The next morning at the vet he tested negative for FIV and feline leukemia, which was good news. But our inquiries at local vets offices and the humane society about folks who might be looking for a lost kitten were met with peels of laughter. People don't look for lost kittens around here, apparently - they just look to get rid of them.
Later, we went out to look for other kittens who might have been dumped with him. We didn't find any, but we did find where he'd probably been staying. Near our building, by a drainage culvert, there were little paw prints and bits of trash, mostly food wrappers and aluminum foil. He must have dragged them from someone's garbage can, or salvaged what was left after the local dogs and raccoons had scrounged.
By the time we'd had him a week, he'd been to the vet three times. He was having uncontrollable diarrhea. He was running a fever. He wasn't playing and was listless. I assumed he was small for his age, but I didn't realize how small - I had taken him for a three or four month old kitten, but he actually had all his adult teeth and was therefore at least twice that old.
Since then, he's been getting daily treatments - two different courses of antibiotics, eardrops for mites, and occasionally Pedialyte. He still hasn't had his vaccinations yet, though; the vet has decided he's too weak.
We named him Pakki, since cats like 'p' and 'k' noises, and he responded to the name. Besides, it sounds like "pocket," which is about what he could fit into when we found him.
He's feeling better now. He almost always can make it to the litter box, and he's become a playful little thing. He no longer panics when we take him into the car to go to the vet; hopefully he's finally realized we're not about to dump him somewhere. He sleeps snuggled up in our bed.
So, now we have three cats.
Of course, I'm angry. It's easy enough to point fingers at an unseen person who did this, and wildly imagine them as an unknown crazy devil who could - and does - do all sorts of nefarious misdeeds.
But, more likely, it's somebody we've met in passing. Somebody we've seen at Kroger. Somebody who's checked out at Micah's register. Somebody we've stood behind at Walmart or ate nearby at a local restaurant.
Pakki isn't the only dumped kitten I've seen in Oxford - not by any stretch. The county is full of unwanted animals, stuffed with them, and so is the local humane society. The shelter puts down far, far more kittens and puppies than it adopts out, because there are too many of them. Nobody wants them.
Violence perpetuates violence. If it's not just allowable but NORMAL to have teachers hit six year olds for misbehaving in school, and if it's not just allowable but HELPFUL to have the government kill criminals because a victim's family needs revenge for closure, then I'm not really surprised we have people torturing and dumping kittens, or beating their spouses, or hanging nooses from trees.
I'm sad, and I'm disappointed. But I'm not surprised.