Ok, to be fair, this title is a little overly dramatic. But let’s just get right into it, shall we?
It’s no secret I like cats. I feel like every survey I’ve done somehow ends up with every other answer being how much I love my kitty.
(Who just so happens to be sleeping purrily next to me as we speak.)
My phone pictures? Cats and food. And the food is a branch out from what my phone was like a year ago. I even made a calendar of my cats.
(Sidenote-apparently my Resident Fellows for my dorm have 3 cats! SO pumped!)
So volunteering in the kitten nursery this summer was an easy decision. Even if it was the early morning shift!
I mean, I knew they’d be freaking cute.
But I wasn’t prepared for the impact they would have on me.
I loved every minute of the kitten nursery- playing with the kitties, cleaning litter boxes, getting meowed at constantly, hand feeding them, leaving COVERED in cat food.
I learned how to syringe feed a kitten. I learned how frustrating kittens can be when they don’t feel like eating. I learned the impact one person can have on a kitten’s life.
I took this little guy under my wing.
I could tell he was kind of falling by the wayside, which really upset me. Black cats are usually the last to be adopted. This guy was underweight and not particularly receptive to being syringe fed. I could tell by his charts that the previous volunteers had just given up-he was not given anywhere near as much as he should have. He wasn’t that receptive to syringe feeding (a lot of kittens aren’t), but I spent an entire hour with just this one little kitten. His paper said he was “antisocial” but I think it was more of shy, because he eventually purred for me. This kitty ended up being fine, and a ball of energy a week later once his weight was back on track.
I also experienced the heartbreak of losing a kitten.
I fell in love with this little kitten the first week she came in. Her litter was so energetic and full of energy. 2 weeks later, she was so sick she couldn’t stand. She had lost a ton of weight-her whole litter was sick (and one of her sisters didn’t make it either) but she was the worst. I felt so helpless that day. This kitten had been a ball of energy 2 weeks before, and now was clearly suffering and not going to make it. I wanted so much to help them, but there was nothing I could do for them.
I’ve always loved animals, but believed I could never be a vet because it would be “too sad.” I even avoid books I know will have sad endings (Nicholas Sparks, anyone?). But you know what? Sometimes the hardest things are the most worthwhile.
My experience at the kitten nursery has me rethinking my whole career. I always thought I’d do nutritional research. But now, I’m seriously considering becoming a veterinarian. Because yes, when that little kitten died, it was sad. But you know what? They don’t all die. Most of them make it. What if I had an opportunity to save the life of an animal?
Wouldn’t that be worth the wave of emotions that came with losing one? Shouldn’t I put aside my OWN issues for somebody else? Sure, losing that kitten was unbelievably sad. But there are others out there that need help-that one loss shouldn’t stop me from saving the rest.
Have you ever completely rethought your career? Have you had an experience that changed your life?