Written by Corina Ravenscraft of Tennessee
I work the late shift at a university library that is open until 2 a.m. There are a lot of stray cats on campus that have become permanent residents. Both the students and staff feed them, and despite their best efforts, animal control can’t catch them all; there always seems to be a new litter of kittens in the spring semester.
Two years ago, our area was hit with a major flood and people around here called it one of those “thousand year floods.” Last year, it looked like it was going to happen again. The rain just wouldn’t stop and the water levels kept rising. One stormy night, I had gone outside to take a phone call and I kept hearing a kitten meowing. As a lifetime ‘cat-person,’ I knew exactly what a kitten in trouble’s meow sounds like. It was pouring down rain and I could barely hear it, but I couldn’t go back inside without at least trying to find the kitten. There were several students who had heard it, too, and they reported to the people inside at the front desk that there was a kitten somewhere out there. I went back inside, grabbed an umbrella and told my co-workers that I was going to find that kitten. In my haste to find the poor kitty, I didn’t think to grab a flashlight.
Frantic Meows Echoed in the Rain
We have a very large, bowl-shaped grass area in front of the library which fills up with water if it rains long and hard enough, due to the storm pipes at each end of it. There are a few sidewalk lights placed at various points around the outside of the bowl, but they didn’t shed much light through the downpour. The meows seemed to be coming from somewhere inside the bowl, but the sound kept bouncing off and echoing in the rain so it was hard to pinpoint.
I began to slowly walk around the outside of the bowl, stopping every few feet to listen and try to pinpoint where the meows seemed loudest. After about fifteen minutes, I thought I had found a close spot, and started slowly walking into the grass, calling out “Kitty? Hey, kitty…”
I could still hear the meows and was heartened that they sounded close. I almost stepped on her and stopped just in time. Looking down, I could barely make out the tiny, black shape in the grass, crying her little lungs out for someone to help her. I bent and picked her up, holding her close to me under my jacket to try and keep her warm. The poor thing was soaking wet and shivering cold and immediately buried her head in my armpit, pushing as hard as she could to get safe and warm. I think that was the moment that she captured my heart.
She Needed Warmth
I brought her back inside and dried her off with one of the spare towels we keep for drying off wet books and then kept her cuddled in my lap to absorb my body heat. I didn’t have anything to feed her there at work, and I wasn’t sure she had been weaned yet since she looked to be only about five weeks old. My “lunch break” is from 9:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and the only place close which was still open was a 24-hour gas station. I had two cats already, so I had catfood at home, but I didn’t know if the kitten would be able to eat it. The gas station had some kitten chow, and luckily, some baby food. I purchased both and drove home.
When I came inside, my boyfriend was still awake and saw the kitten in my arms curled up against my chest. He smiled and asked, “So what are we going to name it?” I hadn’t intended to keep it, truly. I had a friend who had recently lost her 15-year-old tuxedo cat and was thinking this little kitten might be just for her, but discovered the next day that she wasn’t ready to get another cat yet. So, the next night I told my boyfriend that the kitten’s name was Kismet. I feel safe in saying that Fate certainly had a hand in bringing us together and I hope to share my life with her as long as she’ll have me. She has since been adopted into our family and we’re all living happily ever after! See Baby Photos of Kismet