because I could get Cat Scratch Fever (which is not just a Ted Nugent song) and then my lymph node would swell and I’d have a lump under my arm for 3 months.

And here I was just worried I might lose my finger.

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62 Responses to “I Might Lose My Finger.”

  1. Gia says:

    Awww what an awesome little rescue mission! Also, i do the SAME thing with the window when my car is running – I’ve locked myself out of a running car before and I learned my lesson.

  2. Wow. That is quite a story before 8 am. Thanks for saving ungrateful kitty. And you described it all beautifully. Erin

  3. So great! I like your tenderness and care, but also your limits– you weren’t going to take her home. I don’t know what I would do. I hope I would do what you did. I love the way you labeled the characters: Bagel guy and the OBJ. Very funny and accessible. Hope your finger is ok for tweeting and Facebooking and blogging….Oh, and working.

    • My finger is doing much better, thank you :) I am such a sucker – I always end up doing too much out of guilt. As much as I do not want another pet, I’m sure if my husband wouldn’t have died of allergies I’d have ended up taking the damn thing home and resenting it!

  4. christina says:

    haha that’s the first thing i thought of – the song.

  5. Mamarific says:

    I love that so many people got involved in trying to save the kitten! And that you all worked together to rescue her! Your story made me smile today…thank you.

  6. dalrie says:

    Aww that’s so sweet that you helped the kitty out. Not many people would have bothered. You are a great person! I’m glad so many people stopped to help, it kinda restores my faith in humanity a little. :)

  7. What a great story! I’m glad you stopped traffic. I couldn’t have taken her either–my husband is also highly allergic.My neighbors cat bit me yesterday and all I could think of was catch scratch fever!

    • Cats can be so mean! This one was just so scared, so as much as it annoyed me to have this scratch I couldn’t be angry. Of course if I had gotten rabies or something, that would be another matter!

      Hope you’re ok from your bite.

  8. Such drama before you’re caffeinated up. I was glad to learn of all the good Samaritans that joined in the search. A similar thing happened to me once. A friend’s kitten climbed up through the chassis of my car, as you suspected in your kitty story. In this case I agreed to leave my car in their garage overnight so they could eventually coax it out. They gave me a ride home and picked me up again when the kitty was safe in their arms. Your story brought back memories. Nicely told.

  9. Yay. You were quite the hero. So lucky for the wee kitty that your came along. Loved the story.

  10. Ado says:

    Oh good grief, the suspense of me thinking you would lose a finger! And the whole kitty cat thing (we are looking for one, btw). You do-gooder you! Hooray! Loved this whole thing. Loved!

    • If you lived closer, I’d have given her to you. She was so cute it hurt! Seriously, if my husband wasn’t allergic, I’d have kept her, even though I don’t actually want a cat. She was THAT cute!!

  11. saalon says:

    A few years ago, my wife and I got back to work and heard these weird sound that we thought was a bird. We headed toward the building when Erin stopped and said, “That’s no bird.” Crouched on the pavement was a mewling little kitten. We picked it up and drove it out to a shelter. It peed on Erin on the way. Thankfully, there was no worries of finger amputation. Just a wet shirt.

    The next day we heard the sound again, which is when we discovered an entire litter was hiding out in the rock wall next to the parking lot. That time we saw the mother, though, so we let them be. I don’t know which was the right choice: Taking the one kitten, or leaving the others.

    • Aw, kitten pee 😉
      I’m sure you made the right choices with the information you had at the time. Since then I’ve been looking around for other kittens or possible mothers but I see none. It’s a really busy street too, so a mother must have had them close by. I feel bad that she lost her kitten – that’s too heartbreaking to think about :(

  12. Great story – I could feel the emotions and four grown people slowed their workaday world for a tiny being who didn’t necessarily want to be saved by them. Well told, Michelle!

    • We all kept saying that we needed to be getting to work, yet we stayed looking for this cat. It was weird how time just stopped while we got this done. And it felt good to do.
      Thanks for the kind words!

  13. Larks says:

    See, I love this because it restored my faith in humanity a bit. Which I really needed. Yay kitten savers! Kudos to Bagel Guy!

  14. Dana says:

    My heart has grown a little today. You had the most productive day in the world because you helped save that kitten! If it were me, of course you know I would have taken her home and named her and kept her for 20 years, but I know your husband would die a painful death if you did that. Thank you for helping that sweet little kitten. <3

    • I absolutely thought of you when we were trying to figure out what to do with her but there was no way I could keep her for you. Hopefully Bagel Guy got her hooked up someplace nice <3 back at you!!

  15. stoopmama says:

    AWWW!!! Love stories like this. I always brake for hurt, scared or lost furry butts. Good for you!

  16. Yay, you! And bagel guy and the assorted others. I could picture every part of this story – great details and emotion. Your community rescue was heartwarming! Well done!

  17. Heartwarming story! Hopefully, she’ll have a good life with Bagel Guy. :)

  18. Bill Dameron says:

    Surely you do not live in a big city? I’m afraid the kitty would have not fared so well here in Boston…..Good to know there are still caring people in the world. This was fun to read.

    • I live in a suburb of a major-ish city. It is a really busy road, particularly at that time of morning. I pissed off a lot of people by blocking traffic. But it had to be done. Glad you enjoyed!!

  19. Kathleen says:

    What a sweet, funny story! I loved that everyone got involved to save the kitten. So refreshing to hear about the kindness — rather than the rudeness — of strangers. The “Cat Scratch Fever” line had me cracking up.

  20. IASoupMama says:

    Good work! And I totally get what you wrote about karma, too. It would be just my luck…

  21. Though I’m not a cat person at all, I dig your dedication keeping that little ball of allergies safe.

    And thanks for putting Sandy in my head all day :)

    • Yay for earworms!!

      I love kittens. Cats I could take or leave. But I’m pretty much like that with all babies. Sadly they all grow up. I said on someone else’s comment and it’s so true. If it was s grown cat, forget it. It would have been on its own! 😉

  22. What a sweet post! I’m glad that there are still some caring people out there.

  23. Michelle, I am SO glad you don’t have “Ran Over Kitten” on your record! A good deed and a memorable post.

  24. I applaud your use of the word “kerfuffle.” You made my day, too. Ellen

  25. Impressive! I can’t save myself without coffee. Nice that people can still stop the world for a little to save a kitten. Should have called the cat lady from my post! :)

  26. Brittany says:

    That’s really cool you went to the trouble to save that cat. Also, please don’t laugh at this, but I never knew cat scratch fever was a real thing.

    • I didn’t know it was real and then someone said it was so I had to look it up. It sounds dreadful, so I’m glad I don’t have it! Also not a fan of the song, so I think it’s just an icky phrase all around :)

  27. jamie says:

    This post held me to the end, I thought you really might lose your finger!

  28. Pippi says:

    Aw, you are so sweet!

  29. Loved the descriptions, the suspense and the sentiment. Great balance of all three…but there always is in your writing! Great job!

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