When I was seven I had a cat named Kitty. Real original, I know. She was always kind of a sickly cat and she took to peeing on our stair landing. Strangely, other cats we owned after Kitty followed in her footsteps. My mom was ready to kill those cats. Anyway, one day when my family and I came home from our painfully long three hour church service, I saw Kitty come out of a closet under the stairs looking a whole lot skinnier than she usually did. Either she had coughed up a couple hundred hairballs or, which my mom suggested, she had been pregnant and had given birth. A normal family would have opened the closet door to discover the kittens, but my siblings didn’t believe in cleaning (except for you, Ann!) and this closet had stuff piled up about eight feet high. And this closet is big. When it is actually cleaned out you can walk around in it. So we started unloading all of the who knows what crap was in there (probably old shoes, deflated soccer and basketballs and camping gear). Finally, there they were in the very back of the closet. Five tiny little kittens all huddled up together. Kitty laid down next to them.
Those kittens were maddeningly cute and I was glued to them for the next six weeks. I started naming them. One was black with a white spot on his chin. I named him Smokey. One always seemed to be eating and was consequently fat—Puff Mama. She had grey fur that was longer than all of the other kittens’. One was white so naturally I had to name him Whitey Tighty. Then there was Feisty (probably named after myself) who was dark grey and liked to pick fights with the other kittens. And then the last one. Light grey, affectionate and sweet. I never did think of a name for that kitten that stuck. Seth suggested Sweetie, which disgusted me. And my younger brother Seth, who was addicted to toy weapons and sword fighting and sports and all things little boy-like had suggested the name Sweetie?! It blew my mind.
My mom warned me that after six weeks I would have to give the kittens away. I dreaded this more than I dreaded the dentist. We went to the Smith’s grocery store and I sat out in front of the store with all five kittens in a cardboard box. One by one they slowly disappeared. The kittens KNEW what was happening—they whimpered as the litter dwindled in size. And I whimpered right along with them. Then a biker dude came up--he was probably 9 feet tall and 500 lbs. A Goliath man, really. He had a bandana on over his bald head, and wore a black shirt with a black vest, black pants and black boots. He had to have been the leader of some Harley Davidson club. He took one of the kittens and said to his nasty little sidekick, “This will keep the Doberman company.” And then he laughed a sinister laugh. A Doberman?! Those spawn of Satan dogs that always have spiked collars and eight inch long canine teeth?! Evil thoughts raced through my head as he walked away with one of my kitties. I wanted to run him over with his own Harley. When all the kittens had new owners I was completely traumatized and swore I would get every cat I owned thenceforth spayed or neutered.