Yeah, you read that title right. My mom is a badass. A badass animal-rescuing superhero.
Over the weekend, we were driving along a stretch of I-75 near Tifton, GA. I was chatting away on the phone with my Valentine, Sarah, and my mom was lost in the throes of her audiobook.
I saw a golden ball of fur on the inside of the highway, up against a cement wall. Roadkill, I thought.
Except it wasn’t. We drove past this ball of fur, and it was huddled up against the wall and most definitely NOT dead.
“It’s alive!” I shrieked at my mother. “The cat was alive.”
“Maybe you should go,” Sarah said, and without even really acknowledging her, I hung up. (Sorry, Sarah.) Then I looked at my Mom, who was now wearing her game face.
You see, my family rescues animals. Always. We’ve taken home more dogs and cats than you can even imagine, and we’ve single-handedly saved half of those from deaths on a highway.
“We have to go back,” I said.
Mom nodded. “There was no shoulder, but we’ll drive back and see what we can do.”
We got off at the next exit and looped back an exit to drive by the cat again. But there was construction on the right, and no shoulder anywhere on which to park. We zoomed past the cat–still alive and still huddling.
Again, we had to loop exits and come back, but this time, we parked on the highway’s on-ramp. Then we got out and walked. We were afraid that even if we could cross three lanes of full-speed traffic, we might scare the cat into it… Plus, because there was construction, we’d have to climb over a cement wall before we even got to the traffic-evasion.
We came level with the cat, and it turned around, spotting us across the highway. It meowed, and my heart almost broke.
At that same instant, a giant black truck careened off the road right for the cat–and the wall behind.
My heart lodged in my throat, and I watched in slow motion as the truck barreled straight for the ball of golden fur…and then somehow, three feet before impact–veered back into its lane.
“Let me go,” I shrieked at my Mom (seriously, I was super dramatic). “There’s a gap in the cars now! Let me go!”
My mom gave me her stern, pinch-lipped face. “You. Will. Not. Go.”
“I am 58. I can die for a cat. You cannot. Now stay.” Then she looked out over the highway, saw her moment, and moved.
She hurtled the cement barrier and then power-walked across the highway. She didn’t want to run in case she scared the cat, but walking would have been waaaaay to slow. Those semis don’t stop down for nothing.
She came up behind the cat, snatched it up, and then flattened herself against the wall right as traffic came rocketing past. All I could manage to do was pace, wring my hands, and beg God to keep my mom safe.
Another gap in cars struck–a really short gap–and this time, Mom bolted. She flew across the three lanes, leaped back over the cement barrier, and then looking as cool as you please, said, “That was very stupid. Don’t tell your dad we did this.”
All I managed was a blubbery, “Thank you” because I was keening off adrenaline and about to start crying at an moment.
Mom glanced down at the ball of fur–it was just a teeny, tiny kitten who was purring like crazy and clearly sick. Oddly enough, we already had some cat food and litter in the car, so we just plopped her down in the car, fed her (she was VORACIOUSLY hungry), and then let her go to sleep.
And that, my friends, is how my parents wound up with one more pet–a kitty named Tifton.
We took her to the vet the next morning, and it turns out she’s not a kitten at all. She’s just severely malnourished and unhealthy, so she never grew past kitten-size.
But other than a bad case of fleas and ear mites, little Tifton has nothing life-threatening. And now she’s sitting beside me, purring like a maniac–no doubt glad to just be alive and warm. My heart swells every time I look down at her, and I’m so glad my mom and I were as stupid and reckless as we were.
And that, my friends, is why my mom is a superhero badass.
You tell me: have you ever done anything REALLY RISKY to save an animal?