In honor of volunteer appreciation week, I wanted to share this story that was relayed to me by an amazing volunteer.
The kitten wandered around the apartment complex, lost and alone. It was a cold evening and his stomach was grumbling because he hadn’t eaten that day. He finally curled up behind a bush and closed his eyes.
Suddenly, the kitten was jolted out of a deep sleep by a rough hand. “Look what I found,” the teenage boy said with a laugh as he swung the kitten around in front of his friends.
The boys threw the kitten like a rag doll, thinking the gruesome scene was harmless and funny. The youngest of the boys took out a lighter and burned the cat’s whiskers. He turned to throw the kitten into the complex swimming pool when a light appeared on an apartment porch.
The woman on the porch was a little nervous. She had heard there were some dangerous boys hanging around the complex, but she just couldn’t look away.
“What are you doing?” she forcefully yelled from the window.
“Mind your own business, old lady,” one responded.
Flying out of her apartment, she ran to the boys while clutching the phone, prepared to call 911.
The boys dropped the kitten and scattered. The woman gently picked up the scared, tiger-striped kitten and brought him inside. She had read somewhere that milk wasn’t good for cats, but that’s all she had until she got her next allotment of food stamps. The starving kitten lapped up the milk, curled up on the floor and fell asleep.
The woman wanted to call someone to tell them what had happened, so she phoned her brother.“Who do you think you are? Wonder Woman? You could have gotten yourself hurt going out there like that,” he said with concern. “And besides, boys will be boys, it’s just a cat.”
“No, it’s not,” she replied with a frown. “Anyone who can hurt a defenseless kitten can hurt a human next.” She had remembered hearing that people who abuse animals are more likely to engage in other acts of aggressive violence, including against family members.
She kept the cat warm overnight by covering him with the old blanket her mother had quilted when her first son was born.
She brought the kitten to the animal shelter the next morning.
“I wish I could keep him, but I barely can afford to feed myself,” the lady said as she turned the cat over to the shelter worker. “I really like cats.”
Seeing the tears flowing down the woman’s face, the worker came out from behind the counter and gave her a hug.
“You saved this cat’s life,” she said. The woman smiled. She left with a whole bunch of papers so she could follow up with the cruelty investigation. Buried in the packet was a flier about becoming a volunteer. The worker had a feeling the lady might be interested.
The skinny kitty was given an exam and some good food. While his whiskers were singed from the abuse, the veterinarian determined he would make a full recovery. He was held for the legal holding period, neutered and placed up for adoption.
The sweet kitten was soon adopted into a home with a little girl who was going to love him as much as he deserved.
A few weeks later, the shelter held a volunteer orientation to share information about the different ways people can get involved at the shelter. The clerk recognized the woman who had saved the kitten when she walked in the door. The clerk approached the woman to tell her she was happy to see her, but before she could, the woman grabbed her.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about the little kitty I saved. Although I can’t have a cat of my own, that kitty made me realize something important about myself,” she said. “I AM Wonder Woman. I can make a difference by becoming a volunteer.” This time tears fell from both their eyes.
Become your own superhero to pets in need. Join the volunteer program at the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. Sign up for a volunteer orientation at pasadenahumane.org/volunteer.