There is a box on my porch.
A cardboard box, with a blanket inside.
We had our first snow of the year last night. A flurry of large chunky flakes that left everything entombed in a heavy, transluscent frost. It was the kind of morning where you just want to pull the covers back up to your chin, and catch a little more sleep, which, of course, is impossible when two 7 month olds are having a turf war over who should get to stick their fingers in your belly button. Bubba won.
Each morning in this house starts with me venturing downstairs, babies in tow, to make Hubs a cup of coffee for his ride to work while he walks the dog. Today, upon returning from their walk, he told me that Charlotte the Wonder Pup had been barking like mad at something. Here is my recollection of the conversation that followed...
"I think I heard a kitty mewing," Hubs said.
"Pretty sure, yeah." He reached for his cup of coffee. "In the bushes by the front porch."
"Poor little kitteh." I said, looking out the window. "It's so cold this morning."
Hubs took a sip. "I was thinking we should maybe put out a box with some blankets."
"Yeah...I don't think so."
So before you start judging me, you should know that I love animals - all animals. In fact our sweet Charlotte the Wonder Pup was rescued as she was headed to the slaughter. It's just that I have a bit of a history (a sordid history) when it comes to stray cats.
Let me explain.
About five or six years ago, Hubs (then my fiance) and I came home from a party very late at night. As we approached our stoop, I saw an adorable black and white cat. "Here Kitty, Kitty," I called, with my arm out. "Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty." Hubs walked ahead of me up the stoop and flipped on the porch light so I could get a better look. To my horror, the "kitty" I was mere inches away from petting was actually a skunk! We ran inside just as he sprayed.
Then there was the time I saw an adorable little kitten curled up against the curb sleeping. She was white and grey and just beautiful. Unlike the earlier story where I had consumed a few glasses of wine before approaching the animal in question, this time I was completely sober. I walked over to her, hand out, calling, "Here Kitty. Kitty." Only kitty didn't respond... because kitty was dead.
So you take those two stories, and compound them with the fact that a very close friend of mine has been battling a horrendous (and in her case life threatening) bout of cat scratch fever the last year (which she just so happened to pick up while rescuing kittens in her yard) and yeah... you could say I am a just little gun-shy about stray cats.
Gun-shy - but still an animal lover.
So like I said, there is a cardboard box on the front porch with a blanket in it.
Here's to hoping a rabid raccoon doesn't wander in.