The end of October, John VanTielen (an artist friend who is currently incarcerated at a State Prison in Chillicothe, Ohio) wrote to tell me that he had discovered three little kittens hanging out around the shop area where he works. John and several other prison inmates working in the shop did their best to keep a watchful on the three kittens and their Mama cat named Tig.
Below is a touching chronology of John's messages to me:
"This week the three little kittens have begun to explore their surroundings. They are so cute as they exercise their little lungs. It's so funny to watch them try to walk around. One of them already purrs when you hold her and pet her".
Another week passed, and John wrote to break some sad news:
"I just wanted to give you an update on the kittens. Unfortunately one of the three kittens had an accident. It got caught in the door to the parts room and kind of got crushed. At first we thought he broke his back, but his spine is okay. Still, he can't move his back legs. That was two days ago. But I saw him move his one paw a little bit. Today he was dragging himself around playing with the other kittens. He's eating good and doesn't seem to be in pain. He just has no use of his rear legs. Tomorrow I'm going to try and build him some wheels on a frame that will have a harness to go around him so that he doesn't have to drag himself around. I'll keep you updated. In the meantime, I decided to (affectionately) name him Door Stop”.
A week later:
"He continues to fight and survive and seems to be improving in his condition. I guess your right that he needs to see a vet, but that's not going to happen. So we will just have to see just how much better he will get. I just put the sketch I promised you of little Door Stop in today's mail".
And, the last communication I received from John about 10 days later:
"I do have some sad news about little Door Stop. Last week it appears that one of the C.O.'s who did his night rounds in the shop must have seen him and took him. He more than likely killed him. I sadly say this because they (the C.O's) cannot just take them (the kittens) out of here. But more than that, a lot of them in here are just down right cruel. Door Stop's other two brothers and mama cat Tig were left. Since we are moving to another building we had to put the other two little ones and Tig on the other side of the fence on the compound to fend for themselves. I have only seen the kittens once, but Mama Tig I see almost every day".
Image: IN LOVING MEMORY OF LITTLE "DOOR STOP".
Pencil drawing of little Door Stop by John VanTielen (December 2017)