So, yes, we have two kittens. Yes, we were only planning on having one cat. It’s kind of a long story.
Before he would agree to bringing a cat home, Travis made me do all sorts of research to determine if we were getting a cat or kitten, shelter cat or purebred, one or two, and how would I guarantee he wouldn’t come home to me crying that Sadie ate the new kitten. I got a whole bunch of books from the library (most of which are really kind of useless) and read through them, pointing out facts and tidbits I found interesting. I wrote down all my findings on paper and taped them to the walls at eye-level. Travis commented by adding Post-It notes to my papers. You might be tempted to call this passive aggressive communication, but it did allow us to get through it all without big arguments.
I wanted a kitten because I wanted to feel like we had some sort of influence on the type of cat it would grow up to be. I had leaned towards adopting an adult cat because, you know, they have harder times finding a home and I wanted to be altruistic. But, I also thought an older cat might have a harder time adapting to a 3-dog house and if the cat was really unhappy, what would happen then? You can’t give a cat back to a shelter! They put you on A List and you then you can’t adopt anything anymore! (At least, that’s what they do at the shelter my mom volunteers for.) I also felt like I wanted to maximize our available cat years… if we got a 6-year old cat, we’d have less time before that cat got old. Sure, it’s flawed reasoning, but when you’re dealing with someone who feels she got robbed of her time with The Best Cat in the World, you just go with it.
We’d talked about getting another Ragdoll or maybe a Birman. Travis thought purebreds gave you the best shot at getting some known personality. For some reason, I think this is true with dogs but that cats are a complete crapshoot. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think you can get a friendly, affectionate cat by doing a good job raising a kitten, no matter what breed you start with. I’d also read somewhere that when getting a new pet, you shouldn’t try to find one that reminds you of the pet you lost because that new pet will never measure up and just disappoint you. Obviously, a Clair-looking cat was out of the question. So, random shelter can it is!
Now, if you’re getting a kitten, EVERYONE says you should get two so they keep each other company, keep each other out of trouble, and don’t get lonely when you’re away at work. I never felt Clair was lonely being all by herself, but I also realized she was never really alone when she was a kitten. She lived in a house with a bunch of college students, so there were a lot of people there all the time. I didn’t want a little kitten getting all sad and lonely, so now we were looking for two kittens.
We went to Helen Woodward and they had no shortage of kittens. I understand they want to protect the kittens, but I didn’t like that we had to wear gloves while trying to get to know the kittens. I felt very disconnected. We also couldn’t put them down – we had to hold them the whole time, but kittens are squirmy so how do you really know what kind of kitten it is? In the end, I liked the kittens but Travis wasn’t sure he was ready for more furballs. At that point, we weren’t on the same page about Operation New Cat, which is what prompted the paper signs and book research. And possibly some crying. The kittens we looked at were adopted the next day, which only made me feel sad when we couldn’t find “good” kittens later.
Seeing that June is Adopt a Shelter Cat month, I figured that was a good time to make a push for kittens. That and the fact that Travis was leaving for a beer conference for a week were the foundations of my new campaign for kittens, which I would later refer to as The Kitten even though I meant two kittens. It’s all about naming and marketing, people.
We went to Meow Madness at the San Diego Humane Society. Have you been there? Dogs and cats have their own apartments, with furniture and beds and artwork (artwork!) and it really doesn’t make you sad that you can’t take everyone home with you. We got there in the afternoon (after lunch and an extensive shopping excursion through Target) and pretty much every kitten had been adopted (they went from 19 to 8 available kittens on the website). Even the County shelter had “Adopted” signs on the cats we stopped at. I mean, yay for the cats and kittens going home, but I was bummed we didn’t see any we liked. We did see a sweet looking 2-year old cat, but would that mean we get two cats? Or hope that the cat is okay by herself? Or bring home a kitten later and hope they’re okay? Ideally, we wanted to find two kittens from the same litter. There were no new kittens at Helen Woodward and it was too late to try and drive out to the Escondido Humane Society, so we headed back home.
After an early morning of kayaking, getting dunked in the ocean, and then a really good brunch at Chateau Orleans, I dragged a sleepy Travis all the way out to the Escondido Humane Society. I never knew how far Escondido city limits stretched before. I signed in and we walked through the hallways until I learned you have to fill out the paperwork before you can go into the kitten room. So, I filled out the paperwork (I said we own, not rent, the house, which is only technically slightly not true) and someone came along to punch in the key code. Before I left, a little boy told me the black kitten was his, so I assured him we wouldn’t play with it or anything. We spent a lot of time in that kitten room, playing with all the kittens. I didn’t want to pick kittens just because I didn’t want to go home kittenless. But, I also didn’t want to take too long in case someone else came in and picked a kitten that I might want. We’d already ruled out some kittens – the one that tried to climb up Travis’ back, the one that just sat there uninterested, the one that kept running away. Travis was enamored with one kitten but was waffling because it was a boy and he wasn’t sure he wanted boy cats. His other choice was a fluffy, mushy girl kitten – mainly because she was a girl. In the end, he picked his first choice kitten and I picked mine. I left him in the kitten room to guard our picks while I went to tell someone we had decided. We must have gotten there before rush hour because the place was packed! And a lot of them were looking for kittens! I was glad we got our picks before everyone else got there.
They really only took a few hours to get comfortable in their new room. After some forced petting and a little kitty massage, I had Bonnie purring and looking for more attention. Willie took more work but was more open to some petting by the time we went to bed. With a little more interaction and some canned kitten food bribes, he came around. There’s a baby gate in front of the doorway, but we’ve been letting them roam the house while the dogs are locked up. Cassie and Lexi are fine around them, but Sadie still wants to chase them. So, until that’s settled, either Sadie is locked up or the kittens are kept in their room.
They’re both just such lovebugs. You go into their room and they just want attention (and canned food). You sit down and then climb in your lap and purr like crazy. You can put Willie on his back and he just mushes into you. I’m so glad we brought them home.