Verse had ventured outside when she heard the sound of a cat. Most likely a kitten considering the pitch. It was far too cold for any small animal! Even if it wasn't a dog it probably needed a place to keep warm.
The atmosphere was eminently crisp this particular morning. Tater's girl's mom had let him out into their backyard to go potty and as soon as he stepped foot out onto the wooden deck, his muscles quivered against the cold wind. He hurriedly rushed to the frosty grass to do his business. After he finished up, he kicked up the grass behind him and made his way to the short picket fence that surrounded their yard. It was more for decoration than it was to keep him in. He would never run away, he had no reason to. Besides, his girl needed him.
Just as he was about to head back to scratch on the patio door, he heard a distressing call from a small animal. The brown bully breed's cropped ears twitched as he listening closer, attempting to locate the source. The cry was high pitched and shrill, signifying a need for help. It was far too cold for a baby to be outside today, he needed to find it and rescue it from the surely lethal weather! The cry reminded him a bit of what a cat would sound like. Was it a baby cat? He had only met a few in his lifetime and found them very intriguing, even if most of them didn't like the big pit bull. He had actually seen a few around since moving over here to Canidale.
His tail wagging and nose sniffing, the brown canine pushing past the creaky gate and out into the small neighborhood he lived in. He glanced back at the house-- he'd only be gone for a few minutes. And with that, he trotted off, his tags jingling as he went. As he grew closer to the whimpering kitten, he caught the scent of another dog on the breeze and it wasn't long before he spotted the source. A wire-haired terrier mix was standing a few feet away from him. Tater began to wiggle in excitement to meet a new dog, this would be his first meet up with another dog here in Canidale!
He approached the terrier mix with a big ol' lolling pink tongue and a tail that was wagging a hundred miles an hour. "Hey there! I'm Tater," he exclaimed, following the terrier's gaze until he saw a kitten in the distance. That must have been what was crying! "Oh, there it is! Did you hear it as well?" he asked, turning towards the kitten but looking back to see if this new acquaintance would want to join him to go comfort the crying child.
Verse had been carefully picking through the sheet of snow, scared she'd step on some ice and break something. If she broke her leg how was she supposed to help the poor thing?
Finally, she saw it mewling in the snow. She picked up her pace and slowly stopped seeing Tater.
At first, she panicked. What if he wanted to kill the kitten? She tried to act like she never noticed Tater. If she ignored him he might not cause any trouble.
All her worries were lifted as he asked about the kitten. "Yeah, I did!" She quickly started making her way to the tiny ball of fur. "I think it's in trouble!"
Tater's tail slowly came to a halt as he watched the terrier seemingly ignore him. Perhaps he hadn't greeted her in the correct manner. He scolded himself mentally for a moment for being a bit too rambunctious but his doubts were quickly quelled when the black and tan dog finally replied. His tail set back into its normal mode and he trotted towards the terrier mix. The brown pitbull wanted to accompany her to check on the small kit, nodding in agreement to her statement. The thing was surely in trouble. No mother was in sight and no siblings! That was awfully odd for cats, they usually had more than one baby.
"I wonder where his mother went to," he pondered aloud, reaching down and gently sniffing the orange ball of fluff. The smell confirmed his assumptions of it being a cat but Tater could also smell another creature on it. It almost smelled like the pigeons he would chase in the park when off-duty but not quite. Had a bird tried to take the baby away? His wet nose had brushed up against the skin of the kitten and he quickly realized that the kit had little remaining warmth. He laid down next to the crying baby, careful not to accidentally lay on it. "Maybe if we both lay next to it, we can warm it up. Then after that, we can go look for his mother?" he suggested to the terrier. With both of them there, they could warm the kitten up quickly and hopefully find it some milk with haste. As little as Tater did know, he knew that babies needed food very frequently. He had seen the pups in the hospital he had resided in when recovering from his injuries. The vet people were constantly coming in to feed them. The pitbull just safely assumed it was the same for baby cats as well.
Verse nodded in return and cuddled by the kitten with Tater. "I remember that my aunt had a litter while I was growing up. Mom had me and my sisters help her take care of them." She nuzzled the kitten again as it mewed again. "I don't think it could drink milk out of a bowl though..." she sighed. "And we'll need to help it go to the bathroom." she furrowed her brow thinking about it, she had always dreaded that part of helping her aunt. She thought hard about getting food first, she'd cross the bathroom bridge when she got to it. "We'll need to find a bottle for it to suckle on." Quickly liking the kitten, she popped up again. "I bet I could find one in somebodies trash."
As the two dogs gently smooshed the kitten between them for warmth, it's cries decreased in frequency, obviously a bit more comfortable than before. It began kneading into the dog's fur, hoping for milk but no luck. Tater listened carefully if this dog had taken care of babies before then maybe she was more qualified to know what to do than he was. Tater agreed, this kitten was probably far too young to be drinking from a bowl like a grownup cat, it was only used to suckling. Tater's brows furrowed when she mentioned helping it go to the bathroom. Babies need help going to the bathroom? What an outlandish thought, he had not known they needed help with that sort of thing. But he was willing to do whatever it took to keep this kitten safe and comfortable. "Well, I've never done anything like this before but I will do whatever the kitten needs," he replied, giving a gentle lick to the kitten's tiny forehead.
