People always say cats are easy. They just hang out, eating and shitting and don’t need a lot of attention. Kittens, however, are a challenge that seems to be conveniently left out of the equation. I recently adopted two (Bucket orange, Lola, black and white) from the local animal shelter and had no idea what I was in for.
Between the litter training, malnourishment, meds, sleepless nights, requests for attention and unprecedented cuteness, I’ve gotten a glimpse of motherhood that makes me perfectly content that the real thing is nowhere in sight.
I’ve never been solely responsible for another living creature and it surprises me how quickly I’ve fallen completely in love with these babies. Just this moment Bucket, the little stumpy fluffy one, made it into the windowsill for the first time without missing and splatting on his face. Victories like this make all the diarrhea blowouts worth it.
The first time I got a glimpse of this kind of love was with my childhood kitty, Spoon (RIP lil’ angel). My parents got her when I was eleven and she was a petite little thing that looked like a Holstein cow.
Spoon wasn’t your quintessential lap kitty but she made up for it by being completely crazy, tearing around the house, talking constantly and attacking things like dust bunnies and wall hangings. Her crazed reptilian expressions, juxtaposed with her tiny fluffiness, warmed my little girl heart.
We used to set up “stations” where Spoon could entertain herself. One station in particular was called the ‘yoyo station’. It was simple, really. An unwound yoyo tied against the wooden slat of the back of a dinner chair. The round yoyo part was high so Spoon could bat at it. The string was sort of intertwined within itself dangling, taunting. Spoon loved this station and spent much of her free time there.
One day I was sitting in my room when I heard a long low yowl that quickly escalated into an unbearable wall of sound. I went tearing out to the kitchen and found Spoon, wrapped in her yoyo, dangling from the back of the chair by the neck. She’d somehow managed to get tangled and stuck while suspended mid air. My dad and sister arrived on the scene and my dad yelled for me to get the scissors.
I did, and in a valiant effort to be the hero, I ran up to Spoon and attempted to cut her down from the neck. It didn’t occur to me to just cut the string she was hanging from, instead I tried to finesse the scissors past her struggling limbs into her neck fur and cut the very part of string that was choking her. She flailed and yowled and I took my time concentrating on getting the scissors around the string by her neck.
Just before I could miss and cut her head off, my dad wrenched the scissors out of my hand and cut the string from the chair. We pulled the remaining yoyo parts off her neck and body and Spoon, barely affected, wandered away to attack something else.
After that incident we discontinued the yoyo station for the duration of Spoon’s life.
Lola and Bucket have not encountered any yoyos in their home.