As dog owners, we were completely ill prepared to take in the small kitten that wandered up our driveway the day before.
Usually a little squirt like that would get chased off by the 85-pound Golden Retriever Gestapo guarding the place or, at the very least, the husband who hates...I mean...dislikes...cats.
But this little kitten had gumption. The kind of gumption that made it put one tiny paw in front of the other, waltzing past the crazy canine and right up to the front door like she owned the place.
OK. She had style. A Make My Day ala Dirty Harry kinda style. I could appreciate that.
But that didn’t mean we were handing out Change of Address cards on her behalf any time soon.
“She’s so cute!” my 7-year-old son exclaimed in delight as the tiny feline rubbed against his legs.
But I was tough. That little cat wasn’t the only one to channel her inner Eastwood.
“Don’t touch it,” I immediately snapped. “We don’t want her staying.”
My son’s smile quickly turned into a frown, “Why not?”
I pointed down, “She’s very friendly. Leave her alone, and she’ll move on, find her way back home.”
....yeah. I’m that stupid.
The cat fight started later that night.
Spurred into action by screams of terror outside our bedroom window, I jumped out of bed, ran downstairs, threw open the front door and tore into the yard.
Only to see little Dirty Harry up a tree, with the neighbor’s cat not far behind.
So...uh...you know...that’s how the kitten made it into the house that first night.
Nobody chases a little kitten up a tree in MY neighborhood.
Fortunately, emptying the contents of the paper shredder into a small box sufficed as an impromptu litter box. The next morning, we went to our vet’s office to see if the little girl had an ID microchip (no) or a spay scar (also a no) or any leads to her identity (no).
I headed home with the little bundle of fur and the sneaking suspicion I had a new cat.
Knowing she wasn’t spayed meant she couldn’t stay outside while we searched for her family. And a record August summer meant she couldn’t stay in the hot garage.
A + B = We need a real litter box.
So I sent the man, the dog lover, to get - and I quote - “the smallest bag of kitty litter you can find.”
It was like asking for a pop-up tent and getting the Taj Mahal instead.
He returned from the store with two large bags, which included a state-of-the-art litter box. I not-so-politely asked, “What the heck is all that?”
Seriously. You think you know a guy.
So it was time to have a conversation with the male members of the household.
“How many fish do we have?” I asked them.
My son, “Six!”
My husband, “Uh...we have fish?”
I pointed to my son and said, “Wrong.”
I pointed to my husband and asked, “Are you friggin’ kidding me?!”
I stabbed a thumb into my chest, “I think it’s safe to say that adding yet another pet to this household just means more work for me.”
My son leaned over and whispered to his dad, “I really thought there were six.”
“Yes,” I snarked, “until one committed fishy suicide by jumping out of the tank and another became an appetizer for the rest. And now there are four.”
My son, “What’s an appetizer?”
My husband, clapping a hand over our son’s month said, “Shush!”
“Stop!” I yelled. “Before I go all North Korea on you both!”
My son nudged his dad and asked quietly, “What does that mean?”
“Nothing,” he hushed, “and - for the love of God - do NOT look directly into her eyes. That would be very, very bad right now.”
“Bad like Medusa bad?” my son asked.
(Thank you, Percy Jackson.)
“Yes,” my husband whispered back, “Bad like Medusa bad.”
My son’s lips formed a silent “O.”
As I fashioned a little kitty bed out of an old basket and a soft blanket later that night, I knew the battle was lost.
But, in a way, I had won too.
It’s a pretty great feeling to be part of a family that has such huge hearts. Welcome to the family, Lucky the cat.
Just stay away from the fish.