Why I Deserve To Own a Cat More Than a Four-Year-Old.

18 Aug

Upon finding a litter of abandoned kittens, a person can do one of two things: Take as many as you can handle in your current living situation and save their fluffy innocent little lives, or look the other way and pretend like they never happened.

Not everyone should own a pet. I understand this more than anyone, especially after hearing the owner of the camp site say, “Yep. After this week, they’ll be gone if no one takes em’. Gotta get rid of these damn cats!” Times like these, I find that I have to ask a few questions: 1. What, exactly, do you, kind sir, mean by “gone”? and 2.) Do you, by chance, have a soul?

A pair of big green eyes surrounded by orange and white fluff was all it took. My heart became a ball of mush, and the ball of fluff became “Oxford.”

My mother, who disapproves of my newest addition (and, I’ll add, with good and well thought out I’m-older-than-you-and-have-thought-this-through-WAY-more-than-you-have-and-think-it’s-a-TERRIBLE-idea reason), may not approve of a kitten, but I am without a doubt positive that my mother has a soul. A very kind soul, at that. A cat owner for most of her own life, she responsibly brought to my attention the things I hadn’t thought about: “What if we go on vacation!? WHERE is that cat going to go!? ” Mom-1. Carolyn-0. Touche, Mom. Touche. So how do I know my mother still has a good soul? About fifteen minutes after threatening to stop paying my rent, she asked for a picture of the little guy. Mom- 2. Carolyn-1.

Oxford and his two sisters were living under a flight of stairs leading up to a community cabin. This was a high traffic area, one which could usually be seen crowded with children under the age of seven. Now, I’m usually a good judge of character when it comes to animal ownership, I’ll admit. But I’ll also be the first person to admit when I’m wrong about something. However, there is one thing I KNOW I am not wrong about, and it is this: I deserve to own a cat more than a four year old does.

Picture this scene: Two very small boys, one in a black T-Shirt with gravel literally plastered to his face, and the other- the worst of them all- a demon child disguised as a tiny adorable boy dressed in a yellow T-Shirt with a bright green long-neck dinosaur on the front- both petting the kittens. I enter the scene.

Me: Hey guys! Like the kitties?

Boy 1: (Holding Oxford by the neck) He’s owah fav-wit.

Me: He’s my favorite too!

DEMON CHILD: You can’t have him.

Again, I have to ask a few questions. 1. Did I ask to hold him? 2. Who are you, and why do you have a dinosaur on your shirt? 3. Where are your parents, and do they have souls? Because if they do, I doubt they’d be letting you hold this tiny kitten by the NECK, unaccompanied by someone over the age of five. I tried a different approach.

Me: I see you have a dinosaur on your shirt. I love dinosaurs. Do you?

DEMON CHILD: Kind of.

Me: (Thinking) How can you “kind of love” dinosaurs?

I should have known then…

Me: Do you know what kind of a dinosaur that is?

DEMON CHILD:

Me: It’s a brontosaurus. See his long neck?

Boy 1: (Still holding Oxford in an inappropriate way) This one’s owah fav-wit.

DEMON CHILD: (Grabbing Oxford’s tail and pulling. Hard.) LET ME HOLD IT!

Boy 1: NO!

Oxford: RAIIIIR!

Me: No no, guys, you’re hurting him! Don’t pull him. Here, look. (I take Oxford away from Boy 1. Boy 1 looks thoroughly displeased with me, and his current situation.) See? You have to hold him under his legs, like this, so he doesn’t get hurt. He’s still a baby, and you have to be gentle.

At this point, I felt like I was making genuine progress. Both young boys were now looking at the cat, and at the way I was holding him, and the message seemed to be sinking in: You can’t hold a kitten by the neck; you have to hold him by his body. Good. And although the boys didn’t seem to like me very much, I had managed to make a mutual connection through our shared love of dinosaurs. All was going well. I figured I should continue making conversation with the boys, and said the first thing that came to my mind:

Me: Hey guys, guess what? I get to take this kitty home with me today!

At once, both boys’ faces went blank. Immediately I realized I had made a terrible mistake.

Boy 1: You’re taking him home?

Me: Yeah…

Boy 1: With you?

Me: … yep.

Boy 1:

DEMON CHILD:

Boy 1:

DEMON CHILD: No.

Now, you may think this sounds cute: Two little boys, completely in love with the new kitten, have become slightly territorial, and are worried about the kitten’s well being. WRONG. They were not even thinking of the kitten’s well being- they were thinking of their own selfish desires. I tried a new approach.

Me: Well, you see, the person who owns this land said that at the end of the week, the kitties were being sent away to a bad place. So, I’m taking this one so he’ll have a good home!

DEMON CHILD: But he’s my favorite one.

Me: (trying to salvage this conversation) Well, he’s my favorite too.

