• Ericca Latza

9.30.2020// snow white & the six kittens

ft. the most patient mother on planet earth.

I've lost count of how many times I've brought home stray animals, but I have feeling my parents have them all written down somewhere. I'd spend most of my time outside as a kid, so the rescue started out easy enough. A baby bunny the dogs found here, a bird that fell out of a nest there. Around middle school I leveled up and found an injured squirrel, and a few years after that my grandpa found a blind orphaned opossum. I every time I'd come out of the woods and through the front door with my arms cradled around something, my mom would automatically squint her eyes shut and ask "what is it this time?" through held breath. Then one day I strolled through the living room with a massive crow sitting on my forearm, and she decided we needed to draw some sort of line.

Getting my license did nothing for keeping that line solid. A kitten I smuggled into school in my purse because I found it on the side of the road during my senior year lunch break. A stray dog-- and then 8 puppies because turns out she wasn't just bloated. A tom cat I wrestled into my truck at the McDonalds parking lot...the list goes on and on.

The trend totally carried into my adulthood, which I'm not upset about. In fact, I ended up with Piper because my Grandpa let me and my cousin help rescue her littermates.

I also have to give dad credit for every time a trailer has pulled into his driveway and left him an extra mouth to feed. The years of "project ponies" were some of my favorites. Not a single one of them were well trained (or trained at all in some cases), but he let me see the good in them and put them on his pasture anyway.

Lately, the rescue missions have been few and far between. Outside of a pitiful looking Beta at the pet store, I haven't acquired any extra lives to take care of. Until two weeks ago.

There I was minding my own business, clearing old hay out of the barn at my moms house. I was only in for the weekend and had a laundry list of things I wanted to get done, and I was mentally checking off tasks as I raked up the old hay. Then I heard them.

Lots of them: tiny little "mews!" from the hay loft.

Of course it's not in my nature to just not find out exactly what the situation is, so up the ladder I climbed. First, I ran into cobwebs. It's not even fair how many were at the top of the ladder. Second, I found snake skins. Two. Huge. Snakeskins. For two seconds I had a solid "NOPE" moment, until the tiny little meows started again. I saw a cardboard box towards the middle of the loft and thought "could it be that easy?".

I scooted my way past everything that made my skin crawl, nudged a box flap open with my boot, and there they were. Six little pairs of wide eyes staring up at me.

All thoughts of snakes and spiders gone, I sat down and went into full on "I used to be a vet assistant" mode. They were hungry, a little dehydrated, cold, and determined that I wasn't leaving without them. Every time I'd walk away from the box, they'd just yell at me louder.

The second I walked into mom's house looking for one of our old cat carriers, she pulled the famous eyes-squeezed-shut-what-now look that I haven't seen in forever.

An hour later, there's a kitten or two in every family members lap. We found and convinced Mama Cat to come inside, and she got as much food and rest as she wanted. I had to come back to TN, so mom took on the little displaced family.

I've been getting updates, except the tone changes every few days. At first it was "they're so sweet! They run to the door every time they hear me come out". Today I just got a one liner, "they've learned how to climb the screened in porch."

Mom, you're a saint. Thank you for letting me be a grown woman with the same heart I had when I was a kid, and participating (no matter how much you grit your teeth) in the rescue missions.

So, if anybody wants a kitten--I know a person.

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