"Well, actually I was thinking, I saw this mother cat slinking around this area the other day. She didn't have any kittens with her but she appeared to be full of milk. Maybe if we find her, she'd be willing to share some of her milk or maybe even care for the kitten until it can fend for itself?" he offered, curling around the kitten some more slightly. He wasn't sure if his take on the situation was logical or even the correct way to go about things but he was sure that if they could find the mother cat, suckling from a teet would be far better than sucking from a bottle found in the trash. But Tater didn't know much so he wasn't exactly sure but the pitbull's heart and maternal drive was telling him what would be best. If they couldn't find the mother cat, they could always try the bottle though.
"You did! Where? That'd be a much better option than us trying to take care of it. We just gotta hope the mama will take it in." Verse furrowed her brow at the thought of the mama cat rejecting the poor abandoned kitten. She knew cats could do that to even their own babies. But why?! Cats seem to be just pure evil. Maybe that's what happened to this kitten, the mama didn't want it and left it to die. She growled at the thought but caught herself and chuckled nervously. "Okay, the mama cat plan sounds good. We just gotta keep the kitten warm while getting in there."
Tater nodded hastily, his tag jingling along with his movement. “Yeah, it was behind an old house that’s been for sale for forever. She was huddled underneath the overgrowth near the steps. I bet you she’s holed up there.” the brown canine explained. “I can take us there. “ he added on, gazing off into the distance. The house he had referenced was only a couple houses down from his own, it was easy to get there. But with the gale today the kitten couldn’t be out here with no shelter for much longer.
Then an idea popped into his head! He gently got to his feet, careful to not disturb the little orange fluff. “I’ll be right back, keep him warm.” He said before bounding back towards his house, trusting that the terrier would listen. She seemed like she wanted to help the small thing just as much as he did. He pushed through the creaky gate once more and went and scratched on the patio door. The owner frantically came to answer it, rambling about “You had us worried— where did you go off to — etc.” Tater shivered in the cold, a signal his humans usually picked up on. His girl’s mom brought out his scarf to help him from getting too chilly— but what Tater actually planned on using it for was the kitten. They could wrap the kitten and carry it like a little hammock to the abandoned house. “Don’t you go to far,” the mom said, shaking her finger before going back into the kitchen where she could see most of the neighborhood from her sink window.
Tater happily trotted back with the scarf in his jaws. “Here, we can use this!” He said, dropping it next to the kitten.
"Perfect!" Verse went on to sloppily swaddle the kitten. She nuzzled it's head one last time before picking it up. "Lead the way Tater!" her voice was muffled but understandable. She was very careful as she walked to make sure she didn't jostle the poor kitten
The brown pit bull watched as the terrier mix bundled up the shaking kitten and once she had finished, he began to head toward where he had last seen the kitless mother. But she wouldn't be kitless for much longer! He was crossing his paws, hoping she would still be there. Outside cats loved to wander but there wasn't any better options he could think of at the moment. The asphalt was cold against his paw pads, numbing them effectively. He glanced back every once in a while to make sure the terrier and kitten were still behind him.
The grass was dead and prickled his feet as he stepped onto the abandoned lot where he had last spotted the momma. The house was worn down and had wooden pieces nailed to the shattered windows. There was bright colors in the form of human words on the side of the house but Tater couldn't understand any of them. No matter, that wasn't what he was here for. "Hello?" he called out, crouching down a bit to see if maybe the cat was in the crawl space. "We found this kitten without a mother, we need some help." he added on, not sure if he was just speaking into nothingness. After a few minutes with no sign nor scent of the cat, Tater was about ready to see if his humans could take care of the kitten instead -- but, just as he was about to tell Verse that they needed to go, a heavy-bellied tabby emerged from the shadows that shrouded the underside of the house.
"Where is it?" was all she said, in a cold sort of tone.
Verse had been very careful not to bounce the kitten as she walked, he held her head high so, if passing through weeds, the kitten wouldn't be hit by plant life.
As they arrived at the house, the mother cat was nowhere in sight Verse's heart sank. But once the cat emerged and spoke Verse felt the need to hide the kitten, the she-cats tone wasn't very friendly. "Tater." Verse whispered in muffled concern, "Do you think we can trust her?" She was scared the cat would take the kitten only to hurt it.
Tater's ears would have flattened if they hadn't been cut off when he was a pup-- the cat's tone sent a chill down his spine. The terrier mix's uncertainty about the cat seemed fairly warranted at this point. The brown bully began to think that maybe this wasn't the best idea. Maybe the humans would have been better suited to take care of the mewling baby. "I don't know," he whispered back. She hadn't acted like this the last time he saw her. He took a cautious step back but his lowered tail began to wag when the cat's expression shifted.
As soon as her green eyes fell upon the kitten's orange body, her frown disappeared and her ears perked forward. As she trotted toward the crying kit, her belly swayed with the movement. She seemed to light up like a Christmas tree when she sniffed the baby gently as he nuzzled around in Tater's scarf. The pittbull began to pant happily, hopeful for the life and care of the little ball of fluff. He glanced at his new acquaintance who was carrying the precious package, seeing if she was still comfortable with the situation.
"Thank you so much," the cat murmured as she carried the kitten away and underneath the house once more.
"Gosh, I'm so glad that worked out!" Tater exclaimed, turning back to the terrier mix.
"Tater! Where are you?" Rylie's mom called out with her signature loud voice. "I-I'm so sorry, I have to go. My owner is calling for me. Thank you for all of your help! I hope we can see each other again soon!" he said, quickly grabbing his scarf and scurrying back to his house.