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Surrendering to Motherhood

Jennifer Huffman's Surrendering to Motherhood: Stowaway kitty survives wild ride to Napa

What do you call a stowaway kitten who survives a car ride from Vacaville to Napa, hidden inside the engine compartment?


Or Lemon, as she is now known.

Last week the Oldest Huffman daughter was driving home when she noticed a little white tail peeking out of the wheel well of the car in front of her.

That car pulled over into the parking lot of a market, and so did our girl.

There’s a CAT in your CAR! she shouted at the driver.

The driver popped the hood for her, but couldn’t stay to help extricate the kitty. I have to go to work, he said, pointing inside at the market. 

Rounding up a can of cat food, our girl managed to pull the kitten from its oily hiding spot, where it promptly collapsed in her hands as if completely overwhelmed by its high-speed ordeal.

It’s in shock, she thought.

When the driver said the kitten wasn’t his, our girl knew what she had to do.

She put the cat in her hat and took it home.

Readers, our daughter picked the right guy to propose to her. Upon seeing her at their front door holding the tiny creature and crying, her fiancé didn’t blink an eye.

Let’s get him/her into the bath, he said calmly.

Via the Huffman family group chat, word soon spread of the kitten’s wild ride. Auto-themed names were suggested: Sparky, Lucky, Maverick, Comet.

Numerous heart-squishingly adorable kitten videos followed. Many emojis of heart-eyed smiley faces were texted.

We’ll name her Lemon, said our girl. To go with Larry and Lenny, their two (alleged) hedgehogs.

Three days later, the new kitten owners headed out of town for the night.

Did they need someone to kitten-sit little Lemon? Oohoohhh PICK ME! PICK ME! I have many years of pet care experience and I have also changed a million human baby diapers. I am not intimidated by pet or person poop. 

I headed over on Saturday morning to give Lemon her special kitten food, special medicine, and eye drops.

For a day or two, one question had been dominating much of the kitten talk: Was the kitty’s “plumbing” working i.e. had she gone poop yet? If so, did the poop look like normal kitty poop?

Never had six humans awaited an occasion more anxiously. OK, maybe not all six of us Huffmans, but a significant portion of the family was highly invested in the output of a certain kitten’s bowels.

During a second visit with Lemon on Saturday, I made up a small litter box with the hopes of enticing the 8-week-old kitten to let nature call.

Here’s your litter box, I told her helpfully. You can go poop right here. Over and over again.

People, I swear to gawd that cat promptly walked straight to the box and dropped a load.

Even better, I got it on video!

You are the smartest kitty that ever lived! I told her. Look at you, days after a life-threatening traumatic event that likely used up at least five of your cat lives and you’re pooping like nothing ever happened.

I quickly texted the video to her new “parents.”

SHE WENT POOP!!! And it looks like normal kitty poop!

“I’m so proud of her!” wrote back our girl.

Me too, kiddo.

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Surrendering to Motherhood appears every other Monday. Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @NVRHuffman.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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