Life with kittens

Life’s been a bit topsy turvy lately. I’m a person who likes order, so I don’t actively go seeking disruption, yet I can’t always keep my hand from raising itself to get involved in a matter or volunteer for something. It seems to act of its’ own accord, and then wouldn’t you know it, life gets a little disrupted.

It’s true that I’m involved in a political issue, so there’s certainly some disruption in my life, but I don’t feel it at home so much. Now I am fostering kittens for the first time, and I’m getting what I asked for. But kittens don’t sound like much trouble or disruption, do they? They just have cute wee faces and playful antics.

They are also thugs and destroyers.

My younger sister socialises and re-homes cats and kittens which have been living wild. If they’re too feral for that, she gets them de-sexed and they are re-released. Most of them, though, have potential for being socialised, and she has a very good re-homing rate for them. If you’re in my sister’s orbit, there’s a chance you’ll get kittens to foster. I avoided it for a while because I had my own cat, Patrick, until January this year, and was seen as not wanting to bother with the disruption of kitten thuggery. This is true. But then that pesky hand raised itself a wee while ago, and nek minite I was fostering a pigeon pair of gorgeous grey and white kittens, who are almost identical.

I’ve had them for three weeks so far, and they spend quite a bit of time scarpering when I get too close to them, and hiding behind things.

However, bit by bit there’s observable social progress.

Apparently, it’s pretty much a three-month process before they’re ready to be adopted. I’ll have them for around two-thirds of that time, before sis takes them away again to be de-sexed and spend the rest of the time with her.

Their routine is to play at night and sleep during the day in a hidey-hole of some sort. For a while, they found a way into the bottom drawer of my tallboy and secreted themselves away in that. Today, though, they’ve moved on and are under the kitchen bench. I didn’t know there was a gap there, until one of them discovered it during the first week of their stay. I ‘plugged’ it up with my oven gloves, but they’ve now unplugged it and won’t come out until their stomachs start growling later this afternoon.

My curtains have also been ‘frilled’ by the kittens’ attentions. They’re a loose weave, and clearly indicative of the fact that I never expected to get kittens. No one gets loose-weave curtains if they’re planning to get kittens, as loose weave is a true delight for kitten claws. Fortunately, the curtains were inexpensive, and I won’t replace them as I have a funny feeling that these won’t be the last kittens I’ll be fostering. Plus, I’m a weird combination of being a bit prissy about having order, and not caring too much if my curtains have been frilled by kittens.

Then one of them peed on my bed – twice. Or, maybe they each had a go at it. I was rather more aggravated about that than I was about the curtains. I’m picking that there were leftover smells from Patrick on the duvet which the kittens decided needed adding to. It’s true that he’d barfed up furballs on my duvet more than once, but I thought I’d cleaned them up satisfactorily. Perhaps not as well as I thought, though. I took my duvet to the dry-cleaner’s for a thorough clean – $49.50 for that trip – and thought that if leftover smells were the problem, that would fix it. Two days later, just before bedtime, I spotted another big wet patch on my duvet. This time, the swearing was a bit louder and more prolonged.

I balked at forking out another $49.50 for the dry-cleaner, so took the duvet to the local self-serve laundromat, as my washing machine is too small for a duvet. I hadn’t been to a laundromat for about twenty years, so the self-serve part was a learning experience. It took two visits to get the duvet into the washing machine, because on the first visit I didn’t realise I had to now bring my own laundry detergent – lol.

The second pee may possibly have been because the first pee went through to the spongy underlay I had on my bed without me realising it. Whilst my older sister (and my sister-in-law) has a nose that could have detected that pee from 50 metres away, I don’t have a very good sense of smell, so thought everything was hunky-dory with just the duvet having been dry-cleaned. Obviously not. The underlay was getting on in years, and I didn’t think it would survive the ministrations from a laundromat washing machine, so I set out to get a new one. All I could get, without shopping around because I hate shopping, was a fancy-pants one. I hesitated over paying that much due to the possibility of it getting another anointing with kitten pee, so the shop assistant showed me the waterproof mattress protectors. I bought both, and justified the expense by telling myself that it was all in a good cause, and I would probably benefit from the new fancy-pants spongy underlay. Younger sis also added that I probably wasn’t far away from needing a waterproof mattress protector anyway. Sisters!!

