Michael and Kamryn have been begging us to get them a kitten for the better part of a year now. Heather, who would adopt every animal on the Ark if given the opportunity, is all for it. Myself, I’m a bit more practical, because I’m smart enough to know that most kittens ultimately turn into cats.
It’s not that I have a problem with cats, we have two of them around here somewhere. I’m just not sure I want a third. There has to be some cat quantity line that, once crossed, elevates a family from “cat owners” to “those crazy cat people down the street” and we may already be edging against wherever that imaginary line is drawn.
Cats are a unique beast because they come with a wide range of personalities and genealogical baggage. While you pretty much know what you’re going to get with a puppy, cat selection is nothing more than Pet Roulette. Either you’re gonna get lucky and have a cat that treats you with love, purrs, and cuddles, or you’re gonna have 14 years of disdain from a cat who hides under the bed hissing and batting at passing shins.
All kittens are cute and awkward and uncoordinated in their formative months. They have their giant bat-like ears, their bright wide eyes, and their little feline seizures every time they spot a trailing piece of twine. So if they all share these same “gotcha” traits, how do you know which one is right for you?
Truth is, you don’t. And the thought that you can look into a box of kittens and choose one that matches your personality is a complete fallacy. Unless you also happen to be a furry hyperactive lunatic.
Regardless of who the lucky little feline is, once you welcome it into your home, it’ll be all over you. It’ll purr, it’ll needle you with its pin-like kitty talons, it’ll tirelessly play with dangled string, it’ll sleep on your chest, and it’ll repeatedly mew its love for you.
But then it grows. And at some point in this transition from kitten to cat, they develop a personality. Quite often, it’s one of ownership. Not so much of your home or furniture, but rather of you.
After years of watching you feed it, groom it, and clean up both turd nuggets and hacked-up hairballs, they begin to see you as a servant to their needs. In Ancient Egypt, cats were worshiped and treated like royalty, and it’s a tradition that today’s felines like to carry forward to honor the forecats who sacrificed their 9 Lives so others could live a carefree life of pampering.
I like cats, I just don’t want another one. Yesterday while we were out to lunch, Heather offered Michael and Kamryn a deal. If they can go two weeks without fighting, they can get a kitten. She looked across the table expecting me to loudly debate the absurdity of such a reward, but I totally embraced it.
Why? Because I know this means we’ll never have another kitten.
I sat there calmly, and said, “Oh, I agree. Totally. You know why? Because this will be over before we make it to the car. In fact, if you go the two weeks, I’ll not only get you a kitten, but I’ll also hand each of you $1 million in cash. You’ll be allowed to eat ice cream and candy for every meal for the next five years. I’ll also buy you each a unicorn that will float on magical rainbows and take you anywhere you want to go.”
Kamryn was especially excited by the unicorn offer.
Let me assure you, if there was ever a safe bet, this is it. There are only three certainties in life. Death, taxes, and sibling rivalry.
Once back in the car, which the children impressively reached while holding hands and pledging their new found respect for one another, we explained that if they fight, the timer gets reset and they’ll have to start all over again.
So far, and we’re now on Day Two, they’ve been wonderful. They’ve been working out problems before they escalated, they’ve been sharing, and their patience with each other is off the charts.
But I’m not worried. For even if they make it to Day Thirteen, I have a plan.
There they will sit, one night away from a kitten search, and all I’ll have to do is drop a chocolate muffin between the two of them. If that doesn’t work, I’ll place the remote just out of their reach and speak to no one in particular when I say, “I want YOU to pick something to watch.” Plan C? “Who gets the last piece of cheesecake?”
Even if my first line of defense fails, I have everything from a Plan D to a Plan ZZZ. Granted, they still have 12 days to go, but I plan on ratcheting up the heat as Kitty Day draws closer.
Understand that it’s not because I want to encourage a brawl between my children. I simply want to encourage 14 years of less cat.