It’s 630 in the morning. My daughter’s off to school, my wife’s gone back to bed and I’m following a 9 week old orange and white tabby around my kitchen making sure he can find the litter box. His sister, a grey and white tiger is perched on the kitchen bench seat in the May sun watching me watch her brother.
In my opinion, she — her name is Spencer — is certainly the smarter of the two. I am convinced that he — his name is Toby — suffers from feline ADHD. Or, maybe that’s what’s known as “being a cat”.
They’ve been with us for two weeks. Adopting them was easier said than done. Do a quick search on Craigslist for “free kittens” and you probably won’t find any, at least not around here. And if they are free the owners request a “re-homing fee”. I’m sorry, what? To my mind free is free, right?
The last cats we got as kittens and found an ad in the “Penny Saver” — a paper circular filled with Want-Ads, remember them? “Free Kittens” it said. We drove over with the girls and picked two. The woman would have let us take more. I gave her $5 that she didn’t even ask for.
These kittens cost us $150 EACH (they had shots and a vet visit, though) and we had to drive 2 hours north into New Hampshire to get them. Any “local” kittens my wife liked were always gone by the time came to go see them. Either that, or upon closer scrutiny of the photos people texted, the kitten that seemed cute and cuddly in one shot, looked rough and mangy in another. Yikes.
My wife has yearned for kittens for at least a year now. At Christmas when I gave her the cutely drawn IOU that read “Kittens” in her stocking, this really didn’t help the situation.
“Why didn’t you just wrap up a cat?,” she asked.
That led to a ridiculous mimicking of that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where the senile aunt wraps up her cat and her Jello mold bringing both to the Griswold’s house.
No way! Besides, I told her. You need to pick it out. So she went on the prowl trolling Facebook, Craigslist, and any site or group that might be a clearing house for recently birthed felines.
Remember pet stores?
There aren’t many around. Any that remain sell fish, birds and reptiles but not dogs and cats. I recall going to the mall as a kid on Friday nights to look at the puppies. When my wife and I had started dating that was one of the cutesy couple things we did occasionally — stop into the pet shop to look at and hold the puppies, bunnies and kitties.
In the pursuit for kittens I was the hold out.
Just over a year ago I had to kill one of our cats. Well, not me personally but I was in the room. He was ten and riddled with tumors. Our choices were several rounds of surgery, chemo, radiation and spending thousands of dollars for a thousand and one chance, or pushing up daisies. We put him down.
Discussions started almost immediately regarding kittens.
Envisioning our leather furniture shredded, our carpets stained in cat-pee and the whole place reeking like a monkey house and the zoo, I resisted the idea.
Now we have kittens. Yes, kittens.
They say it’s best to get them in pairs. Apparently a solitary kitten is a destructive kitten as the feline brain is prone to psychotic fits. The first two cats my wife owned, Hobbes and Holden, were her cats. Our next set, Bell and Butterscotch, belonged to the girls. With any luck Spencer and Toby will bond with her agreeably. So far so good. Especially with Toby since he’s a people person. Spencer is more an active personality, somewhat skittish and deliberate — a hunter and I think the alpha of the two.
So, my newly paid off leather furniture is covered in quilts, duvet covers and odd blankets to protect it from kitty claws. In my pantry is a litterbox, the floor crispy with strewn litter which finds its way into the kitchen tile’s grout and between the gaps in the dining room’s wood floor.
Said litter box is toted between the downstairs pantry and our master bath where these two fur balls spend the night meowing, trying to climb the bathrobes hanging from the door and jumping in and out of the tub. Upstairs, therefore the bathroom and bedroom floor are crispy with litter. Oh, and Toby occasionally gets “pee-pee” amnesia and takes a squat on our rug as well. Little moron.
Yet, they are fun to watch. Right now they’re wresting and beating the crap out of one another. Toby is attacking his reflection in the glass of the media hutch as well as his sister while our dog and I watch. The dog keeps look at me as if to ask, “Do you want me to handle this?”
Beckham, our Corgi is the family enforcer. He’s driven by the need to constantly interject himself into any “disciplinary” situation. While I admire his dedication, at times he reminds me of that power mad kid in 6th grade who took crossing guard and hall monitor duty just a little too seriously.
So, we have kittens and everything that comes along with it: more pee stained carpet, drinks spilled from end tables and clawed magazine covers, little plastic balls with bells that hurt when you step on them barefoot, kitty litter stuck to our shoes and feet, more vet bills, traumatized senior pets, and repeatedly asking the question “Where are the kittens now?”
My wife noted that I have a process when it comes to pets. I say, No way. I fight the idea. I give into the idea. I complain. Then, I fall in love.
They are cute fuzzy bastards, the two of them. I guess we’ll keep ’em.