Then I had a good idea, and put the waterproof mattress protector – which is shaped like a fitted sheet – over the whole of my bed. It remains to be seen whether this is a clever idea, or if the kittens are cleverer.

Partly why I didn’t smack my hand down when it went up to volunteer for fostering was because my life was getting too ordered. It’s a seductive thing to slip into for a person who likes order, and easy when one works from home and lives solo. I knew I needed a bit of disruption, even though I also knew I mayn’t love all of it all the time.

I live on a busy road, so it’s not suitable for me to have a cat permanently. Having said that, a couple of people I know also live on busy roads and their cats are fine. Patrick was older by the time I moved in here and he didn’t go near the road, but there’s too much possibility of kittens or young cats, or even an older newly acquired one, becoming roadkill for my peace of mind.

I suspect that now I’m on my sister’s radar, my fostering days may just be beginning. The nephew, her son, is on his third or fourth lot of foster kittens, and if there were any other close relatives living here who looked suspiciously free to foster, I’d put money on it that their days of being foster-free might be numbered, too 🙂

Header pic by: The Lucky Neko – https://unsplash.com/@theluckyneko

10 thoughts on “Life with kittens

  1. Your life is over. You are doomed. So are your curtains, upholstery and sleep-filled nights. (You may have more luck with the pee – put them in the litter box after every feeding sometimes helps a bit.) But basically – abandon all hope. Your life is now in their control. Best get used to it.

    Best wishes, from a cat-lover.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kittens are cute little buggers, but I will only have a tried and true older cat in my home. You are right, kittens destroy virtually everything inside of a human home—upholstered furniture (who knew you had to teach a cat how to use a scratching post?), carpets, curtains, louvered blinds, houseplants. (I had one who decided a potted palm was a better toilet than the nice big litter box in the bathroom.) My younger daughter used to foster shelter kittens, and while talking to her on the phone I would hear her scream and swear.

    Me: Are you alright?

    Younger Daughter: Figs [or Mittens, or Emma, or whatever name she gave them] just peed on my bed/crapped on the bathroom rug/ripped a hole in the curtains!

    She still loves cats, by the way, but I think it will be a long time before she has a kitten in the house again. With a baby who’s just learning to crawl, I think she’ll have enough mischief on her plate for six kittens.

    I should add I admire you for taking in kittens who would otherwise be on the street exposed to predators, hunger, disease, and auto traffic. I’d do it, except my landlord frowns on more than one pet per apartment, and I don’t think my heart could take it anymore! (Emotionally as well as physically: I’m always a little sad when the babies take off to their permanent homes.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They certainly get one out of complacency in a hurry – lol! Animals are very grounding, as we have to be in the here and now with them, which is good for someone like me who tends to be in my head a lot. This is my first fostering gig, and I have been wondering how I’ll feel when they go, even though they still scarper from me at the moment. They play a lot, too, but still scarper and hide from me when I get too close. I guess I’ll give an update in due course 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Frances Sullivan

    I’m too fussy to have kittens or even cats again, although my last 2 were indoors and no problem at all… well… except for some shredded furniture. No matter, if it’s mostly enjoyable for you to foster the wee rascals, brava. They are awfully cute. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t going to have another cat, as I didn’t want the commitment or bother, plus I live on a busy road. However, I finally relented to fostering kittens just to help my sister out, and also to disrupt my life a little. Both things have worked as planned – lol! who’d think that kittens could disrupt your life, eh? But it just goes to show how easy it is to fall into the lure of an undisrupted life if we think kittens will disrupt it. I like order, so it was certainly easy for me, but I could feel myself not wanting to bother doing things that required effort outside of my comfort zone, so I knew some disruption was necessary to disrupt that 🙂 I’m guessing that having moved to the UK is enough ongoing disruption for you for the next wee while 🙂

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