Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oktoberfest Blogfest: Bilocating Kitten

Since I signed up to join Bish Denham's Blogfest, involving posting a short ghostly experience, I reckon I better get on it.

This is a true story and the weirdest thing that ever happened to me.

Some years ago, we had orphan kittens. We were alerted to their existence by the agonized cries of the smallest, most-loudmouthed one, who was also the first to try to climb out of the box even though her eyes were glued shut by infection. We called her Intrepid. She was a dark gray tabby. She had two sisters, a dark gray tabby with white feet (Whitefoot), a black (Ford; she was an Explorer), and gray with a white chest (Pogo; he looked like a possum).

We kept them in the sunroom so our big cats wouldn't molest them and contract their fleas, fed them with an eyedropper, combed the fleas out of them, and washed their poor infected eyes regularly with saline solution. Before the recent reconfiguration of our back porch, the three rooms - laundry room, powder room, sunroom - were all connected to each other by doors, with entrance to the main part of the house from the kitchen to the laundry room and from the dining room to the sunroom. Once the kittens started moving around on their own, I would utilize the powder room as an airlock, entering through the laundry room, closing the door behind me, and then opening the door to the sunroom. But none of the doors closed very well.

One night I woke up and saw Intrepid, or possibly Whitefoot, on the foot of the bed. I sat up and she pounced into the mass of covers pushed down there - it being June and too hot to sleep with the covers up - so that I had to fish around for her. I couldn't find her. As I woke up more I realized that, even had one of the felines in the house gotten the door to the sunroom open, a kitten who could barely climb out of a box would have had to cross the dining room and kitchen, climb the steep back stairs (each riser taller than any of the kittens at full extension), cross the landing, climb the second flight of stairs, cross the hallway, and climb onto a waterbed frame with no help from a dangling bedspread. It wasn't possible. This was a hypnopompic hallucination - essentially, my body had started to wake up, but my brain had continued dreaming for a short time.

Not a big deal.

Next day (possibly my memory conflates events and it might have been several days later), the kittens were lively and I had to move back and forth between the powder room and the sun room several times in the course of tending to kittens, so to restrict the time they spent underfoot I put all of them on the bench seat in the sunroom while I went to the bathroom to get what I was after. By the time I turned around, I had kittens in my way. Intrepid in particular seemed anxious to get stepped on - while Ford and Pogo chased each other, she was directly where I needed to step. So I gently lifted her aside with my bare foot under her belly, laughing at the way her little black paws clawed the air on either side of my instep, and returned to the sunroom - where I found Intrepid, too small to jump down, standing on the edge of the bench seat meowing frantically.

None of the kittens, at this point, could climb onto the bench seat without assistance. Even Pogo, the biggest and strongest, had to use an intermediate box placed next to it to get himself up. Yet there she was. But I had felt her furry belly across my instep. And although it was easy to confuse Whitefoot - currently at the base of the bench seat - with Intrepid, I had specifically seen that the kitten I lifted had dark paws.

I have no explanation for this. I only tell you what happened.

Intrepid was the only one of the kittens who died. She never gained weight past 6.5 ounces, never got weaned. She died while I was on an out of town school visit, probably of hypothermia in the middle of June in Texas, because her body couldn't retain heat and the other kittens no longer stayed in the box insulating her.

I don't know if that is relevant.

Weird things happen, that's all.


  1. Hello! dropping by from Bish Denham's blog hop.
    That is kinda creepy. I'm so sorry about poor Intrepid.:(


  2. That is bizarre, like she was there and not there at the same time. Thanks for playing along Peni!

  3. Oh, poor Interpid. Hope her siblings fared better. Those events do seem rather bizarre.

  4. Poor Intrepid!
    (I love the names that you chose for the kittens!)

  5. I also love the names you gave the kittens (Ford might be my favorite). Poor Intrepid though.

    Stopping by on Bish's blogfest.

  6. Hey, y'all! Nice to see you. I don't find these events creepy, myself - I'm much too used to cats - but it's distinctly weird, and the fact that Intrepid was the reason we found the litter, and then she died, is resonant. Bilocation is one of the abilities of saints, so - did I have a saint kitten? It seems unlikely.

    We found homes for the rest, Ford to a teen, Pogo to a young married couple, and Whitefoot to Kitty Heaven - a pair of middle-aged lady roommates who needed a surrogate child.

    I cried about giving them away for days and sometimes have a sharp feeling of regret for doing so, but in order to curb our "save all kitties!" impulses we have a strict one-cat-per-person-in-household rule.

    Sensible rules suck.

  7. What a great story and what a wonderful Intrepid kitty. Sometimes things just are the way they are and making sense of them impossible. Still Intrepid left an impression and in a very short time he had. Maybe that was the idea. He was saying, "Remember me."