Positive Reflections on a Near Fatal Kitten Accident

two kittens walking outside together

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats
The other day a crazy thing happened. The most unlikely thing, the sort of thing that if you worried about it you would be paranoid and never be able do anything. Basically a folded hammock pouring off the edge of a chair became a noose. A tiny kitten got it’s head stuck in the strings and twisted and twisted making it shorter and tighter until it’s legs could barely reach the ground. Pure horror. If you saw 12 years a slave you know. I was literally about to leave and I did a quick scan and walked towards the kitten and it didn’t back off as usual. I was surprised and then realised it was stuck and suffocating.

I picked him up and tried to get it off over his head but it was so tight from the twisting. I struggled for a long time to untwist the whole thing whilst keeping the kitten still and the rope around it’s neck from pulling harder whilst I worked on it. The kitten was literally choking and I couldn’t pull the rope over it’s tiny fragile little head. Eventually I managed. Poor thing slid off the chir and crawled under something all scared and shocked.

Kittens being kittens – not 3 minutes later he was swatting at things and generally being silly. That kitten will have a new found trust in humans now. He just had to let me work on it. HE would have died. If I had left 5 minutes earlier the owner would have come home the next day literally to a horror scene of an unimaginable nature.

This for me is scary because what are the chances? You can’t go through life worrying about the unlikely possibilities like that. I am still pretty confused by it. A friend of mine, who is a parent, made a good point. Yes, I thought it was extreme bad luck. But my friend said you could also just say it was extreme good luck, because I was there to solve it. He said that as a parent he had to let go of all these fears and possibilities. He said in his experience when things like this happen there is very often a person there to solve it quite by chance. Therefore he says to himself that if one of his kids got in a situation, that he hopes that somebody will be there to help.

You can’t worry about every piece of string because you can’t catch everything. I am a cat person and I might have not left the hammock as such with kittens around but I also might have because it wasn’t threatening. It was up and out of the way. The kitten stood up on back legs to fiddle with it and got stuck. It scares me to think if I had left 5 mins earlier. I don’t understand why. Why did this happen. I believe I am supposed to heed it as advice. Not advice to be paranoid, but advice perhaps to be more aware of that side of things. You can’t go on a plane and spend the whole flight thinking it will crash. You can’t go through life paranoid. So what? Don’t fly or use the challenge as a lesson to overcome those fears? I think it has to be the latter because the former doesn’t make sense. But, here’s the thing, I kind of felt like I was already ok wit this sort of thing.

And that’s exactly why having it happen in front of me is confusing. I don’t know how to settle it. Where to file it. How to move one from it. This was not a person. This was nature in it’s cruelest and most arbitrary form. The one thing nobody can overcome or control or beat. Nature is harsh. This time shortly coming – two years ago – Red got run over. I’ve since had a thing about June. It’s my dads birthday on 16th and he died not long ago. So June just changed from one year to the next for me – forever. After this incidence I am a little scared of June. That’s me. I know it’s not rational but it’s not mean’t to be.

The kitten is 100% fine. If anything emotionally affected. I could have kept it to myself and nobody would have ever known about it. What the hell. Why me. How do I make sure to be in the right place at the right time next time? I suppose I have to take note of how it played out.

The key factor in it was simple. Somebody called urging me to leave quickly because I was late and had to meet them. So I was basically ready and was going to up and leave because I had sorted everything before, it’s not my house. But being in a hurry stresses me. I hate it. And I know I make mistakes if I am in a hurry. I suddenly got that feeling, and I liked it there and wanted to stay anyway. So instead of acting out the feeling as I would sometime and being all stressed and sloppy I said to myself “No, wait, ok, I am leaving, focus, ok one last look around before I go”.

I could easily have not done that extra check because I checked 5 mins or less before. IT was actually the feeling of stress which forced me to react by being extra organized to counter the feeling of stress. If there wasn’t a hurry, I would have just got up and left. The stress made me look an extra time.

So here’s my conclusion as to what to ‘do’ about this.

Whenever I feel like something is not right, and that I could counter balance or change that feeling with some kind of mental exercise or action, I will do it. I’ll make an extra effort to be aware of exactly when I feel things going wrong, and if it happens, I won’t be lazy and react in a destructive way, instead I’ll make an effort to solve it constructively.

