The new arrival


“What is it?” Blake asked as Chad came out of the sewer hole holding something in his shirt.  “Where’s the ball?” Scott yelled from across the street in the makeshift baseball field next door to Chad’s house.  Chad was looking down at his shirt engrossed in whatever was there but mumbled “I couldn’t find the ball” to Blake as he walked away.  Blake and Chris hoisted the sewer lid back onto the hole and then ran after Chad trying to catch a glimpse of whatever he had found.

“You jerk!” Scott hollered as he swung his bat at the air and started homeward.  Chad didn’t even seem to hear Scott or notice the boys running alongside him as he circled his garage and let himself in through the wooden gate to the back yard. 

He sat down at the kid’s picnic table and let the writhing thing loose onto the tabletop.  Blake and Chris circled the table and sat on the other side, all three boys looking down at the bundle of wet fur sitting on the table.  Suddenly the little ball of black fuzz looked up with big blue eyes and let out a little mew.  All three boys broke into huge grins as they watched the very small kitten walk experimentally across the red plank table to look over the edge. 

“Maybe he’s hungry” Blake whispered to Chris and Chad.  Chad must have agreed because he jumped up and ran in the back door of the house calling out “watch her” as he went.  A few minutes later Chad came out with his little sister Caroline in tow carrying a small plate of finely chopped meat.  Caroline had a bowl of water.

“I wanted to bring her milk but Mommy said that it’s not good for cats” Caroline lisped as she climbed up onto the table next to the kitten.  Chad lowered the plate to the table and the kitten, after sniffing it for a second, began taking small bites.  “It’s chicken” Chad said when Blake asked him what it was.

The kitten was beginning to dry out in the sun and there was a little bit of white under the chin and on the neck.  Blake and Chris were convinced the kitten was a boy and were arguing amicably about a name.  “I like Baseball” said Chris with a chuckle, “that’s what Chad was supposed to bring up when he came back.”  “No he looks like a Spot, see the white spot under his chin?” said Blake.  Chad hadn’t said anything but was sitting on the tabletop next to Caroline his hair hanging over his face, watching the kitten eat.

Caroline suddenly squealed as the kitten stopped eating long enough to nuzzle her hand and give another mew.  All of the kids looked up as they heard a door closing and watched as Chad and Caroline’s mother walked across the backyard carrying a small box with a towel under her arm.  “I told you not to let Caroline touch the kitten Chad” their mother said as she arrived, standing behind Chad’s friends to look at the new arrival.  “I brought a box, let’s put her in this and take her up to see the vet” Sue said as she watched.  “She’s filthy!  Where did you say you found her Chad?” 

Chad shot a warning look at Blake and Chris as he looked up at his mother and said “It came climbing out of the sewer across the street Mom.  I think it’s a she too but how can we tell?” he asked as he reached out to pick up the kitten.  Sue stopped him and said “No Chad, you all go inside and wash your hands, arms and faces and I’ll put her in the box.  Boys run home after you get cleaned up and ask your parents and if they say it’s okay you can go to the vet with us, hurry up go now.”

The children ran off to do as they’d been told with no argument.  Sue used to towel to lift the kitten into the box and lay the towel down next to it.  The baby circled around in the box for a few minutes and then settled down with it’s head on the towel, promptly falling asleep.

Sue picked the box up and headed for the van in the garage.  She placed the box behind the front seat where Chad would sit when he came out and pulled the van out to wait for the kids.  Just as she put the vehicle in park she saw Chris and Blake come bursting out of their front doors across the street and run over to the van.  “I can go Ms. Caruthers” Blake called out as he climbed in the side door followed by Chris “Me too!  My mom says to tell you thank you for letting me come too.”

Chad and Caroline came out the garage door and clambered into the van shutting the van door and belting themselves in.  Chad looked down into the box and saw that the ruckus hadn’t even woke the kitten up.

Sue pulled the van out and headed for Dr. Franklin’s office only a few blocks from the house.  When they arrived Sue let Chad carry the box into the vet’s office.  Carly, Dr. Franklin’s assistant, greeted them and took the box from Chad leaving them all in the small waiting room to cool their heels while they checked out the kitten.  Finally after what seemed like hours to everyone, even Sue, Carly came out and asked Sue to come back with her to talk to Dr. Franklin.

When Sue walked in she saw a little wet bedraggled pile of fur shivering on the big metal table.  Dr. Franklin explained that she had been pretty dirty so they’d had to clean her up.  He gave her some meds and told her she needed to bring in a stool sample to be tested but that the kitten, indeed a little girl, could go home with them tonight.  “She has been treated for ear mites and when you bring her back next week we’ll run some tests and start her shots.”

“Can she be around the kids?” Sue asked the doctor.  “Oh they should be fine, she does not have fleas but we treated her anyway” Dr. Franklin told her as he gently stroked the kitten with an absorbent towel while holding her against his chest for warmth.  “She’s had a scary day so she’ll be pretty shaken up but she should be ready to explore her surroundings in no time.  Keep her away from any other pets until we’ve had a chance to look her over completely, we don’t want this little girl making anyone else sick.”

Sue thanked the doctor and, after paying the assistant and getting last minute instructions, left holding the kitten in her arms with a trail of children following behind, leaving the box and old towel for the vets office to dispose of.  Once Chad was settled Sue placed the kitten into his arms and they pulled out.  All of the kids were quiet as they drove, watching the kitten dozing in Chad’s arms.  As they drove Caroline piped up from her car seat “We should name her Figaro like the movie!”  Chad smiled and said “No Caroline Figaro is a boy.”  “What about Figgie?” Chris asked the van full of people and everyone agreed this was a very nice compromise. 

“Figgie it is!” said Sue as she pulled into the pet store down the street from the vet’s office.  “Come on kids, let’s go kitten shopping” she said as she turned the key off and unhooked her seat belt.  “What about Figgie Mom?” Chad asked as Chris opened the van side door and Blake helped Caroline out of her car seat.  “It’s okay Chad they let you bring animals in here, just carry her gently and we’ll be in and out in no time” Sue said as she took Caroline’s hand and waited for Chad to exit the van.

The rag tag group walked into the pet store and gathering all of the necessary items for their new resident, headed home to get her settled.  They put her litter box in the laundry room and settled her in there to get her acclimated before letting her loose in the house.  Sue had bought a book at the pet store and Chad sat on the floor in the laundry room while Figgy wandered around sniffing and snuffling.  Caroline had thrown a fit when they came home from the store because their mother had made her go take a nap.  Chad knew he’d have an hour to himself with Figgie before Caroline woke up and came back.  He was determined to finish the chapter about introducing your kitten to it’s new home before he was interrupted.  Blake and Chris had gone home for lunch but had promised to come back after.

Figgie was laying down again, in the corner on top of a pile of comforters.  Chad scootched around and splayed himself out onto the floor so his face was next to Figgie.  Sue opened the door quietly a few minutes later and, draping a blanket over Chad left the new friends there to their nap.

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