He comes into the house, the small, torn body in his hands. Two are dead, he says, and the mom took off with the other one. Poor momma cat, her babies only hours old.

We aren’t sure who to blame? The dog? The other cat? But the new babe in his hands is so hurt and he wants me to do something. We find a little box and we put in a heated bottle and a towel and the sad little body.

It’s pretty bad, I say, trying to prepare him. And it is. But we try. Because how do you just leave a life, no matter how hopeless, crying on the ground.

He tries to feed it some baby goat formula with a little medicine dropper that I hunt up from the back of the kitchen cupboard. And we cover it and place the box on the ledge of the sunny kitchen window. And I know, as he goes out in search of the mother cat and her other baby, that he’s saying a prayer for this little life.

And he gathers the other tiny bodies from the ground before his little brother sees, and the baby in our kitchen window dies, and we mourn the small tragedies.

It’s the way of it, says his dad. There’s killing and sadness and death and that’s the way of the world. We just do our best.

So the boys fix the cat’s house on the deck with a fresh towel and some sweet smelling food, and the momma returns with the small bundle of calico in her mouth. And it’s not perfect, or right, but it’s good.