The Kitten
Excerpt from: Loula Long Combs’ autobiography, “My Revelation”, 1947

Sallie and Loula

Sallie and Loula

          Sallie and I were always fond of animals and were always bringing home stray dogs and cats, which must have caused our Little Mother a great deal of trouble.  One of the most memorable experiences of this kind took place when I was about eight and Sallie was ten (in Columbus, Kansas).  We had been playing in the home of one of our little friends and were on our way home.  While passing the fairgrounds, we heard the pitiful cry of a kitten.  We went in to investigate, and what a sad sight greeted our eyes.  Some heartless boys had been using live kittens for targets and had killed three, but the poor little thing whose cries we had heard was lying there with both front feet shot off.  It is beyond my imagination to conceive how any human being could be so cruel to a helpless little animal.  Surely some day those boys will pay in some way for causing such suffering to one of God’s creatures.

          Sallie tenderly carried the poor kitten home in her arms and took it to the stable.  She has always been a wonderful executive, so she gave the orders, and I carried them out.  I usually felt very important when I was doing something she had told me to do.  On this afternoon I was rushing back and forth between the house and the stable, carrying a doll bed, mattress, sheets, pillowcases, and a quilt to fit the small bed for the injured kitten.  Then there were chairs for our use, as well as medicine, cotton, and other things needed in caring for the torn and bleeding legs of the unfortunate little animal.

          Sallie certainly knew how to work me.  She was the doctor, and I was the nurse.  I was made to feel that she was helpless without the assistance that I as a nurse could give her.  Her praise made many trips between the house and the stable a real pleasure instead of causing my short fat legs to ache.

          We dressed the kitten’s legs and gave it some warm milk, and the poor little thing seemed more comfortable.  Then we went in to eat our dinner, but we were too upset to eat very much and were soon back in the stable, keeping our vigil at the bedside of our small patient.  That was before the days of electricity.  We had gas in our home, but we used lanterns in the stable.  We had lighted a lantern and were prepared to sit up all night and do whatever we could to make the poor little kitten more comfortable.  Soon after eight o’clock we heard Mother calling, “Sallie, you and Loula come in now; it is time for you to go to bed.”  Sallie, acting as spokesman, replied that we were going to sit up all night with the kitten.  Little Mother said, “Indeed you are not; you are coming right in the house.”  We knew Mother meant what she said and in we walked, but it was unbelievable to me that my Mother could be so hardhearted and expect us to leave that hurt and frightened kitten in the stable all alone.

          We were up bright and early the next morning and hurried to the stable to see whether our patient was still alive.  We were delighted to find it living; and now it was crying for food, which we hastened to get for it.  Dr. Sallie Long and Nurse Loula Long must have been good, because the kitten got well, and we had it for a pet for a number of years.