This is the tale of how we met Xena, the Warrior Princess.
One day I visited a friend’s farm. As evening approached, it began pouring rain, so I helped her wrap up farm chores by going out to the back of the property to look for chicken and duck eggs. Mili the Dog was with me, as usual. I’m rushing through a literal forest of yellow dock taller than I am, pulling back massive basal leaves, looking for secret nests, when I hear the strangest sound. It was almost a growl. But then, almost a hiss. Yet it was also a whining yowl of some kind. My first thought was “oh no, SKUNK.”
I follow the sound and hear thrashing and rustling ahead in the sopping wet dock forest. It was now getting dark and visibility was poor. By the sound of it, Mili was obviously engaged with the enraged mystery creature. I braced for the smell of skunk but it never hit me.
After a brief search I find the action scene.
Mili is sitting in a somewhat strange manner with a giant smile from ear to ear. She looks at me, laughing, and says “Haha, hey, Jen. I’m sitting on it. It can’t do anything cause I’m sitting on it.”
But what? What are you sitting on?!
The screaming, yowling, spitting ball of fur starts to pry itself out from under her butt now and again, and Mili giggles, shifts her weight, and keeps it pinned beneath her bum. I tell Mili to get up, and to my comedic surprise, what I thought to be a baby skunk was an absolutely tiny little kitten. It couldn’t have been more than weaning age, just a sopping wet little hairball (with teeth and claws). Mili didn’t want to hurt it, but this feral spitfire was determined to fight her, so she disabled it in the safest way possible and just sat on it. She was quite proud of herself.
It’s fairly common for folks to drop off unwanted cats and kittens on this farm, for whatever reason. My friend takes them all in, vets them, and gives them a home. This cold, wet kitten was either going to succumb to the elements or get snatched by a hawk the next day if I didn’t do something.
Without proper regard for what I was trying to handle, I palm-tackled the very soggy, very angry kitten and scruffed it tightly. Regardless, the feral little monster managed to swing its head around and fill my thumb full of tooth holes. So I scruffed it’s butt-end, too, and held it out-stretched and at arm’s length, away from my face.
What a little fighter!
I took the warrior-kitten up to the farm house (having forgotten about eggs at this point) and called out for my friend to come open the door for me. I greeted her, holding the thoroughly scruffed, dripping wet calico kitten as far away from my body as I could keep it, like I had ahold of a rattlesnake or something. The kitten moaned and yowled and continued to threaten me and Mili.
“This attacked Mili, so she sat on it. I need a bandage, it chewed my thumb up.” (my presentation was intentional to add to the humour)
My friend found the situation hysterical (so did I!). We got the kitten safely contained and patched my hand up. I suggested the appropriate name ‘Xena’. My friend tried out a few other names at first, but eventually Xena the Warrior Princess stuck.
She tamed up to be a fabulous, affectionate farm cat! Xena’s still alive as I write this, happily hunting mice on my friend’s farm.