It might seem strange to go into so much detail over a moment and a couple of thoughts, but if you experience something like that you can’t escape it. Your mind just goes back and plays it over and over. You have to do something. You can’t just let it haunt you. So the obvious thing is to try and understand it in a positive and constructive way. I was there! Luckily.

How to be there and similarly resolve an event of a similar nature another time?

The one overriding good thing here is – that I was there at the exact right moment and I saw it just in time. That’s the part of it which is incredibly, if not magically good. That’s the part I want to preserve. That’s the part which motivates me forward and it’s the part which makes it possible to move on and not suffer or change for the worse because of it.

Without that good side I think it gets disturbing. Like PTSD disturbing. Pure bad things happen all over. We are lucky we don’t have to live with such things where others do. Lands far away where evil things happen and quite arbitrarily in some cases too. It’s like a hurricane. or a tornado. It’s a force of nature and humans have always taken issue with it in different ways. In the developed world it seems like the solution is physical control, nothing left to ‘chance’. In India, for me, it’s the opposite. You don’t drive carefully there. You pray to the forces that be and ask that you be spared a horrible accident, and then you drive like a nutter.

There are different attitudes that deal with this untameable force of nature. How do you surf that wave correctly. Not getting left behind but also not going too soon that it crushes under it’s weight.

How do you manage your mental state in a way that allows you to best deal with what life gives you, even when it gives you something so impossible that your mind and emotions literally cannot process the information?


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

17 thoughts on “Positive Reflections on a Near Fatal Kitten Accident”

  1. That is horrible Marc, but i believe u were meant to be there for that wee kitten. I’m a firm believer in things happen for a reason even though its a horrible thing to go though. As you say if you hadn’t stayed there for an etc 5 mins you would never of known. Great article. I think yes you do have that that sensing ability. I think as cat protectors, we all have that its like that intuition when we know something is not right and we follow our heart. I often get that when something feels like something is about to happen either good or bad. Everything in life is meant to test us that’s the thing ive learn t most of all. Just thank Goodness you were there and listened to your Gut feeling.

  2. No matter how hard we try we can’t cat proof 100%.
    There are so many dangerous things for cats that we would never think about until something horrible happens.

    Ruth mentioned the washing machine. When I was a kid, my mother did laundry in a detached utility room. And, one day she piled clothes inside the washer and, just as she began to turn it on, she heard a noise and discovered a litter of kittens buried underneath the dirty clothes.
    So, all my life now I’m obsessed with aways checking washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, and ovens.
    And, since seeing a couple of cats reach their paws near fan blades, I only use stand-alone fans if they’re always in sight. Most of the blade guards on them won’t keep a small paw from reaching through.

    I’ve had my fair share of being torn up freeing cats from danger, usually finding them caught in fencing. Sometimes it takes everything I have inside to stay focused on the task, not project, and not freak out. Many times I’ll be weeping and not realize it.

    You have good instincts or sixth sense or whatever it is, Marc. It’s really a mystery gift that some people have been bestowed with. It can be very eerie. It’s not as simple as just being drawn to something; it’s almost like being compelled to see, to hear. I only have it when it comes to cats. I hear and see distressed cats when nobody else does.

    1. I agree with what everything Dee said. We cant totally be there 100 percent. I think you have a deep sense like Intuition, towards the cats, and that’s a gift like a calling. Its so upsetting, and hurtful when see such horrible things happen to cats. It does my head in when i read over here in NZ where u hear cruelty done to animals breaks my heart. Its good you were able to tell someone as it helps to talk about the feelings your going though. I guess like all cat protectors we can be there for each other as im sure we understand what its like to see a defensive kitten/cat go though so much trauma.

  3. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Marc that is horrifying! Thank goodness your sixth sense told you something was wrong. You must have felt quite ill with the shock and stress after you had freed the kitten and the reaction hit you!
    After something like that happening your mind keeps going back to it thinking….. what if?
    A neighbour’s cat almost strangled herself on a string attached to a scratching post, she got her thumb bitten to the bone while untangling her.
    I’m paranoid about our cats safety, no strings dangling, no bells or tails or small removable parts on catnip toys. I check no bags with handles are lying around. We took the bottom chain off our blinds to let them swing safely free in case one of our cats put their head through.
    I even check the washing machine if the door has been open although our cats have never ever climbed in.
    So many dangers for cats indoors as well as outdoors!
    But who would ever think a hammock was a danger so thank you for sharing this x

    1. Hey Ruth – yeah it was weird. I was and still can’t get it out my head. Poor little baby let me save him. He was helpless. He was scared of me but he just focused hard and stayed still for me. It was very intense because he kept choking and I had to try not to panic overtly because it would scare him even more. Poor baby. Well at least he knows humans are there to help him now.

