Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Story of our Cats

This is Jonah's favorite bedtime story, so I am writing it down:

The Story of How we Got our Cats
It was a beautiful, sunny day in mid-October when our family decided to take a walk down by the river near our house. The river is actually a small creek called Coal Creek, but we call it the river because that's what it seems like to us. 
When the rains are heavy or when the snow is melting fast, it turns into a rushing, raging river of white water. When things are calmer, it's a babbling brook of fresh, clear creek water. You can swim in it in the summer, and walk on the frozen ice in the winter. Our kids love to play and explore down there, throwing rocks, collecting "dinosaur eggs", and splashing in the water.
On this particular day we were doing just that when we stumbled upon two kittens mewing in the bushes. We had hiked up the side of the embankment leading to the bike path above, when we spotted them. They were tiny, helpless, and stranded. Their little, desperate sounding mews pulled at my heart-strings. At first we all just stood there and stared at them. 
"Oh poor kitties! Where is their mommy?" we asked.
"They need warm milk and a place to sleep! They will freeze and die out here."
Right then an elderly man walked by and piped in,"Or the coyotes will eat em!"
"Okay, that's it," I decided. "We need to take these kittens home!"

I crept quietly into the bushes to grab them. They were frightened of me and started to run. I was able to nab the smaller, tan one first, before he crawled his way deeper into the bushes.
My husband went after the darker, orange one. It leaped terrified off of a ten foot cliff and landed in the shrubs below. It took my husband four attempts to get him, and four bites in the hand later, before he finally was able to grab the scruff around his neck. We carried them home hissing and spitting and meowing hysterically. They were wild kittens who may have never been handled by humans before.

We came home and put them into a box with some food and water. I wasn't sure how old they were, so I wasn't really sure if  they needed milk or not. I immediately got online and tried to find them a home. I told the kids that night, that if nobody wanted them in two days time, we would take them to the animal shelter.
"Why can't we keep them, mom?" came three pleading voices. They were already taking them out of the box, cuddling them, and petting their soft fur. 
"Because we just got puppies, and this is more than we can do right now, of course!"
The next day I didn't get any responses for a home for them. That night after Zadok and Odin went to bed, Jonah  and I were up with the kittens. Jonah was holding one of them, nuzzling it's furry coat and telling it,"I love you, Kitty." He had even named them Park and Road. "Park is the tan one, and Road is the orange one, he told me proudly.
Well, I told him, this is the last night we get to play with Park and Road because tomorrow we give them away to the animal shelter.
Suddenly I looked over to see the saddest, most disappointing face. With tears in his eyes he said,"We can't give them away. I love them!"
I knew right then that these kittens weren't going anywhere.
That night in bed I told my husband that maybe we were meant to find these kittens. Perhaps they were put in our path for a reason? Perhaps they are supposed to be ours? 
I didn't know anything about feeding kittens, or potty training kittens, or even how to handle kittens, but I knew that my boys loved these kittens more than anything, so I was willing to learn.

Over the past few months these kittens have grown, and thrived, and become healthy and strong. They have also provided our kids with hours of snuggling, cuddling, love, and entertainment. I honestly never knew that cats could be so lovable, yet these two cats are the epitome of the perfect lovable, furry pets. 
When we kept them down in the basement in our last house, they would start purring the second we opened the door. They would come bounding up to us, ready to be held and loved.
And until recently we had them locked up in our laundry room at night because they'd crawl on our heads and purr so loudly, waking us all up. They are getting better at that, so we let them roam the house at night now. 

We changed their names to Pumpkin and Cotton Candy, because there was a disagreement over the original names. (Basically Zadok refused to call them Park and Road because they weren't cute enough names.) Overall, they were remarkably easy to potty train, they don't require a lot of food, and are naturally good at cleaning themselves. 
They even helped me out when I was night weaning Jonah. When he'd wake up in the night and cry out for milkies, instead I would get up and hand him a purring kitty. He'd forget all about nursing and fall asleep cuddling a kitten instead.

Right now the cats are at the age where they are very playful and fun! They love chasing strings, attacking feet, and pawing at just about anything left on the floor, like Lego pieces. 
My automatic response when one of my children says,"Mom, I'm bored", is "Go find a kitty!" It almost always solves the problem.
Zadok's favorite thing to do with the cats is cuddle with them on the big bed. Odin can be found building luxurious, mansion-sized forts for them. Jonah's thing is lying on top of them and smooshing them into a dog-pile puddle of love.
I also like that my kids are learning how to be gentle, and how to handle animals correctly. They are getting better at not squeezing too hard, not putting them in weird places, or not stretching their arms and feet to awkward angles. I think that cats were made with flexible limbs and bodies just for kids like mine. (It's been a learning process, especially for Odin). 

I am so grateful for these 2 kitties for being so wonderful to my three boys, for teaching them about gentleness and love for animals, and for bringing more joy and happiness to our home.
We love our kitties, and know they were meant to be ours. 
A little blessing from above for our family to love!

The End

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