“It’s a snake!” I shrieked. “He has a snake in his mouth.”
It was a glorious summer afternoon and our mischievous Siamese kitten had ambled in with a lime green snake dangling from his dainty jaws. It was still alive, but just barely. He had clearly intended to play with it for a little longer, coax a last few wriggles out of it, but my husband swiftly put a stop to his fun. He grabbed Siamon by the scruff of his neck, opened his clenched teeth, and disposed of the snake. But not before I’d taken a quick photo. We later identified it as being mildly venomous and certainly venomous enough to kill a kitten. A lucky escape.
A few weeks prior to this incident, Siamon had been playing on our deck, rolling around with a feathery toy, and the next minute he was gone. He had rolled right through the wooden bars and somersaulted about twelve feet to the ground below. He had looked a little dazed, but true to his nature, he had landed on his feet and was unharmed.
On another occasion, he had climbed on top of our neighbor’s roll-up garage door and had almost been squashed when they tried to close it. But again it was only almost, and he survived to live another adventurous day.
We tried to keep him inside the house, but he hated it. He paced around like a caged tiger. Then he’d start racing around the house like a maniac, tearing up and down the curtains. He’d always find ways to get out. We had no walls around our garden as we lived alongside a nature reserve, so once he had ‘broken out’ of the house, he was free to roam as he pleased. He trotted after us like a dog and would announce himself with a loud yowl every time he entered the house.
“He sure knows how to have fun,” my husband often remarked. “He has such an adventurous spirit!”
“Yip,” I said. “He makes the most of every moment.”
A few months after the snake incident, when he was still under a year old, Siamon had yet another extraordinary escape. I was washing dishes in the kitchen, looking out of the kitchen window, when I saw a bedraggled kitten limping down our front stairs. He looked like he was covered in mud. I dried my hands on a kitchen towel and ran out to him. To my horror, as I got closer, I could see that it wasn’t mud at all, but blood! I scooped him up into my arms. His usually loud meow was just a pitiful mew. I wrapped him in a blanket and rushed to the vet.
After a thorough examination, the vet declared him “a miracle kitten!”
“What do you think happened to him?” I asked.
“He went flying,” she said, matter-of-factly.
“What? What do you mean?”
“He is very lucky to be alive. Look here,” she said, pointing to both sides of his body. “See these puncture wounds.”
I looked carefully at where she’d cleaned his matted fur.
“These are talon marks. He was clearly picked up by a bird of prey. I imagine the feisty fellow fought quite vigorously, probably nipped the bird’s ankles and it couldn’t hold on. So…it dropped him. It really is a miracle that he survived!”
A short while after that, Siamon disappeared. He was a true explorer, venturing far from our home, but he always came back at the end of the day for his supper. When he didn’t come home that night, I called and called and we searched the neighborhood, but he was nowhere to be seen. I refused to give up. In my heart, I knew something was wrong. Later that evening, I ventured out again and in the stillness, I heard a faint mew. I found our beloved Siamon curled up under a bush. He had been hit by a car and his pelvis was crushed. We called the vet, who opened up the surgery for us, but the prognosis was not good. A few days later, on Easter day, our little miracle kitten had used up his nine lives. He was flying high once more, but this time with the angels.
I often think about our little Siamon and how he lived life to the full. Even though his life was short, it was packed to the brim with adventure. We never know what life has in store for us and Siamon taught me to fly high and make the most of every moment.