Friday evening. I have already explained here the tragic arrival of kittens in my home and how, just a week before my holidays began, I was designated as an orphan shelter.
At first, I had them confined to the entrance, where I thought I could contain them by a large white panel. My neighbors and I didn’t know what we would do with the kittens. I agreed to take care of them because my friends already had three cats who took a negative view of these intruders who threatened them by the mere beauty of their childhood. After all, a kitten is like any baby once the birth colors have been removed, it is the most adorable thing in the world and unfaithful adults like us may turn away too quickly from our first alliances.
Food, formula, please (actually, it’s lactose-free milk with a little syrup and cream), litter. Not practical in the lobby, but hey, there was an emergency. As the night passes, the traumatized cats don’t make too much noise, meowing from time to time, scratching litter (already clean, though, it seems). The next day, they are no longer in the lobby. I don’t know by what acrobatics, they managed to get out of the golden prison I had concocted for them. For thirty minutes, I looked for them. There are too many places in my apartment to hide. Half the apartment is not finished, many easy corners for the kittens. I find one under the bed, another under the couch and the other, miserable, behind the washer. It will take a broom on one side, Yves, my friend on the ground floor, on the other side to catch it. Every time, the cats protest, terrifying issshhhhh who do not terrorize anyone since their mouth is so small with their milk teeth that any sudden shock could dislodge them.
We put them back in their pens, and they will take refuge behind the big construction roller that I had partially unrolled as a protective mat. They will stay there almost the whole day. I sometimes hear them taking a walk in the litter box, but if I get close, they leave immediately.
We think it’s going to pass. The goal is to socialize them quietly. This will make adoption easier.
By chance, a neighbor works as a volunteer for the Animal Rescue Network. We take videos, photos, weight measurement and fill out the form on their website.
I now understand that I will have the kittens for longer. My vacation comes in a week and I plan to continue my renovations, including dyeing the baseboards. With kittens in your paws and walking around flush with daisies, you forget about it!
Sunday. I give up confining kittens because their fighting spirit and stubbornness overcome my modest walls. They don’t go very far, they’re still too afraid. I still can’t get close to them and have to spy on them, try to attract them with all kinds of noises that, in my opinion, are close to what a mother cat emits. But without much success. The first few nights of sleep are difficult. As soon as one kitten has lost sight of the other two, he starts meowing. I get up, look for him, but obviously, he runs away under the couch. Already tired from an intense work week, I fall asleep at around 3am.
On Monday, the three of them are on the window ledge of my bedroom. I will later understand that they help themselves to the bars of the stool where the only plant I have sits, then climb on the convection heater to reach the window. That morning, I get up, approach a chair. They’re getting out of here. In this way, I resolve to be prepared for eventualities. They want to go to the window? So be it! A chair is placed there. They find themselves trapped in my dirty laundry basket that doesn’t close very well anymore? Let’s overthrow him. They’ll sleep in my dirty socks and underwear.
Thus, in a few days, the disorder is organized around the kittens. The following days were similar. I leave for the office, come back in the evening to see the damage and progress. If they are still afraid, the kittens no longer hesitate to jump on the bed when I am there. At the slightest movement, they run away like frightened flies but come back immediately. I’m starting to take pictures of them, trying to attract potential owners to Facebook.
Tuesday. As I go to bed, I smell a bad smell and humidity. Fuck! Fuck! One of the kittens urinated near the pillow. “My Tabarnak!” is so strong that the cats come out of the room and go to take refuge I don’t know where. It was that same day, I think, that I spent thirty minutes with the help of my friends looking for cats when I got back. They were really gone! But where? My apartment is certainly a mess, but not that much! Finally, they are spotted in the most unpredictable place. My IKEA kitchen is well done, but there is one place that has not been blocked for ten years. A small 4cm opening to reach the underside of the cabinets. Fortunately, the baseboards are removable. The female always throws us her issssshhhh, which only she thinks is threatening. But where are his brothers? Equipped with a flashlight, we end up spotting a pair of hidden eyes… behind the dishwasher, a place that is obviously only accessible by them. Well, when they get hungry, they’ll come out.
Which they will do an hour later. I leave the underside of the counter as it is, without its baseboards. The disorder continues… the smell of the litter box intensifies. What it evacuates, kittens! It eats, urinates and defecates. And it’s adorable.
But then, I change my sheets and the next day, the kittens are on the window sill, looking at me innocently, curious and fearful. Before leaving for the office, I establish my strategy for protecting my bed. I make the sheets, place a large plastic canvas and put over the screen that is useless in my room.
It will be my ritual for the next few days. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the days are over. Cats get bold, show their personality. The female remains distant, reserved, but very curious. One of the males is crunchy with his purring. As soon as he is touched, he starts his big V4 engine.
It is towards the end of the week that I understand that they start adopting me even though I didn’t ask for anything. The purrer comes to sleep on the pillow (you’re better not to urinate on it, you…), the female stays at my feet, sometimes plays with my toes. The polydactyl with white legs jumps on both sides.
