Monday, June 15, 2009


Normally when I go on cemetery jaunts, I only bring back photos. Yesterday, I got more than I bargained for.

I was out at the Old Red Rock Cemetery, where I have numerous Lentz and Frankum relatives buried. It was the annual picnic Sunday and while I wasn't intending to stay for the picnic, I wanted to make connections to pass along a few photos and some family history for the association's ongoing history project. That accomplished, I headed out to the cemetery to take a few photos with my new camera.

I was alone at the remote cemetery, down a country road about a quarter mile from the main highway. I had visited my great-great grandfather Lentz's grave and was strolling away from it to search for some graves to fulfill photo requests for FindaGrave. Out of the blue I heard a demanding "MIAOW!".

I looked all around and could not find the cat who was talking to me. I thought for a second I was experiencing a ghostly visitation. However, a minute later a scrawny little grey fluff ball crawled out of a clump of brush behind one of the tombstones. I judged the kitten to be about 8 weeks old and it was in a sad state, so weak it was toppling over from side to side as it came toward me. There are no houses close by to this cemetery, so I couldn't imagine where it had come from.

I headed back to the car to get one of the bottles of water I had brought along with me. It was beastly hot out there and there's no water source. I figured the kitten would be too weak to follow, but I was wrong. It bounced along behind me all the way to the car, falling every so often, but gamely getting up and chasing along after me. It drank a little bit and talked. And talked and talked. Heaven only knows what story it was trying to tell me about how it had arrived in the middle of nowhere.

Well, no way was I going to drive off and leave the poor thing to the rattlesnakes, coyotes and hawks. I fashioned a cage out of a storage crate I keep in the car, pulling one of my recyclable grocery sacks down over the top to keep it confined, cancelled the rest of the cemetery visits I had planned for the afternoon, and headed for home.

On arriving home, I quickly discovered the poor little thing was starved. It gobbled down a half-packet of cat food with gusto, mumbling all the while it ate. I was very afraid that the little orphan might have some dreaded cat disease, so I kept it isolated all afternoon and all night, checking on it from time to time and feeding it every few hours. I refused to spend much time with it until I had a chance to get a vet's evaluation, knowing I might possibly have a problem on my hands and that a difficult decision might have to be made.

But, my vet gave it all the blood tests and checked it over thoroughly and pronounced I had a little girl in good health, though somewhat malnourished. She remarked she was sure that I would take care of that issue in no time. A treatment for earmites and the usual kitten intestinal parasites and Dixie was ready to go home.

Great-Great Grandpa Lentz was a soldier in the Confederacy. Since I found the little waif just down from his grave and she was gray like the uniforms of the Confederacy, her name would be Dixie.

Mojo and Coco have been surprisingly tolerant of the new arrival. Coco is particularly enamored and follows Dixie around, periodically holding her down when she gets too active.

Boo and Scout, on the other hand, are sitting at a distance, hissing and spitting. It promises to be a volatile couple of weeks on the homefront. At least I'm hoping by that time we have established a detente.

Dixie says she is here to stay. Boo and Scout can get over themselves.



dwilcoxen said...

She's a beauty and I look forward to meeting my new niece-cat. Anybody that lucky is somebody you want to know and hang around with.

Bettye said...

Cute, cute, cute!! No wonder you had to take her home.