This is our kitten, Veritas. We already have two other cats, but one of my Facebook friends posted a photo of the tiniest, cutest little cat ever and she was looking for a new home for him. Of course I said yes.
He was so small, he only weighed about a pound and a half. He had been hit by a car and had broken teeth, a broken leg, some fur missing and was basically starving. My heart goes out to that kind of need and vulnerability, so naturally the two hour drive to pick him up wasn’t too much to ask.
A trip to the vet confirmed that he was not sick, just hurting. His leg bones had already set (improperly) so there was nothing to do but keep it from getting infected where the bone stuck out of the skin. Although he was so small, she estimated that he was ten weeks old. So we fed him, loved him, and tried to keep him from further injury. This picture is about three months later. I think he is pretty happy. The other two cats took some time to get used to him – he harasses them constantly – but they seem to be agreeable to living together now.
Sometimes I feel like this kitten: broken, hurt, but mending, perhaps poorly, but amazingly resilient. Sometimes my energy is annoying to those around me. Sometimes I need to go off on my own and rest. Some days I feel energetic and strong like I could conquer the world, and some days I just need to be cuddled and petted. There is a world of difference between feeling like a vulnerable little kitten who saps the patience of those around me and being that soft, strong creature who can hold her own with the other cats.
I had a rough week last week, identifying a lot with this kitten while I sorted out the difference between feelings of being rescued or being protected. One is temporary, the other long term. One is almost totally helpless, the other allows for interior strength in growth. Perhaps in caring for people, this balance isn’t static, but is constantly swinging back and forth. I think I know how I prefer to be treated, but can I extend that to those in my care?