It started with a photo
Wednesday I was sitting on the deck enjoying some quiet while Mae and Luca biked in the driveway and Audrey navigated the stairs for the millionth time; up, down, up, down, squeal.
I was looking at my Facebook feed and saw that one of my friends reposted a photo from someone else that was, for lack of better words, pleading for people to foster kittens from the shelter.
From my understanding and basic logic, there’s only so much space and there’s a mess of kittens that are needing homes right now. That’s just the way of the world. I know, and you know that not everyone is a fan of cats, because if that was the case, I’m sure there’d be less of a strain on the shelters this very moment.
I already have two cats. One, who is very opinionated and happily takes the role as alpha, and another who is sort of dopey but has a genuinely kind heart.
Matt is also an asthmatic who needs medications simply because I have a love for animals.
Sorry, not sorry.
Matt and I are also really bad at keeping the litter box clean. For a long time, I wasn’t allowed to due to pregnancy and such, but then it became a game between the two of us, who would break down first? I discovered feline pine litter, and it has been a game changer. Cats pee, and it smells like a forest in the basement. Subsequently, the litter gets ignored.
Never fear, the cats are 50/50 with being outdoors and all the world is their toilet. Better yet, when we go a long time without cleaning the litter box, Boss just pees on things in the basement that she knows Matt uses. Shoes, coats, scarves, towels – she doesn’t discriminate.
Serves us right.
But they’re fed, healthy and have the whole world to roam, knowing full well they get to come home to a warm, clean house.
You see where I’m going with this, right? While we’re responsible and such, doing the mundane things to keep cats alive isn’t our strong forte (read: litter box) and so when I read those words, those pleading words, asking for anyone to help foster kittens, I texted Matt.
A few things you should know about me, I don’t typically ask. I just do. If I want to paint a room, I do it. If I want to go somewhere, I go. Dinner? I plan it. Decor, you betcha.
So when I asked Matt, he took pause.
Of course, his first response was, “You really must hate me, don’t you?” I took that response to mean two things: 1.) asthma and our stellar care of our already forever cats and 2.) he knows he can’t say no.
When Matt and I first got married, he told me that his favorite thing about me is my big heart. He should have seen this coming a mile away.
He said yes, I immediately told my friends at the ARL and they immediately started finding the perfect foster kittens for us.
My friend Jen volunteers there every Wednesday night and said she’d pick out some for me. What I didn’t expect was for her to text me saying, “I have a litter of six. They need antibiotics and eye ointment. Here’s a photo.”
Six?! I told her Matt may lose his shit over six kittens. SIX. Six kittens.
But then I followed up with, “But if it’s dire, then of course.”
She said, “It is. They need a home tonight…”
I can read between the lines. Six kittens in a shelter that is overrun with kittens, and these ones need medical treatment? I would consider that dire.
Matt got home from work and I had the house spotless, his dinner on the table, and the resident cats’ litter cleaned. He knows sucking up when it’s in front of his face, so he knew something was up. He said he didn’t want to know, and I drove off to the shelter to pick up the little ones.
I got home, lugged the huge, heavy crate upstairs into our bedroom, and started to set up their temporary home. The kids were oohing and aahing over them while I got to work. I had a cake tin with litter, bowls, towels, yarn and old baby receiving blankets all prepared, and when I stepped back, it looked like a kitty Taj Mahal.
Matt was upstairs at this point and watched as I put kitten after kitten into the crate.
He looked at me, arms crossed and simply said, “Six, huh?”
I ignored him and got to work cleaning up their eyes and settling them in for the night.
I told him, “What was I supposed to do? Jen said they needed a home tonight. I’m not an idiot. I know what that means.”
He softened his disposition immediately. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t just about kittens needing a place to crash. It was about saving lives.
“We saved six lives tonight, Matt. I think that’s a good day.”
He then named one Cake, but found out she was a she and added Cup to it, making her Cupcake.
There’s three boys and three girls. I read the paperwork wrong and mixed up two of their genders, but whatever. Their names can go either way.
So let’s see. We have Cupcake, Clark, Louie, Billie, Miss Houdini, and Robin (AKA Nightwing.)
Every day I put them into their little laundry basket and transport them to the bathroom where the kids call it, “Free play!” and I clean out their little home. I wipe down, scoop, change towels and blankets, vacuum the litter they scatter, and wash out their bowls.
Every morning I give them their antibiotics. I clean their eyes and paws (kittens are gross) and I give the eye drops and ointment to those who need them. Claire and Luca help feed them their canned food and Mae helps by bringing wash cloths.
While it may seem like a daunting task, it’s not. It’s what I would want for me if I didn’t have a home. They’re all litter trained and oh my goodness so sweet. And if it weren’t for their colds (that they’re significantly improved from) I’d let them have free reign of the home. Though, I don’t think Boss would be too keen on me bringing invaders into the house only to give her a cold.
It’s teaching responsibility to my kids, and has given them so much joy. Most of all, it gives me purpose and joy as well. I’ve missed being a nurse, and it’s nice to be able to clean and care for something aside from my children.
I have done a lot of things for the ARL when it comes to fundraising and being a cheerleader, but I wanted to do more.
This makes me so very happy.
So, in a few weeks, when they’re two pounds and off antibiotics, I’ll bring them back so they can be fixed and hopefully be put out into the cages for all the world to see, fit for adoption.
That said, if anyone wants a kitten, please consider one of the six I’m fostering. Please share this story. I’ve invested a lot of time into these little dudes that I’d love to hear them have a happy ending.