For months, we’ve been promising Zoe that she could have a kitten for her birthday.
I had an amazing cat, Peyton, for 17 years, who I got from my grandmother’s farm. But he died in May 2009 and since we got married in October 2009, then pregnant in December 2009, then had Zoe, then Ella, well, you get the point.
Bart, on the other hand, had a crazy cat, Zeno, who attacked him at will. So unlike me, he was sure we should start looking EARLY for a kitten, so we didn’t end up with whatever cat we could find on Zoe’s birthday…
Well, best laid plans, as usual. While we both poked around online for the best place to find a kitten for Zoe, we didn’t actually begin our search until guess when: The Saturday before her birthday. First, we headed to a rescue where a friend’s son volunteered. We had the inside scoop on the best kittens: Ask about Bonnie & Clyde.
We showed up as a family and walked around a room filled with cages – no Bonnie & Clyde. Apparently they had just been neutered/spayed and were recovering in a back room. While cute, they (like the rest of the kittens there) were actually 5-6 month old kittens. Still cute but not quite the “kittens” we had in mind. Regardless, we needed a kitten.
As we asked more questions about “how it worked”, I was handed a 2-page form and told that after I filled it out they would set up a home site visit the following week, where they would “poke the screens” and make sure our home was suitable for a cat. Then they’d tell us all the things we needed to buy to prepare for our kitten’s arrival and book a time for us to pick up the cat. Wow. (You’re probably thinking what I was thinking: we have a birthday cat to deliver in just 3 days).
So we didn’t rule out that rescue but we DID agree to go the following day to an adoption held at a park near our home, where several shelters bring their pets and for $50 and proof that you “had the goods” to bring them home, you could bring home an animal on the same day. Now that’s more like it.
We showed up just 30 minutes after the adoption was supposed to start, only to find that it had been cancelled due to “extreme heat”. We scrambled online to find another adoption being held by KittenRescue.org (how can you go wrong with that?) at a local pet shop. We headed over right away only to find that they hadn’t arrived yet and “sometimes they get mixed up about the dates…”
While we waited for the rescue folks to arrive, we got an overview of all the items we’d need to have a kitten:
- Litter box
- Kitten Food
- Litter (oh so many options)
- Scratching Post
- Food + Water bowls
- Cat bed
- Optional: “No Scratch”, Smell Remover (just in case), Harness (no).
I convinced them to call the Kitten Rescue folks, only to find out that they were NOT coming. But good news! She handed me a 2-page form which I could give to them or email to the rescue, said they’d get back to us in 24-48 hours to talk about the kittens they had available, then set a time for a home site visit (and so on). Floored.
My brilliant husband started just grabbing items we needed to have a kitten. I mean, we WERE in a pet store and the only way we were going to end up with a feline in our home was to buy stuff. As we left the store, Bart reminded me about another option: He had found 3 kittens posted on Craigslist, and he had emailed the seller to find out gender (Zoe wanted a girl). Turns out they had replied and in fact offered to meet to show us the kittens, so he reached out again.
My favorite part of his story is their response:
MEET ME IN THE LIQUOR STORE PARKING LOT ON MAGNOLIA.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? So time to weigh options:
- Bring 2 small children to random liquor store parking lot to get a kitten. Hmm.
- Wait for kitten rescue to show up somewhere…
- Fill out 2-page forms all around the city and prep for a home site visit (to a home that is baby proofed, I might add) and hope for the best?
- End up with NO KITTEN for our sweet 5-year-old daughter on her birthday – NOT an option.
Plus, hey, we already had the supplies. So we drove to the liquor store parking lot, which was thankfully bright, clean, empty and in a nice neighborhood. On the way over we worked out what to do if this was NOT a good situation (meaning we were not leaving with a kitten). As we parked, a nice couple in their late 50s walked over and the lady pulled 3 small kittens out of a PURSE. There were 2 grey tabbies and a black one. Zoe held the tabby twins, wanted nothing to do with the black one (bummer), and said “I want THAT one.”
We asked if THAT one was the girl. “Oh yes. Her name is Gretel but you can call her whatever you want.” Right.
Bart started quizzing the couple.
- What’s the mother’s name? Cupcake (big smiles)
- What’s her disposition? (insert confusion)
- Me: Is she friendly? Oh yes, very friendly.
- What’s the kitten’s birth date? They looked at one another and clearly, they did not know.
- Me: Let’s just do this.
We handed them $40 bucks and got in our car with a kitten.
And that’s the story of Jasmine, who we brought home with NO shots, NO idea when she was born or whether she was healthy, UNSURE if she was actually a girl at all or if she was the spawn of a crazy cat who attacked humans in their sleep. Very sound parenting, if you ask me.
The good news? She’s super healthy! She’s playful, uses the litter box, and barely cries (unless she wants food or to get out of the clutches of a little girl). She’s a girl. She had fleas… (not good news but the good news is that they are gone) And the best news? Zoe is one happy kitten owner. Ella walks around the house signing DOG and saying “bop bop“, so we’re hoping Jasmine will warm to that… ;)
Now if we can just get Zoe to clean out the litter box. Stay tuned!