|Can you see what that is up in the little tree?|
Was it a flower? Too large to be a flower. A fruit?
I panicked, All this time, when I had been going on these long hikes by myself, taking pictures of wildflowers and rabbits, butterflies and bees, I had been under the impression that I was alone. The kitten was safely hidden away in the barn, out of harm's way. It never showed up where I was. I thought it must sleep all day, coming alive only when I opened the barn door. But it had been spying on me, unobserved, all this time. I felt as if my privacy had been violated. The kitten knows my business!
"It's been watching me all along," I thought. "It's not blind at all, even though it could not even seem to find its way to the food bowl without trial and error." So I did the only thing I could. I pretended I had not seen it, and went back in the house. The kitten watched me silently from its perch.
But thirty minutes later, I decided to come back to see if it was still there. And strangely enough, it still was!
It was making lots of progress on its own climbing down to the lower limbs of the tree.
I did not want to touch it or encourage it to rely on me, so I went away again, thinking that by the time I came back to feed it in the evening, it would be waiting for me in the barn.
But when I returned in the evening with the canned dog food, the kitten was up in the tree, and it did not come down even though I laid out the food and water in the barn in the usual place. What if it really did not know its way down?
This called for drastic measures. I still did not want to touch the kitten. I am allergic to cats, and I have also heard that feral kittens can scratch or bite people trying to help them. So I brought a S'mores contraption from the front porch and offered the kitten a chance to climb down on that. However, that was not something the kitten was willing to do, so eventually I lifted it out of the tree by hand and placed it gently on the ground.
Even though I had never touched it before, the kitten neither scratched nor clawed me. I only had a few bumps on my arm afterwards as an allergic reaction. Still, I minimized contact as much as possible. It was the kitten who seemed to want to rub against my boots over and over again.
Once the kitten was down, it pranced around happily, and eventually followed me to the barn for its dog food. Going in through the front door was not its style, however. It came through another, more private entrance.