I have to get up in the morning at 3:30 a.m., because I have a long drive to work, at an industrial site far away from Dickinson, North Dakota where I live. For the first nine months of this particular work assignment, there were very few people at this site, which is located out in the middle of nowhere.
Several years ago, all of the wildlife in the area realized that there was no hunting on this industrial site. There was no hunting allowed on this location, because of the risk of damage being done to the equipment by any stray bullets. Several herds of deer, several packs of coyotes, several foxes, dozens of rabbits, a handful of feral cats, many pheasants, some badgers, and even a wolverine, yes a wolverine, began living at this location.
Not only did all these wild animals move to this location, these wild animals began to have a certain amount of trust towards me and my few fellow co-workers. In fact, some animals like the pheasants, actually preferred to stay close to where we were, sensing that neither the hunters nor the coyotes would come after them when we were around. Some of the rabbits would come within three or four feet of us while they were eating grass, believing that the coyotes, owls, eagles and other predators would not try to get them when we were there.
When me or my other co-workers did not want to finish eating the food that we had, we would leave the leftover food in a certain spot for the feral cats. I felt very bad for the feral cats, they were skinny and not in very good physical condition. The feral cats did not have any place warm to go when it got to be -10, -20, -30 degrees Fahrenheit. I felt that at least they could have our leftover food in the Winter.
Late this Summer, everything changed at this industrial site where I work. There were so many workers, that the rules had to change. Every day now, there are a couple of safety specialists, and environmental specialists at this site, who are there to monitor and observe everything that goes on. Their instructions to me, were that me and my co-workers could no longer feed the feral cats, as this would be considered interfering with the native wildlife.
What was even more upsetting to me, was that some of the new workers actually started doing mean things to the feral cats, rabbits, and pheasants on site, to the animals that used to have a certain amount of trust towards the people who worked on this site, that they weren’t going to harm them, and that they were protected. I am not going to dwell on this at the moment, it is just a fact that some North Dakotans get enjoyment out of hurting and killing animals like cats, prairie dogs, rabbits, pheasants, and deer.
I like cats, but I can’t really have a cat, because pets are not allowed in the apartment building where I live, and I am really just here in North Dakota temporarily for work. I left a cat back home at my house in Idaho, and I paid the neighbor to feed him, but supposedly he got run over by a car. I felt bad that I pretty much nearly abandoned this cat in Idaho, but I wanted him to be able to stay on his five acres of land, and I paid a neighbor to feed him, which I felt was the best that I could do for him.
I would like to have a cat, but I shouldn’t have one. Today at work, at 4:30 p.m, I heard a radio announcement that a lottery jackpot has now grown to $1.5 billion. I thought to myself, if I won this lottery jackpot, and a reporter asked me what I was going to do with all of this money, I would say, “I am going to get a cat, and then a girlfriend.”
At 5:15 p.m. today, one of the worker’s wives drove up to the site entrance in a new Ford F350 pickup truck. I walked over to her to ask her if she was here to pick someone up, and she said yes, her husband. I could barely hear her, because there was this cat screaming Meow!, Meow!, Meow! I said to this lady, do you have a cat in your truck, and she said no. I said pop the hood, and she didn’t know what I was talking about, but I knew there was a cat stuck up in the truck engine.
I went and got my work gloves because I was sure I was going to get bit and scratched, I pulled the hood release, undid the hood safety latch, and told her to turn off the truck engine while I went digging for this cat, it was under the air cleaner box. Within about thirty seconds, a six week old kitten climbed out from behind the radiator, and I grabbed him.
This woman, her husband, and some of the other workers thought that this was funny, it appeared that they did not dislike cats. I asked her about where she lived, to try to determine if this was one of her neighbor’s cats. She said, no, she lived next door to a bar, where there were a lot of homeless cats. I asked her and her husband if they wanted this cat, and they said no, not really.
I put this six week old kitten, which appeared to be a Siamese cat, on the front seat of my Jeep Cherokee, because I was not off duty yet. If it pissed and pooped in my Jeep, this Jeep only cost me $500, so it was not that big a deal. It sat down on the center console, and behaved pretty well. Also, it had not tried to bite me or scratch me.
Ordinarily, I would have just put this cat on the ground and let it go. But for one thing, this was not a cat, it was only a six week old kitten. Second, some of the workers on this location were doing mean things to the feral cats, rabbits, and pheasants. Third, the coyotes, the wolverine, an owl, an eagle, or other predator would have gotten this kitten this very night.
I don’t know what I am going to do with this kitten. I would like to keep him, because he is pretty well behaved. Halfway back to Dickinson, he came out of hiding, climbed up my arm onto my shoulder, and sat on my shoulder quietly all the way back to Dickinson and through town, just looking out the window.
I put him in my bathroom with a litter box, some water, and some cat food for about an hour when I first got home. He drank some water, ate all of his food, and he pooped in the litter box. So, I don’t have to worry as much as I thought I would about him using the litter box.
Here is a short video of him, he didn’t stay in this basket long: