The four fuzzy demons enjoying a meal in crystal dishes. From left, Morris, Monkey, Markie and Monster.
To recap, my last two columns have been about the experiences enjoyed by myself and my husband John, as we took on the roles of foster parents to four tiny feral kittens he rescued from the recycling center.
First, we were foster parents to just two of them from the time they were three weeks old. When Monkey and Monster were about five or six weeks old, John was able to catch a third kitten, who we called Markie. Markie was named for Marky Ramone of the Ramones and also for Marky-Mark of New Kids on the Block fame (Thanks, Kegan!).
When I last wrote, Markie was still very shy around us, although she warmed up to John way before she ever let me touch her. Everybody likes John better, I’m used to it.
The three-kitten thing went on for another week or so, and then....VICTORY!
John was finally able to catch the last elusive wild kitten. Kitten number four was velvety gray like his sister Monkey, only when we got him he was more crusty than velvety.
Running out of “M” names, the last one we dubbed “Morris”. (Not terribly original but you try naming four wild animals all with the letter “M”, ya smartypants!)
Morris assimilated pretty quickly, it seemed like he knew these were his sisters. It still took a while to be able to catch him or pet him but he wasn’t nearly as reticent as Markie proved to be.
When the kittens were all eight weeks old, it was time to meet the veterinarian.
They needed shots, well-kitty checks, flea treatment and, at this time, we weren’t sure whether we had sisters or brothers or how many of each.
From the start, John was sure the grey kitty we call Monkey was a boy. In fact, when she and Monster first came home, their names were Moochie and Mary Lou. Mary Lou is obviously a girl’s name and evidently John considered Moochie to be a masculine name.
“I think that one is a boy,” John said. “Because look at his face. Totally a boy face. Yep, that one is a boy.” So scientific...
Anyway, I disagreed, I thought the kitty with the boy face seemed like a girl. Which she was. I win.
The first trip to the vet was emotionally draining. For me. The kittens were too busy trying to figure out what in the world was going on to be emotionally drained.
I chose Heal Pet Care in Bloomfield. My decision was based entirely on a series of photos taken by Kristen Inman during this year’s 4-H Cat Show. In them, the judge for the event is shown, picking up each cat with a look of utter love and devotion to animals on her face. Dr. Katy Harris, based on that totally candid facial expression, won my confidence.
Trying to get four squirmy kittens into a small cat carrier is like trying to re-fold a road map, only the map is alive and has claws and really doesn’t want to be folded, thank you.
Luckily, I got them right when they were waking up from a nap and hadn’t yet remembered they were demons from hell. I felt like a jerk but they had to go to the vet so I had no choice. The ride to Heal Pet Care in Bloomfield was grueling for both me (It’s okay guys, the doctor is really nice. She is going to give you medicine to get rid of those nasty fleas that make you itch. You’ll like her, I promise) and the kittens (Meow. meeoww! meeeeow. MEOW).
We got to the vet, and I coaxed the kitties out of their jail cell. They were understandably freaked out but were soon happily distracted by toys and exploring around the examination room.
I found out that we had three girls, Monster, Monkey and Markie and one boy, Morris.
See, John? I was right. Monkey doesn’t even look like a boy, anyway. I won...ha ha.
They all got weighed, got shots and flea meds. As I was at the front desk paying for the bill, I noticed something that proved to me I had chosen our new vet well. Not only was she obviously devoted to animals, on the shelf at the front desk is a jar candle. Posted on the candle is a notice saying if the candle is lit, that means someone there is saying a forever goodbye to a loved friend. In other words, a client is having to have a loved pet put to sleep. The note asks patrons to say an extra prayer for that anguished pet owner to give them strength.
I’m starting to cry as I write this. That simple gesture meant the world to me to see. A few years ago I had to have one of my very best friends put down due to a terminal medical condition. It wasn’t in Bloomfield, and I have to say that clinic offered me the coldest, most uncaring experience I have ever had with a vet. The doctor performed the euthanasia without much warning, not even asking if I wanted to cradle my sweet friend as he passed. I did want to. He just lifted his chin an and administered the shot and my buddy Powder was gone. In retrospect, I think that was heartless and this vet probably would be a happier person in another field of work.
The ride back home to Linton was a little easier and letting the furbabies out of the carrier was delightful.
Morris proved to be just as feisty and adorable as his sisters and soon the kittens were 10 weeks old.
We knew they would soon need homes and we agreed to adopt them out in pairs, with Monster and Monkey going together and Morris and Markie also as a pair.
But even the best-laid plans don’t always work out, do they?
I’ll explain that enigmatic sentence next time...............