I continue videos and photos on Instagram and Facebook. People laugh at me. “They got you! They got you! You’re gonna have to keep them! ”, “Stop torturing us with your pictures, they’re so cute! ».
It’s true they’re cute. The weekend is coming. I am officially on holiday and the weight of the long hours is being felt. I don’t want to, can’t do anything. I sleep a lot. I stay in my bed and that’s how the kittens surround me, sleep with me or on the edge of the window. I observe them, get attached.
We finally receive news from the shelter. It will be next Tuesday. I will have to take them to a veterinary hospital for the mandatory vaccination. A volunteer will come after his work to pick up the kittens at this place.
These last few days are particularly pleasant with kittens. They don’t really run away when I arrive, watch me go to the toilet (I don’t have a door in my bathroom yet…), play willingly with me, let themselves be flattered (except the female, not yet fully tamed. It is the most combative and aggressive, but no more. Even with her, I get my way, even if she doesn’t really purr).
Tuesday is coming. I still sleep a lot, until 9am and stay in bed all the time. The bed is made, shopping too, but I’m vegetating. We brought back the neighbors’ cage. I’ve been watching the kittens with a little ball in my stomach for two days. And it’s not a furball….
Could the separation be painful? Moving? I don’t want cats. A kitten grows up to be a tiger, a hunter or a big, irritable or independent mop. I don’t hate cats. I had dogs for almost twenty years. I’ve given just enough on them, and it’s still so expensive to have those. I have just come out of a very bad financial period that was entirely my fault and I am still paying for it for the next four years. I am missing a tooth (I am very beautiful to see when I smile) and I will have to pay for its replacement. No, really, no heaviness, no extra responsibilities, please. All the animals that have come into my life have been brought into my life by circumstances I didn’t want. I accepted these animals and took care of them. But now I’m saying no.
Three o’clock is the time to take the cats to the hospital. Fortunately, they sleep on the edge of the window. It pulls my heart a little bit. They are docile. I close my thoughts, sit on the train, the cage by my side.
Kittens are both curious and fearful. Contrary to what my neighbor Laurent told me, no one comes to drag me because I have kittens in a cage. That doesn’t matter. No one of interest in the horizons either. And that’s when I think about giving the cat a name, a little bit to keep a significant chain of memories in me. It is after all by naming our stories that we succeed in giving meaning to our lives.
I have two polydactyl kittens and a purring one. I am thinking of Mozart’s Magic Flute. I smile.
The two polydactyls, a male and a female, will be called Papageno and Papagena. The names are too long, but they’re for me. The purring composer, he will be Mozart.
I was expected at the hospital. The shelter had warned them. You have to open files and therefore name the kittens.
- It will certainly not be the name their future owners will give them…
- It doesn’t matter, replied the clerk, we need names.
So I pass on the names to him, taking great care to identify each one. The boy does not know The Magic Flute. Mozart, however, knows the film. Poverty…
I was taken to an examination room. A veterinary assistant swoons in front of the kittens, weighs them down. Here, they’ve taken 350 grams since they arrived at my house. It could have defecated so often… As much with this lady as with the veterinarian who takes over, I tell the tragic story of the owner of the mother of the kittens. The veterinarian vaccinates them, inspects them. They are in perfect health, have no ticks, are docile, submissive should I say. As soon as the vet releases them, they come back to me, their one-week-old dad.
Then it’s time for farewells that are done without a blow. The veterinarian takes the cage in which I had brought them and disappears in the back. He gently transfers them to another cage, asks his help to give them water and food. Everyone passes in front of the cage and becomes gagaizing.
The vet comes back, gives me the cage back. We talk a little bit, I ask the prices for sterilization because my neighbors have the project to bring fat Arthur, one of the kittens’ fathers, to be cut off from their desires. Arthur spent the winter in a heated cat cage near my neighbors’ door, who fed him that way throughout the cold season. In the spring, Arthur is always there, letting himself be flattered, watching over his territory, not allowed to enter. There are still three cats in there. He has already entered two or three times by urinating on the walls to leave his mark. A cat still stinks…
The veterinarian explained to me that yesterday morning, at the hospital door, there was a box with four kittens in it. People don’t have brains. They marvel and console themselves with their cats, let them mate because kittens are so cute. Then, we complain that there is feline overpopulation everywhere in the big cities. Most will end up euthanized.
Papageno, Papagena, and Mozart, I hope, will not suffer the same fate.
- With the face they have, they won’t be alone for long, the veterinarian reassures me.
I would like to be convinced of that.
Please have your animals castrated. You have a beautiful part of existence with them. They follow their instincts, but in real life, they probably wouldn’t be there. Your luxurious pleasure comes with responsibility.
Thank you to the RSA for its wor
k, as well as to all the shelters of this kind.
If we have to take life as it comes while reflecting on what it will happen and what it brings to me, on what it has given me, on who I have been since the beginning of my time, if we have to constantly think about this and at the same time give time time time to be time, I wanted to tell the story of these kittens, what they have been for me and what they will no longer be, what they will be too.
Goodbye, my little transient loves.