July 20, 2013 by Andy Lester
A man intent on flushing a rodent hideaway with a garden hose comes to the horrible realization that he is drowning kittens.
If “Yard Rage” is a thing, there’s the kind that makes you scream at the top of your lungs “Get off my property!” and the kind directed at creatures that dig, chew and eventually get in your house. This true story is about the second kind…
My nightmare began as I nearly took a header off our front steps as our terrier became a trip hazard when crossing the threshold to go outside. The dog was hyperventilating into the small gap between the steps and the house. The space got larger and was more than two inches wide at the base and I held my ear to the hollow concrete steps to try and hear any tell-tale scratching or skittering of a field mouse, mole or even a ferret.
Listening intently, I did that thing with my eyes to make you hear better, but only silence breathed back at me as my eyes darted, left and right. I was sure invisible ninjas of domestic destruction were ready to violate my home, chew on wires and leave gifts of organic origin in the silverware drawer.
In the past I’d captured and relocated an invasive chipmunk, removed a sassy squirrel from the attic soffit and literally flushed a hedgehog out of an unsightly, ill-placed front yard burrow. Feeling alive with conviction, I snaked a garden hose into the concrete cavity of the steps. As king of my domain, declaring war upon the rodents, I turned on the water full force with three royal turns of the faucet and waited.
Minutes passed and nothing happened except the rush of water sluicing the silence, gradually rising in pitch and filling an embouchure of eternity. After more than ten minutes, I began to hear faint, tiny sounds, barely audible above the rushing water…
“Mew! Mew! Mew!!!”
In that instant I stopped being “the Man” and became someone hideous – that was drowning kittens! The kittens were mewing a lot – clearly in distress and now I was swearing and running as fast as I could to shut the water off. I yanked the hose out of the concrete steps saying “No, no, no, no, no, no…” but the frantic mewing had been slowing and had now stopped completely before I got the hose out.
After thirty minutes of feeling sick I explained to my family about the accident. It was horrible and didn’t matter that I did not know. Maybe my daughter would tell her friends, “Yeah, my Dad gave up yard work after he accidentally drowned some kittens”. For days I felt like a shadow in my home and mentally prepared a Mary Shelley version of “Shilo” all sparked by my arrogant Caddyshack campaign.
Two days passed and there was a visitation. A grey cat appeared in the driveway, just lying there looking at our front door and the steps. She didn’t move, just… stared. It is unbearable and surreal to get a guilt trip from an animal because it’s totally legit. They simply don’t have an agenda.
We avoided looking out the window as the mom cat would routinely appear in the driveway, just looking at the steps but one evening I thought I heard a “mew”. I stuck my head out the window and there was another and another and multiple mews at the same time! Concentrating I tried to separate the tracks in my mind and memorize this melody of life. A kitten emerged and eventually there were three and they were beautiful. I put them in a box with a blanket and didn’t care about the cliché. After consulting with a cat rescue volunteer, I trapped the mother in a humane “Have-a-Hart” trap, successfully transported the family to a shelter in town and the entire cat family was placed.
Looking back I was rash, aggressive and had convinced myself that clearing any and all animals from my property was okay. The result of my actions and the dramatic kitten rescue were clearly a lesson for me in restraint as my almost fatal flaw caused me to nearly put the kibosh on the kittens! Looking back, I think Karma kicked me in right in the Hubris. Nice shot, Karma!
Check out photos of the real kittens of this story at:
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