She stumbled up to my porch Saturday evening and collapsed in a fluffy little heap next to the garbage can.
I was getting out of the car when my neighbor's children found her. We clustered around in a solemn circle, staring at the bloody gash behind her right ear and the crooked way she held her paw.
Nobody seemed to know where the tawny, white-flecked kitten with the sad eyes came from. A couple living down the street recalled seeing her around a week ago. She was just another victim of the streets.
Annapolis isn't really the yuppie sailing town the posters show. It's not really ruled by the politicians and tourists who frequent the downtown bars. In the narrow gardens and streets of the historic district, the cats are the Masters of the Universe.
Cats are so common in my neighborhood that a hurt stray didn't raise a lot of eyebrows.
When I walked down the street to see if anyone knew where the kitty came from, one woman sniffed: "Oh, another one. They're all over the place."
Most of my neighbors were more helpful, especially the woman whose children found the stray. We set out food and tried tothink of someone who would adopt a kitten. Both of us already have cats.
I was ready to call an animal control officer when the kittenlimped over, leaned her head against my leg and looked up with pleading eyes. There was no choice after that.
My neighbor, Sheila, andI spent most of the night at a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic in Parole. We stroked the purring kitty while we waited in the lobby and then held her during the check-up. She was so grateful for gettingattention that she even purred through her pain.
The vet diagnosed her as "affectionate, but depressed." She tested negative for feline leukemia, and the vet sent her home on antibiotics. I named her Natasha.
On Sunday night, as Natasha rubbed against my leg, I reacheddown to pet her and touched something sticky. An abscess on her neckhad broken open. I started crying because I thought she would die.
But Natasha rebounded. She's eating regularly, and her wounds are healing. She's stopped sleeping all day under the bed, and she's even playing with some yarn.
The only problem is that nobody seems to want her. Sheila and I unsuccessfully scoured the neighborhood all weekend. The few people looking for kittens have specific requirements. One grandmother said she just couldn't take Natasha because she wantsa black kitten.
With few other options left, I'm probably going to wind up taking Natasha to the Society for the Prevention of Crueltyto Animals. The SPCA has a great record placing kittens. But it's depressing to realize that so few people really want to be a good Samaritan.
It should be easier to find a home for a super affectionate kitten, even if she isn't white, striped or a newborn.