Born in a dumpster. Behind Macy’s. At the mall. A tiny tortie. And her tuxie brother and sister. Before my cat rescue friend trapped the little family, she texted a photo of the tortie to me. Yes, I was interested. I’d never adopted a tortoiseshell cat before, but this one’s stunning owlish markings were too unusual to resist.
I named her Honeysuckle.
It didn’t take long to discover she was riddled with intestinal parasites. Two different kinds. Three trips to the vet. Three rounds of meds. Three prescriptions. Six weeks in quarantine in a dog crate in my kitchen. After she healed, I set her free. This fireball of kitten energy. Roaming my house, chasing my other cats.
That was June.
In August, my cat rescue friend texted to tell me she planned to spend two weeks hiking through national parks. While she was away, would I babysit the little white feral kitten she’d recently trapped?
Nukie arrived a few days later to occupy the dog crate in my kitchen. My fireball tortie couldn’t resist. It was love at first sight. Together, they created endless ways to play. Slapping at each other’s paws through the bars of the crate. Sprawling across the top of the crate. One inside, one outside. Nukie swinging like a monkey from the highest bars. They were smitten. These two firecracker kittens.
And then it happened. Honeysuckle went into heat. Early. Oh. No.
Now there were two quarantined kittens in two separate dog crates, side by side in my kitchen, playing with each other through two sets of bars.
Ain’t love grand?
Two weeks later, my cat rescue friend returned, and Nukie went home. Honeysuckle’s heat cycle passed. I rushed her to the vet to be spayed, and all was well again.
Except, except, when my cat rescue friend texted me, wondering what had happened to Nukie? He wasn’t the same. She’d given me a quiet little boy kitten to care for. Two weeks later she returned to find he’d been transformed into a wildman. A firecracker. A fireball of crazy kitten energy. What had happened to him?
Love. That’s what happened. Love and all its troublesome side effects.
Men. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Without them. Can we live without them? Can we, can we? We should at least try.
Laura Stamps is the author of several poetry and fiction books: THE YEAR OF THE CAT, IN THE GARDEN, CAT DAZE, TUNING OUT, and more. Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Mom of 5 cats. Twitter: @LauraStamps16. Website: www.laurastampspoetry.blogspot.com