      You blinds sound like one of those things.

      I worry about them going in the oven, you name it, I’ve thought of it. When people come over they get alot of instructions from me 🙂

  4. I’ll go up there at some point and put the hammock how it was and take a photo to put on this page. A photo of the kitten too. Kitten is about 2 months old. Eating solid food and they are living outside with mama cats.

    1. The point you make about PTSD is very relevant because I do remember bad things that have happened to my cats. I have these images in my mind. Can’t shift them. And I know I am damaged by these experiences.

      1. I’ll never forget finding Red and the 2 hours which followed. I still can’t walk past that place. I’ve been taking the long route to the station for almost 2 years now. When I am with somebody I have to explain because it looks dumb going the long way.

        I think these things stay printed in your brain, complete with emotions of the time. That’s the only time I ever felt what I understand to be hysterical – when I had carried him home and sat on the couch with him on my lap I just broke down like I never have before it was very intense.

        You are right Michael, these things are quite damaging. I don’t even really know what the damage is but I know it’s there because I feel it but also because other people tell me they see it – people who know me closely I mean. My ex told me that after Red died I never made it back to normal. After a month or so I started getting back into daily life again but I don’t think my level of happiness can ever be as it was before it happened. It changed my world in too big a way to reconcile so I never could find a place for it in my memories and feelings. So it just comes and goes and I have no idea really when to expect it sometimes. Yes, the month of June, and obvious triggers, but a couple weeks ago I woke up in the night – I am sleeping on the floor next to the balcony with the doors wide open so it’s like being outside really – and I could hear all the little insects and bugs and night time noises. There are distant noises. I could smell the greenery and it felt so nice and summery. All of a sudden I realized I was in Red’s world, hearing the sounds and smelling the smells of his little world, the area where I live. I felt directly connected to him and just burst into tears like I haven’t in a long time. Amazing how close we are to certain things that we tend to categorize as abstract and far away in time or distance. But those distant experiences are instantly brought to life through an object or sound etc. I really felt him, not his presence but his lack of presence, which, oddly, is the same thing I think. His world lives on everyday without him and for the moment that’s the only way I know how to look at it. I suppose the fact that I see my garden as being incomplete signifies that I am myself incomplete – I am literally missing something.

        Well I was certainly missing him that night. I wonder if his scent lingers anywhere outside.. like where he marked territory. I found a ball of his fluff the other day. It still happens. It had a tiny smell to it. I have a bunch of his fluff in a clear box which I don’t open to preserve the air in there – I have some kind of need to smell him I guess, or to make sure some part of his smell remains here as a memorial to him.

        Talk about not being able to let go – lol – that’s potentially pretty messed up sounding but I’m ok with it. I think it’s a valid human reaction. It will be a long time before I can let go of his loss. For now, the sadness I feel when I think of him and the memories of him are like an old friend. I would feel lonely without it. I’d be scared to just change the subject. I have come to need this mourning. It balances me. It cuts through anything. It gives me, believe it or not, security. No matter what happens to me I’ll always have Red in me and I’ll always be able to feel his (lack of) presence.

        I don’t know why humans get easily addicted to painful things – my only logical conclusion is that painful things make the way forward possible. They exist. they usually come from the most wonderful things and usually involve their loss – the loss of something good. The goodness level directly affects the ensuing badness levels in the case of loss. Maybe? The more you loved the more you lost? Don’t know. If that is a reasonable theory then should we not love so much?

        Maybe we love certain things too much. Beyond reason. It’s indulgent maybe. Perhaps we should learn to love everything a little more equally and not reserve it in overdose amounts for certain things. I think it might be true. By amplifying and intensifying your love for somebody you are essentially getting drunk on love in some ways. But in doing so we become weak, we create a powerful potential to lose that thing. We guarantee ourselves extreme pain later on. But avoiding pain just means avoiding life in the long run, and avoiding pleasure, because you can’t only avoid one and not the other. If you don’t get a cat because you don’t want to lose the cat then you never have the pleasure of living with a cat. Simple as that.

