Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kitten Sunday

Yesterday was Kitten Sunday, the day that Dave and I designated specifically for adopting a kitten. Our apartment is full, but there is a kitten-shaped void. We picked up two friends and went to a local animal shelter to enjoy some feline company and find our match.

I got the feeling that the volunteers really didn’t want to give us a kitten. We told the receptionist that we wanted to adopt and she tried to talk us out of it.

“Are you sure? What if your landlord doesn’t want you to have pets? What if you break up? Are you just going to bring the cat back here?”

But we are no cat novices and already took these things into consideration. She reluctantly slid a clipboard with a questionnaire reminiscent of, but for cats.  Then she directed us to the cat rooms. In the first room, we played with black kittens and temperamental tiger cats. I was quickly horded by adult cats demanding my attention. The volunteers in the room paid us no mind, ticking the kittens with Salad Fingers gloves.

The second room contained several adult cats that didn’t get along. A white cat got comfortable between my feet and tailless black cat nuzzled my leg, and they proceeded to fight. The other cats wanted looked on with indifference.

The third room contained the cats in cages, pacing and roughhousing and slipping their paws through the bars of the cage. Some of them came to greet us and others didn’t give us the time of day. The volunteer in the third room told us that we could play with individual cats that we liked in another room.

We went into the visiting room and waited for the first kitten that we wanted to get to know better – a fluffy, gray boy-kitten. The volunteer released the kitten onto a chair and quickly shut the door behind her, leaving the kitten in a new environment with four enormous strangers.

The kitten all but wet itself. It leapt off of the chair and darted to the safety of a carpeted cat-cave. The kitten was not amused my attempts to lure it from its hideout with a furry tail on a stick, seductively spiraling just within its reach. Nor was it thrilled when one of our friends attempted to scoop him up. When I tried to pet him, he slinked to the door with a panicked expression.

The prospect of adopting a kitten that was terrified of us was just too sad, even under reasonable circumstances, so we moved onto a gray girl-kitty with huge greenish-blue eyes. She seemed a little frightened when the door closed behind her, but soon she started brushing against my legs. We took turns dangling the furry tail on a stick in front of her and she played along. She found a chair cushion in the back of the room and maniacally kneaded it with her claws. When Dave picked her up, she purred and crawled onto his shoulders and ran down my back.

We were unanimously sold on kitten #2, but I wanted to give an affectionate adult kitty a chance, too. The volunteer brought us a third cat. It turns out he was seven months old but the approximate size of a Shetland pony. He seemed agitated out of his cage and allowed us to pet him for a while, but he mostly appeared annoyed and ready to return to the comfort of his cat cushion and the predictable bars. Before he left, he also maniacally kneaded the cushion. It’s his cushion now and nobody else’s.

After a thorough hand washing, followed by some absentminded kitten petting and some more thorough hand washing, we returned to the front desk. We told the receptionist the kitten we wanted.

“We need to see a copy of your lease before we can give you this cat,” she said.

I wish we had known about this before we spent hours playing with them. So we drove home, grabbed the lease, begged our landlord for a letter of recommendation, and quickly returned. The receptionist and other women who worked there looked it over carefully. They discussed the adoption in doubtful whispers. Then one of them went to the third room.

When she returned, she said, “You’re going to have to choose a different cat.”

In saying this, she ripped my heart from my chest, trailing behind it other important “feeling organs.”

“This cat hasn’t been spayed," she continued.

Well, yes, she was only a baby and cats can’t be spayed until they are six months old and fertile. I don’t know what to make of it. I hoped that we could work out a deal, or put her on layaway, or arrange a betrothal between us and our kitten that would go into effect on her six-month birthday. Fortunately, Dave was able to reason with the receptionist and we needed to provide the information for a veterinarian that has Dave on file. Hopefully that really is all we need to bring this time, and not our birth certificates and records of our whooping cough vaccinations.

The vet was not open on Kitten Sunday, so we must wait. Perhaps today is our day.

UPDATE: The next day we went to the shelter again and they gave us cardboard carrier full of kitten. "Is this for real?" we wondered. The sound of screaming kitten confirmed it. Olive is all ours, our squeaking and crotch-nuzzling bundle of joy.

1 comment:

  1. Brittany, I hope you get to take home your lovely, gray kitty soon!!