The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Cute Fuzzy Bastards

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.

Updated: May 25, 2017 — 9:28 pm


  1. I remember those mall pet stores. I’d spend hours looking at puppies while my mom and gram were browsing Sears or K Mart

  2. Oh my! They are adorable!!!!

  3. Embrace your process! I love it. They are adorable.

  4. Let me say that I worked/work in animal shelters/for animal rescue causes. So, to be frank, I’m wondering why you didn’t adopt from a licensed animal shelter. There are plenty of kittens available, and they have often been screened for any health issues and come with shots and spay/neuter services as part of their adoption fee. Not too mention, they are more socialized.
    Also, placing ads for “Free Kittens” is ABSOLUTELY not a good idea, and has come to be a discouraged practice, because those free animals are often “adopted” by people (often a “model-looking” couple, adopting the kitten for their (fake) little kids, or their perfect-yet-false suburb home with the white picket fence.) with dubious intentions…for example, using the kittens as bait animals in dog fights, or selling them/acquiring them for laboratories as test animals. And who knows what else.Plus, you have to ask why people are still continuing to breed their pets when they aren’t even going to be responsible for their offspring. Not to mention the fact that millions of adoptable animals are euthanized yearly in this country alone because there are not enough homes for these unwanted animals. It is so irresponsible that those people behind the “Free Kitten” ads willingly let their pets breed.

    You want to call me out. Fine. But I’ve been on the front lines in the shelters. I’ve seen the direct results of such selfishness and irresponsibility. I know the heartbreaking reality of people who just let their pets breed and breed, despite the plethora of services available for free/low-cost spay/neuter program. Shall I tell you about the time in Florida (summer–90 degree heat) where I was going into the animal shelter that was formed to take the cats from a hoarding situation that I investigated? A car drove up, and dumped a cardboard box, all taped up, on the corner. Curiosity got the best of me, and I went over to investigate, even though the box was dropped off in front of another store. IT was all taped up but it had holes in it, and then I saw a paw stick out of the hole and then the “free kittens” all started meowing. If I hadn’t been curious, those kittens would be dead in the Florida heat.
    Also, pet stores (like Petsmart and Petco) no longer carry dogs and cats because there are so many adoptable animals in shelters, waiting for forever homes). Also, the pet stores that do still carry dogs and cats are usually supplied by puppy (or kitten) mills, and the animals are usually in poor health/extremely inbred, not to mention kept in deplorable conditions.

    1. No need to call you out, we completely agree! People are horrendous to animals! This is a great comment to bring attention to some of these practices, so thank you!
      As far as adopting from the shelters, there were not any kittens available. We have been checking since January. I guess around here there is a kitten ‘season’. We grew impatient waiting! The lady we got them from said she rescued them…not sure if that’s 100% true, but hopefully it is.

      1. Whew, thanks! I love your blog! 🙂 Some shelters out-of-city or even out-of-state, will drive/transport their pets to you…Petfinder is always a good resource! And, at least, those free kittens ended up with you and not in a lab or as bait animals!

        1. Who knew? Thanks for the info, and for spending time with our blog.

  5. Sucker!! My poor husband goes through the same process. It’s lucky kittens are so damn cute or we’d murder them as they destroy our homes.

    1. You are correct on all accounts. Thanks Emily, I will try to emphasize their cuteness when my leather sofa becomes shredded.

  6. Squeeee congratulations on your new furry cutie-bastards!

  7. They look adorable! This weekend we were talking about my dog, who is getting older, and my mom is already ready for me to start looking at new ones – she totally doesn’t understand that I don’t want another animal – especially since I still have one that is alive and well! 🙂 It’ll be fun to watch them grow and adapt – have fun!

    1. Adding a new pet is hard no matter when you do it and especially with an older one in the house. We’re running into that with my dog and cat who are both 10+. The dog tolerates the kittens; the cat, not so much.

  8. I miss my cats, but not the fur on my clothes, the litter everywhere and the constant need to have to pet one of them—she insisted. She actually would get in your face about her need to be petted and if you put her down, she would then act like a teenager and jump up on things she wasn’t supposed to be and then stare at us, daring us to come get her off.

    1. We have an older male who is like that. He will sit right on your chest, unfortunately he weighs about 20 pounds. What’re you gonna do…

  9. My mom said the same thing about our “free” kittens when I was growing up! But the amount of love and cuteness they bring to your life is priceless!!
    I mean how can you look at these photos and not smile??

    1. I have to agree. I’m kinda attached to these guys now.

  10. Too adorable! We have a cat who is 12 years old and she is little. I adore her. Now I am tempted to get a dog but ohhhh so much work!!!

    1. All babies are work. But they all grow and figure out what to do. I don’t mind the “work” of caring for a pet, I worry about the personalities — a mellow pooch rather than a shoe-eater; a non-barker rather than a barker…

  11. Submitted this post to the Crazy Cat Lady Fan Club, I’ve some contacts there I’m pretty sure I can get you on the board or directors.

    1. I will certainly pass that opportunity forward to my wife. He schedule is pretty full chasing these guys around though…

  12. You made me smile – I remember when it was easy to get a free kitten and when you gazed at them wistfully through the pet shop window and balked at paying $25 for one. Our last was a pedigree and she cost $400!!!I nearly fainted! (and we had to wait til she was 10 weeks old before we were allowed to take her home) We have little scratch marks from cats playing chasey over the furniture – and those kitty litter crystals are like mini lego bricks if you tread on them bare footed. BUT KITTENS ARE SOOOO CUTE!!

    1. Yes they are cute. Yesterday at the vet she didn’t stop hugging them. They loved her, that is until she gave them their shots.

  13. My husband is allergic to everything. When we met, I had a cat. He tried for a year and half after we moved in together to live with CJ, too. I loved CJ, but I gave her to one of my best friends so Neil could y’know, breathe.

    Now, our daughter goes over to my Dad’s house to play with his two cats.

    And we have fish.

    My Dad wants us to get hypoallergenic cats. Not gonna happen.

    As for me, I’d like a dog. Also not gonna happen.

    ENJOY the kittens!


    1. As I watch the orange male cat do back flips into the litter box, roll around in it, then pounce and prance in his own filth I’m thinking you might be better off visiting your dad’s cats.

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