At this point, Boy 1 decided to take matters into his own dirty little hands. He reached for Oxford. I gently re-situated the kitty as to avoid his advances.

Boy 1: (pointing a dirty finger the size and shade of a molding tootsie roll) Why don’t you take one of the gray ones?

Me:

…Well played, Boy 1.

What I wanted to say: Because those two cats are the mangiest most unhealthy looking things ever, and if I’m saving a life here today, I want that life to be as problem-free as it can be. Maybe that’s selfish, but it’s the truth.

What I actually said: Because those are girls, and I wanted a boy.

Carolyn-1. Boys- 0.

Both boys looked completely beaten. Then! An idea….

Boy 1: Why don’t you take the big one? It’s a boy.

What I wanted to say: You think that load of crap is going to work on me, kid? I may look like just some stupid older girl, but even I know that the bigger one is the MOTHER, and she’s mangier than all three kittens combined. Nice try, four year old. Nice try.

What I actually said: That one’s the mommy, silly! She’s a girl.

Carolyn- 2. Boys- Zip. I was on a roll.

I guess DEMON CHILD had had enough, so he literally pushed my hands away from Oxford, and grabbed him.  By the neck.

Me: No, no, don’t hurt-

DEMON CHILD: You can’t take him with you! He’s my favorite, and he hassta stay here with me.

Oxford: Meeeeew….

Boy 1: Let me hold him now please.

DEMON CHILD: NO HE’S MINE!

In that moment, something inside of me cracked. I didn’t care how adorable this kid looked in his brontosaurus T-shirt. I didn’t care how close his parents were to seeing this exchange. And I certainly didn’t care for his “affection” toward Oxford.

What I wanted (and should have) said: (Leaning down close, saying in a honey-sweet whisper…) Hey kid. You know what? I think you’re holding the cat by his neck again. Do you want to know how that feels? Why don’t I just hold YOU by the neck? Hmm? Would you like to see how comfortable that feels? And you know what else? I’m taking this kitten home with me, whether you like it or not. And do you want to know why I should take this kitty home, and not you? Here are the first few reasons, and granted, these are just the first few that have just… popped into my head… Are you ready, kids? Okay, here we go… Number one: I’m older than you. By a lot. Number two: Although my mommy won’t like that I have a kitten, she’s not here right now. You get me? Number three: I have my own apartment. Number four: I’m old enough to know how to litter train a cat. Number Five: I know how to HOLD A KITTEN PROPERLY. Number six: I already have a name picked out, and it’s a lot better than the crappy name you two ding bats picked out; “Butterscotch?” Really? For a ginger kitten? REALLY ORIGINAL, GUYS! Oh, number seven!? I have a driver’s license. I can also spell “License” without using spell check. AND! I also know what spell check is. Number eight: I have a job. Do you know what it’s like to be a waitress at Applebees? Oh, you don’t? Oh, here’s another reason! Number nine: I CAN ADD TWO NUMBERS TOGETHER. Do you understand what I’m saying to you??? I CAN DO MATH. I also know how to do my multiplication tables, all the way up to 12! Do you know what 12 X 4 is? HUH!? DO YOU!?!?!  12 X 4 is 48, kumquats!!! You’re also looking at a fourth grade spelling bee finalist. Number ten, and this one really is a doozie… (giggling) Last month? I rescued FIVE three-week-old kittens from starvation and abuse. I nursed them all back to health, and was brave and strong enough to give them ALL up to their forever homes. And I felt pretty good! Until they were all gone. (Scooping up Oxford properly.) You know, I think it’s sweet that you guys care so much about this kitty-cat, that you’d rather have him stay here for just a few more hours with you, so you can properly abuse him, and then tomorrow have that nice camp site owner man SHOOT HIM IN THE HEAD… rather than let him come home with me now and be treated like a prince for the rest of his nine lives. But you know what else I think is sweet? The fact that I’m going to take this kitten with me, right now, and there is absolutely nothing you two dirty-faced, snot nosed, DINOSAUR-LOVING- IMPOSTORS!!!!!!!!!!!! can do about it.

What I actually said: Well…. why don’t you put him back with his sisters. He’d like that. Then you two boys can go swimming again!

And wash the filth off of your faces, you maggots. 

After Oxford was back under the stairs, I decided it was my cue to leave. He was safe, and if I stayed any longer, the two boys might learn a few new choice vocabulary words. Finally, both boys ran down to the lake and continued to be genuine lagoon creatures. As they ran and splashed in the lake, completely forgetting about the kittens, I snuck into the kitchen and grabbed some left-over turkey. I circled back around, and as I heard one boy scream, “I’M GONNA GET YOU!” I handed the turkey to Oxford and his sisters. No, I thought fondly. No, you most certainly, are not.

Oxy's Ice Cream

Ice cream. A collar. Having a GOOD name. Things I could provide, and a four-year-old could not.

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