Last week, I scratched an itch; acted upon an urge. Seventy-two hours and two bags of kitten chow later, I sit here musing how on earth I ended up adopting an entire litter of orange kittens?
My family hates cats! Not my immediate family, but almost everyone else even remotely related to me, hates cats. Don't try to understand it. Its in the DNA.
My grandfather loved to bird watch. He knew exactly how many finches, wrens, robins, blue jays and morning doves lived within a five mile radius of his property. He fed them, provided housing for them, and protected them.
Grandpap declared any cat or kitten that dared cross his property line, public enemy #1 and appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. There would be no mercy for those that trespassed.
I discovered early in life, that I was different from the rest of the family when it came to cats. Even my usually gentle and compassionate grandmother seemed sympathetic to my grandfather's cause. I remember the day the neighbor-lady came to the door asking if we'd seen her dearly beloved house-cat, who'd been locked out by a repairman and hadn't returned. I was shooed away from the door, so never heard the rest of the conversation, but I knew that cat was never coming home.
As time went on, I learned to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. One year, while visiting my aunt in Albany, I dressed as a black cat for Halloween. You'd never believe the grief I got.
It was obvious that I was the family odd-ball. I didn't want to be different. I just liked cats.
My parents were equally adamant in their dislike for felines, so I had to wait until I had a home of my own before I was able to own a cat. When we did finally adopt a kitten, we did so under the pretense that we were placating our daughter, who'd been asking for a kitten every year for Christmas for five years. We named her Noel. She was raised with two dogs, a Scottie and a Maltese, and she too would have barked rather than purred, if she'd be physically able. Everyone that knew her, loved her. Even my parents and a handful of other family members didn't seem to mind her.
Noel was a birthday gift for Bridget
When my grandfather came to visit, I insisted Noel be locked in a bedroom. It worked for a few years. I still remember him confronting me when he found out I'd crossed over to the other side. He put his nose in the air and told me I must be out of my 'blank-blank' head. I felt awful.
Rick and little Noel
And then there were Sam and Boots, the cats that had been abandoned at the kennel where daughter Brooke worked. She'd posted their photo on the family frig with a note that said, "Please adopt us!" We resisted. Being the family weirdo with one cat was enough. After much discussion, Brooke seemed to understand our position.
At least, she pretended to. I sat down on her unmade bed one day to sort socks and a lump wiggled beneath the covers, dropped to the floor and slithered under the box-spring. I bravely peered under the dust-ruffle to find two pair of green eyes staring back at me. Boots and Sam had been living in Brooke's room, unbeknownst to the rest of the family, for a month.
At that time, we had a barn full of horses, so I could sanely claim that the new cats would be on rodent patrol in the barn. The family seemed to accept that. Whew!
Our beloved Noel passed away a month before we left California. Sam had disappeared a few years before (we fear his demise was hastened by a hungry coyote) and Maddie (forgot to mention her) was laid to rest a year before Noel. That left only Boots, an old lady now. She stayed in San Diego with Brooke and her family, and is dearly loved by grandson Shane.
Bonnie and Clyde relaxing under my computer table.
Which brings me to the three purring kittens, asleep at my feet.
Simply put, Rick and I missed having a cat in the house. At first we thought we wanted a fancy, long-haired exotic we could fuss over. Maybe the family would be more accepting of a well-bred cat. We researched that option and decided that no cat was worth a $1200+ price tag.
Next, I called all the local animal shelters and was told, that this just wasn't kitten-season. Half a day later, I managed to find one shelter and a Petsmart that had kittens. The kittens at the Petsmart, were placed there by a local rescue agency. They had one litter of three orange domestic short-hairs.
I'd never been fond of orange cats, so I headed out to the other shelter. Upon arrival, I was told the kitten I'd come to look at had been adopted that morning. They did however, have another. I left that shelter with an adoption application on a darling gray tabby that was the spitting image of our Noel. The shelter had a two-day waiting period on adoptions, and we had some time to kill, so I suggested that we check out those orange kittens, just to be sure we'd made the right decision.
Bonnie arrives home
That evening, we sat admiring our newest addition to the family. She was darling, and orange. There was one small problem though, she seemed to miss her siblings. We engaged in much thoughtful discussion and agreed to return to the store and select one of the two remaining kittens as a playmate for the first. Done!
The next morning, I appeared at the store, selected a kitten, filled out an application and returned home to await approval. The phone call came as I walked in the door. I was approved for the second kitten and told that the agency would be exceedingly grateful if I'd consider adopting the remaining kitten. The voice at the other end of the phone, went on in detail to describe how painfully shy the remaining kitten was. The agency was afraid that if he wasn't adopted with a sibling, he might not ever learn to socialize, making his chance for adoption slim.
My answer was polite but definite. No thank you.
Another trip to the store and a few errands later, I arrived home with the kitten in my carrier. I confess to feeling guilty for leaving the third kitten alone, but refused to dwell on something I knew was beyond my control. I announced myself at the front door and Rick appeared at the top of the staircase, hands on hips, smile on face. His smile quickly faded when he noticed the crate. I told him I had the kitten we'd discussed adopting that morning, and he still just stared down at me. I had no idea what was wrong with him.
Then, he turned around and opened the door to the bathroom behind him, and as he did so, he asked, "If that's the brother, then who is this?" By this time, I'd started up the stairs and as the bathroom door swung opened, I found myself staring at not one, but two orange kittens.
Rick, believing he'd save me a trip, had stopped by the store on his way home from the gym, to pick up the agreed upon sibling. He had no idea that I'd already been there, minutes before and left with the second cat. When seeing only one kitten left, he'd assumed that the shy third kitten had been removed or adopted out. He was in fact, adopting the shy, third kitten.
Rick and I were speechless. I opened the door to my carrier and the third kitten tumbled out. They greeted each other then scurried out of the bathroom, taking off in different directions. We had to laugh. How could this happen? We must have passed within a minute or two of each other at the store. Why didn't the store manager say anything to Rick when he saw the same name on the adoption application? Why didn't they make him wait for agency approval? I laughed so hard, I started to cry.
Lucky and Clyde wrestling
I suggested to Rick that we return one of the three orange kittens and explain the mix-up. He just stared at me. How could we possibly decide which one to return? We were obviously meant to have all three. It was kismet.
My first thought went to the family. Any doubt that I'm a crazy-cat-lady will be dashed forever now.
Oh well (sigh!), I guess there comes a time in life when we have to stop making excuses for who we are.
I'm fifty-years-old and, I love CATS! Not just kittens (as some have implied). I LOVE CATS! My grandparents would be so disappointed in me.
Sammy Miller and Brittany
The little Noel look-alike now resides happily with Brittany and Jeremy.