There’s Nothing Sweeter than the Season of ‘Kittenhood’
About a month ago, my husband made a very odd proclamation. He waited until our four-year-old daughter went to bed and very quietly told me that he thought it was time for her to have a pet of her own. We are pet parents to two dogs - both of which were with us long before she came along. If you know my husband, you know he isn't a soft, cuddly man, and kittens aren't usually at the top of his agenda. But, he had a cat in mind.
At first, I was actually against the idea. I don't like cleaning a litter box and teaching both my child and the cat how to behave didn't sound appealing. But, maternal love won out and on a random Saturday, I decided to go pick up the kitten he had his eye on.
When we phoned the owner, she told us that she had changed her mind. Now, if you've ever parented, or even been around a four-year-old girl for more than say... five minutes, you know that you don't just go around promising kittens and then renege. GAH, what was I gonna do? Where do I come up with the perfect kitten on such short notice? I tried backpedaling but I could tell her mind just couldn't wrap around going home without a kitten. So, I made a swift right onto Vann Road on our way home from dance class. We headed down to the Warrick Humane Society.
I have had two special kitties - both of which came into my life by chance. I never went looking for a cat before so I wasn't sure what to look for. We went into the cat room and hung out with some of the adult cats. Some were sweet, some were standoffish. My personal favorite was an adult Himalayan that got really butthurt when I tried to pet him and was vocal about his disdain for me but then followed me around wanting more attention that he could scoff at. But, this particular attitude wouldn't do well with a youngster and two dogs.
One by one, we brought each kitten into the cat room for playtime and one by one, they ran off to investigate and explore - essentially, ignoring my child. As we were about to leave, she spotted an orange and white kitten in the very bottom kennel that was making a fuss. "I want to see that one." The WHS employee took the kitten from the kennel and handed wee Travis to her. Boy, did he turn on the charm! The scroungy little "ditch kitty" purred, and snuggled, and kissed, and loved on my little girl. The staff told me that he was a favorite and kids love the crusty-eyed imp but moms, well, not so much. I could see why. There are literally hundreds of thousands - maybe millions of cats in the world. He was a plain old little orange tabby kitty.
I told my daughter that we needed to check the other shelters just to make sure. After about four hours, trips to various shelters in the area, and what seemed like thousands of cats later, I asked my daughter what she thought. She immediately said, "I want the orange and white kitty!" So, as a dutiful mother, I called up WHS and asked them to hold the ditch kitty.
We've had Travis - now Peyton Meownning - for about a month and I can't imagine a more perfect fit for our home. He isn't afraid of anything - including our 115 lb Akita. He follows along when we take the dogs for a walk in the neighborhood. He snuggles and loves on my "Elmyra" daughter (yes, Tiny Toons Elmyra) with no struggle or scratching. He even sleeps with her at night. The icing on the cake was when P-Kitty was chosen to be her preschool show-and-tell subject. He sat quietly and purred for not only my daughter's class of three and four-year-olds but allowed every single child at the school to get some lovins in - and then napped for an hour on my lap while we waited for her to get out of school.
Only a month older, we've watched P-Kitty grow and mature. I had forgotten how wonderful it was to have a kitten in the house. He takes such great delight in little things like toys and snack time! It so funny to watch his eyes get really big and bright when you wiggle your finger under a blanket or see him sneak behind the door with the aim of jumping out and attacking your foot as you walk by. He relishes in his accomplishment when I act like he really scares me. And, there's really no better way to wake up then a loud purring noise and sweet kisses - even at 4 a.m.
There's something magical about the seasons of kittenhood and childhood and I feel blessed that I'm not only allowed to watch them happen simultaneously but have a hand in two hearts intertwining. I, too, had an orange and white ditch kitty when I was a little girl and Pete stuck it out for 22 years. Somehow, I had forgotten about the tremendous heart inside the plain old orange tabby from my childhood. He loved me fiercely and I can only hope for such bond between P-Kitty and my little girl. When I look at him now, I don't see an orange and white tabby - I see the most freakin' adorable little cuddle ball in the whole wide world! And to all the moms who missed out on P-Kitty, sorry 'bout ya! You should have listened to your kids!