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Hitch and Hiker

by Clint & Kathy Frederick, Las Vegas, USA


We live in Las Vegas and a recent weekend getaway to Laughlin, about 100 miles away, was full of surprises.

Friday afternoon we cranked up the diesel and drove about 5 miles to our house to "load up". A couple of hours later we were on the road to Laughlin.

By 6:30 Friday evening we were settled in at the Riverside RV Park. Later that evening we were off to find dinner and maybe a couple of lucky slot machines. We scored on the "dinner" part but the futile search for lady luck kept us out pretty late. Saturday we were slow getting around.

Around noon we had finished our second pot of coffee as we sat under the shade of our awning...just a lazy day roughing it. In the distance we heard the powerboats cruising the Colorado River, also the faint cry of what sounded like a bird. We travel with Boozer, the dog, and Hooter, our cockatiel that squawks when be doesn't talk. Maybe he's picked up a new noise. We sat quietly, waiting to hear the noise again.

Suddenly a fuzzy black blob appeared under the rear of our motorhome. We lost no time coming out of our chairs. We had lived in Arizona and learned if it crawls around on the ground you jump first, ask questions later. Second glance revealed the intruder was a tiny dark colored kitten. It barely had its eyes open and crawled along on its belly-too young and too weak to walk, all black with diesel soot. Its eyes and nose were clogged with residue from exhaust. We realized the kitten had ridden on the engine all the way from Las Vegas. The "bird" sounds we heard earlier were from this half-dead orphaned kitten. What a miracle it survived the trip but it needed to eat immediately. The daytime temperatures were still in triple digits and dehydration had set in.

We made a dash to the local market where we bought milk and a child's medicine dropper. We managed to revive this little survivor. If we didn't over feed it, it would probably make it. We knew it had desperately hung on for dear life for 100 miles the day before. The place we store our RV in Las Vegas was full of feral cats and we had considered this might happen. We stabilized the kitten and immediately searched the coach for more kittens. No doubt this kitten was a keeper. We already travel with Boozer and Hooter. It would be easy to add one little kitten to the group. Saturday night we were out to a very late dinner and similar pursuit of lady luck as the night before. We were back to "turn in" after midnight. And, while fumbling for the motorhome door keys we heard those same soft meows as we did 12 hours before. Was it coming from the kitten inside which we had left safely in a shoebox in our shower or was this a cry for help coming from the outside? It didn't take long to determine the cries were outside! We opened the door, grabbed a flashlight and proceeded to the rear of the "rig". The cries stopped and we couldn't see anything in the engine, just filters, fans and belts. What would the neighbors think? Our search and rescue effort had to kook real strange to anyone still awake. Here we are, middle of the night, under the coach with flashlight in hand, making mother cat noises. We expected security to arrive any minute.

Finally, like a little "plop from above" a second kitten dropped out on the ground. It had been silent while we searched with the flashlight but once it dropped it found its voice. Twelve hours after the discovery of the first kitten, we now had two, and the second kitten was equally dirty and full of diesel soot from the engine.

Luckily we were prepared to feed and care for this one, and we knew the kittens would thrive because of each other. It didn't take long to name them Hitch and Hiker because of their amazing journey, and will to survive.

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