Well, sort of.
I have been talking about wanting a pair of kittens for years. It’s been a long time since I’ve had kitties in my life, and I’ve missed them. Two weeks of kitties at Mary’s house every year simply fails to suffice.
But still, knowing we would have to have strictly indoor kitties and you know how kitties like to RUN out the door and there are coyotes, and Floyd likes his furniture intact and no quadrupeds on tables or counters or lapping yogurt up from the other side of your breakfast bowl… It all seemed rather daunting.
And then one evening during rush hour, my daughter’s significant other was driving into Elgin on a busy 6-lane road when he somehow spied the boy on the front page. Right in the middle. A tiny little handful of black kitty and mostly ears.
Jim screeched his truck to a halt, scooped up the dude, and promptly named him Bat Cat – for obvious reasons.
This happened at a time when my daughter’s dear kitty El Hombre was having the last weekend of his life, and she just didn’t feel up to a new baby. So of course I said, We’ll take him!
For me, the Bat Cat name didn’t quite scan, and you need something a little melodic when you are calling a kitty. As if a rhythmic name – as opposed to the attention-grabbing spondee – would actually make them respond. In any event, because of his obviously adventurous ways, Floyd thought Marco Polo might do; and Marco he is.
While little scrapes on the inside of his back legs might indicate he’d been thrown from a vehicle, if I think of something like that for more than a nanosecond I want the entire human race wiped out and that’s not a good head space for me. Marco isn’t saying anything about his first eight weeks of life, and we’re cool with that.
Like all kitties he was housebroken in one trip to the litterbox, and that was that. You needed seven months, I said to Travis, who at that point was terrified. Then he was just anxious. Then he was kind of annoyed, demanding massive attention from any visitors who happened by.
A week in and he’s adapted pretty well to the reality that he is no longer an only child and sometimes his bed is occupied by a furry creature smaller than his head. He’s actually a pretty good big brother, backing away when Marco and Lucy want to investigate his breakfast or drink out of his water bowl. Everyone knows that dog water tastes a million times better than cat water.
And how mad can you get with someone who has a face like this?
Marco started fattening up right away, and even decided he likes living in a house with wifi and lots of things to watch. Way better than trying to pick your way across six lanes of rush-hour traffic.
As anyone who has ever had a kitten knows, it is far more work to have one kitten than it is to have two; they need someone to chase, grab, and bite all day. So the search for a suitable co-kitty was on. My daughter has a friend who happened to be fostering a litter of three along with their mama, having driven down to Houston to snatch them from the jaws of death about an hour before they were to be euthanized.
I’ll take the girl, I said; and as it turned out the little girl was the only one not already spoken for. It was meant to be.
The fostering was taking place through the wonderful amazing fantastic Austin Pets Alive! Find out about them here. I drove over, filled out the application, had an interview, and arranged for my daughter to pick the baby up at APA’s main headquarters at the old Town Lake Animal Shelter, where she was being spayed. (Marco needed a sister ASAP, I had to go to work, and you know what a time suck work is!)
When I got home a little puzzle-faced kitty was starting to come back to her senses after a difficult day in the midst of a very strange week. I decided her name is Lucy. It took her a while to really wake up.
The two of them bonded very quickly, although Marco played a little more roughly than I think was needed. Now, a week in, Lucy holds her own and has no problem instigating. Like all kittens everywhere, they spend the morning playing like mad and creating havoc everywhere they can get to, then pass out for the rest of the day.
As I said on Facebook, I don’t think we’ll tell them they are from two different families, and we probably won’t even tell them that they were adopted. Anyone who could hold onto a bad mood when living with two baby kittens is in really bad shape, I think. Those two are hilarious, and I have the scratches to prove it.
It was a bit of a whirl at first, and the only reason I’ve been able to type this far all in one stretch is because I am at the office and there are no kitties to help me type. There were things to be ordered and stuff to get and food to choose and a kitty condo to assemble and place by the living room windows where they can watch all the creatures they won’t be allowed to hunt in real life.
They don’t seem to mind being stuck indoors much. Lucy is microchipped already, and Marco will be as soon as the vet allows (our vet says they like to wait until they’re five pounds); but the indoor part is for their protection. As well as the protection of certain wild animals Lucy would love to sink her teeth into. She is a born hunter.
I can see we will have to institute great caution at the doors, because Lucy thinks a door is some kind of launcher designed to propel a kitty out into the world. It will either mean spray bottles of water at all the exit doors, going in and out through the garage, or a combination of every possible tactic we can contrive, like having people enter the house through a master bedroom window since the master bedroom door is always closed against kittens.
Invention idea: since they have animal companion doors that open and close in response to your sweetie’s microchip, what about an invention that would use the same technology to shoot the little punkin’ heads with water when they came too close to an outside door? You can laugh, but I’m the person who said in the 1970s that they ought to have something like baby wipes but with Windex instead. And I am also in favor of beautiful smoke detectors. Don’t get me started.
Please make sure your animal companions are spayed or neutered, and help the ecosystem hold whatever balance it has left by not sending kitties outside. Besides, the average life span of an outdoor cat is two years. (Please don’t be telling me about how your cat was an outdoor cat who lived to be 100; I have five stats classes under my belt and I don’t want to know from N=1.)
I need Marco and Lucy to stick around long enough to take care of me in my old age.
At this point I am home from work, typing in my usual place on the couch, kittens running all around me and grabbing hold of me here and there in the way kittens grab hold. I surrender!
This is going to be great.