She Rescued a Black Cat at Halloween

Saving the needy feline helped her get in the holiday spirit.

Posted in , Aug 26, 2021

A black cat in the middle of the road; Illustration by Kirsten Ulve

”Twelve miles into town and twelve miles back in the howling wind,” I complained to my border collie, Tuck, seated beside me in my truck. “All because I didn’t remember the date.”

I’d forgotten to get candy for the trick-or-treaters. “I don’t even know why I bother,” I went on, getting more irritated as I complained. “They’ll get plenty of candy without me.”

Tuck gave a little whine, as if he didn’t approve of my attitude. What if everyone thought like that, Lou? I scolded myself. I’d always enjoyed seeing the costumes the kids came up with, their expectant faces when I dropped a few pieces of candy into their pumpkin buckets. I didn’t want to be that person who turned off her lights and ignored the doorbell, did I?

“Lord, this isn’t like me,” I said, picking up speed. “Help me turn things around. But you can hear my impatience today, so please hurry.” I imagined Tuck was in full agreement with my prayer.

A black cat flashed across the road up ahead, and I pressed on the brakes. Oh, great. A black cat crossing my path…but in an orange hat? “Tuck,” I asked, “is that cat dressed up for Halloween?”

The cat staggered off the highway and into a ditch, trying to claw the orange hat off with his paws. I could see now that it was an empty Cheetos bag, being sucked in and out like a bellows as the cat tried to breathe. Surely one of the many feral cats that scrounged for food around our rural community, he was probably trying to get to the cheesy dust inside when he got his head stuck. “Poor little guy!” I said.

Tuck growled. He sounded like me, nothing but complaints. “You stay in the car,” I told him. I pulled off the highway and got out.

“Here, kitty!” I called over the icy wind. My voice sent the cat flopping into the road, then into the ditch again.

“Why me, Lord?” I asked. A squawk overhead seemed to answer, and I watched two magpies land on a fence post nearby. When the scavenger birds appeared, it meant they thought something was either dead or soon would be. I wasn’t going to leave the Cheetos cat to them.

I tiptoed up, keeping a safe distance, and stretched my leg to stomp on a corner of the bag with one foot. The cat pulled itself back and gave me a stunned look. The bag flew off down the highway, and the cat, revived, took off in a dead run. Thank you, Lord. We did it.

Tuck barked when I opened the car door and climbed back in.

“Ready, boy?” I said. “Let’s get that candy for the kids. We have a delightful evening ahead.” I turned up the heater, but a little giving had already warmed my heart.

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