Around the time I was in second grade, we were in our third home. It was a nice little two-story house which was cool because the house we had moved out of was only one story. This meant we could go from having one room for all 4 of us to having 2 to a room.
I’m in no way disappointed with the house I have now and this could just be nostalgia but I loved this house. We were only there for a year but I have so many great memories playing in the yard and the nearby woods.
Under the back porch was a stairway which I believe led to the basement. I don’t remember ever going down there. The only proof I have of the house having a basement is the fact that it was a two-story building. I just remember the wooden panels folded up on a hinge to get to a stairway. Although, even that could have been something different, and my 7-year-old self just remembered a door to some stairs.
I don’t remember exactly how we found them but one day there was a litter of kittens living in the stairway. We took care of them for a few months and it was great. We had had cats before but this was the first time I remember having kittens. We would play with them and feed them and all the normal things you do with kittens. And we also had mama there to play with and feed.
They weren’t allowed in the house which at the time I never questioned. I guess I assumed kittens were supposed to stay outside. Maybe I did question it and got an answer which made sense so I never thought of it again.
Then one day it was time to give mama and her kittens a new home. So we put them all in a big cardboard box with some food and we packed up the car to go to the lake where we went camping that summer.
I’m not sure where I thought the cats would be going, whether they were going to live at the lake, or someone else was going to take them from there. I just know I wasn’t ready for where they went.
We got just a couple minutes from the lake and the car pulled over. My mom’s boyfriend got out and grabbed the box and threw it into the woods, then got back into the car and we drove off. We were not happy. My sisters may have known the cats were going to be left on the side of the road but none of us liked that he had thrown the box instead of setting it down.
It was summer when it happened so at least I know they weren’t at too much risk of freezing to death. But I can only imagine how terrible that must have felt. To have a litter of kittens and not know what to do with them but then a family finds you and takes care of you only to abandon you. And suddenly you need to teach your kittens to hunt in a place you aren’t familiar with and can’t be sure where it is safe to be.
I still think about them years later whenever I drive by the spot where they were abandoned.
Please, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are no longer able to care for an animal, don’t abandon it in the middle of nowhere. Most animals will sit there and wait for you to return, sometimes at the risk of their own health and safety. I know shelters are filling up and not always able to take them in but there are always people looking to rescue animals. Be vocal about it. Post everywhere that you have however many of whatever animal which you need to rehome. And when someone contacts you because they are willing to help you find a safe place for your animal to live, don’t charge a rehoming fee. If you are really not able to care for it anymore, the last thing you should worry about is getting compensation for their safety.