Delight: A Palmful of Kittens

The world around me was a blur, quite literally. I sat in the salon chair with a cape velcroed at my neck, chemicals coating my hair to hide the grey. My glasses were folded and resting in my lap.

The stylist was distracted at that moment, and rightfully so. Someone had walked into her booth cradling a towel full of something I could not see, and which had her full attention.

“You won’t believe how small they are,” said the holder of the bundle.

Squinting didn’t help. “What’s in there?” I asked.

“Kittens,” she said. “I think they’re about 3 days old.”

My stylist, Christie, has a long history of reviving and fostering orphaned kittens, but the prognosis for these itty bitty kitties wasn’t great. Three days old – they needed their mama. But the mama had moved on, leaving them during a torrential downpour on an unusually cold day.

Christie ordered fresh towels be warmed in the dryer so she could wrap the kittens in the heat, and she phoned her husband and asked him to bring kitten formula to the salon.

Then there was still the matter of my hair, marinating in dye. I reached for the bundle, now encased in a warm towel, so Christie’s hands would be free to return to my hair. I wanted a closer look at these kittens.

I lifted them to my face so I could finally see. There were two – one white with grey patches, and the other a tiger-looking orange tabby. They were impossibly small – their eyes sealed shut and their ears more like the idea of ears rather than the final product.

The kittens were nearly motionless until I started stroking their tiny, fuzzy heads. Then they strained toward the warmth of my hands, the white and grey one in particular. The kitten would press its head into the curve of my palm so solidly I was afraid it couldn’t breathe. Could it breathe? I’d move my hand back to ensure the kitten wasn’t suffocating, but it would seek my palm again.

Soon, Harry arrived with the kitten formula. Christie wasn’t sure the babies were big enough to manage the bottle, but to our delight they eagerly drank.

Sated for now, we bundled them back into the towel. As Christie dried my hair, she’d occasionally aim the warm air from the hair dryer toward the towel. The kittens wiggled. The kittens pressed against my palm.

Soon it was time for me to leave, so I returned the bundle to Christie. I’m happy to report the kittens survived their first night under her care. Their futures are still uncertain, being so small and without the benefit of their mother’s care and nourishment. But for a little while, those tiny faces and nubby ears and almost imperceptible mews brought us delight. And maybe they felt a moment of delight as well, rescued from the rain, wrapped in a warm towel, pressed against the palm of my hand.

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