        If pain and suffering and bad things are a fact of life and if they are what helps us reconstruct our lives better than before then what better way to ensure that cycle continues than to love cats!

        Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

        1. Yes Marc it takes time to heal, but can tell just how much it hurt you as you truly deeply loved red, how still it takes time to get over, no matter if you have other cats the pain is still there. Its horrible losing a cat like that words can’t describe the pain. I agree certainly triggers makes it hard. Its like i can’t watch a certain program esp, if they are talking horrible against against animals or cats. I believe was more, than just an animal that’s exactly how i felt about Cass she was my everything. I truly believe things happen for a reason. It’s just like when Ozzie almost got run Over, and seeing him in so much pain and not breathing and panting. I know its not the same but was horrible and stressful seeing our cat in so much pain and felt panic and anxiety and worry. Anyway i think you did the best thing and its hard moving on from that point.

  5. lol – ok I know there’s alot of rambling in this. 🙂

    It was pretty freaky – I told a few people about it I couldn’t keep it to myself.

    It happened in the context of it being almost 2 years since Red died due to a similar but not quite purely natural cause.

    This has added to the insecurity I have over Red, danger and loss. But it’s also given me some new strength in handling my fears and paranoia constructively. I also think that these sorts of things happen more often than I thought but that perhaps often there is somebody there to help so it all works out and that’s why we don’t hear about it.

    I constantly read things in the news that happen to people and places and they are so awful I honestly have no idea how the people involved can move on. How do you overcome death and destruction when it is pushed into your life. How can people in war zones and weather disasters come to terms with what’s happening. How do you manage to live day by day knowing that arbitrarily you could die very easily for some reason because of the place you are stuck in.

    This little kitten dying is very small in reality when compared with what’s out there. The little lesson I am milking out of it in order to be able to move on might seem ridiculous to many people. Perhaps they could ignore it. I couldn’t. I couldn’t sleep that night. I had to have all this in my head for a while but now I think I’m slowly starting to come to terms with it all.

    I think that if humans struggle and feel pain and suffering and they get things like PTSD – that animals do too. How would mama and the other kittens have handled one of them dying hung there on a rope? I think they’d be very disturbed. I think it would greatly affect their emotional development. It’s not a fear of humans or noises or cars or obvious things that come from it but a fear of chance objects, timing and nature itself. For other cats it probably just sends out the message that they die, arbitrarily and at anytime, and there is nothing they can do to avoid it in some instances.

    When something like that happens it brings you closer to the other side. Closer to death. You feel it so close. Just a few moments away. A couple of small decisions away. A few meters away. When you escape it, when you manage to avoid it and everything is fine once again so quickly it is also very strange. You almost can’t believe what happened. The kitten started playing pretty soon after and the whole picture was again perfect, beautiful and happy. But the thing that doesn’t go away is the feeling of proximity to disaster.

    1. yikes you are right! Had to stop reading.

      BTW anybody who has snow globes in their home should get rid of them.

      They fall, smash and the cats lap up the liquid because it tastes sweet to them – because it has antifreeze in it. It kills them. No more snow globes, especially where cats can knock them off shelves. That’s my advice anyway – yes – I did read about the worst happening to a cat due to a snowglobe getting broken.

      1. Well isn’t that basically the only thing you can do with something like that…. I mean what doesn’t kill you should make you stronger. I guess the point is that some things force you to confront fears and those things can’t be ignored simply because you are scared. So whether you like it or not, that energy is going to have an effect on you and your way of thinking.
        It’s easy to be lazy and destructive in the face of a terrible unlucky experience and to close yourself from life and never take risks again…etc, but living according to ones fears is a dead end road. Gotta face them and go through them.

        Logically and obviously, the only way to handle fearful, confusing or painful experiences is to use them as a way to try to improve yourself so that you become stronger and wiser as a result.

        1. I agree things like this do in fact make you stronger within yourself. They are like Things you have to go though. I’ve had a few hard things that ive learnt to grow though and they do make you a better person for it. Without you being there that little kitten would’ve survived. Yes a situation like this certainly is very hard emotionally and physically its hard to understand the whys it might also give you the reason of what you did. Im sure the mama cat was thankful for what you did. Good on u anyway

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