I have had a post stuck in my head for over a week now. The heavier sentences clunking around in my brain like a belt in the spin cycle of a washing machine. During the day, the sounds fade into the background noise of a busy household, but at night, the consistent rhythm of them keep me awake as I stare at the clock panicking because I have to get up in just a few short hours. The reason I have to get up early is the same reason I haven’t just opened the doors of my mind to let the words wash out onto the page.
There are babies in the house. And as any new parent will tell you, babies keep you busy and baby brain is real.
When I first found out I was pregnant there was a time when I wondered if I was having twins. There were a few in the family and I fantasized about how wonderful it would be to have double the fun. I was disappointed when the ultrasound revealed that there was only one, but of course in hindsight, I had my hands full enough. I actually can’t imagine how parents of multiples manage to feed, clean and entertain their newborns, never mind make it to the age when they start running in opposite directions.
While I might never have given birth to a set of twins (or triplets for that matter), I can now call myself the proud (foster) mother of quadruplets. Two weeks ago the local animal shelter called to ask if we could help out with a family of 10 day old kittens whose mother was sick with mastitis. Of course we said yes.
Brand new kittens, with dark blue eyes and ears still folded so that they resemble miniature bear cubs more than felines, are undeniably cute. They purr like little motor boats every time I come into the room and their tiny Velcro claws help them climb any type of clothing until they settle under your hair at the back of your neck like a furry kitten collar.
True story: The last time we fostered orphans we had to make an emergency visit to my inlaw’s house so the kittens had to be all packed up and settled into the car to make the 2 hour trip. Less than 20 minutes into our adventure I decided to cave to their cries and let them out of their crate for just a few minutes of cuddling. As we drove down the highway, needle point kitten claws helped them to literally walk across the ceiling of the mini van like spiders, much to the delight of my children and the horror of my husband. At that time we had 8 fosters and I can tell you without a doubt, 8 kittens absolutely supports the theory that you can have too much of a good thing. Eight kittens is too many kittens. Trust me on this.
Four kittens are much easier to handle but I can assure you, it’s not all fun and games. Getting any new baby to adjust to a bottle can be tricky, but with kittens, even when you succeed there is the constant concern of how much to feed. Too much and your baby can get bloated and sick, too little and your newborn fails to thrive. As well, brand new kittens do not yet know how to use the litter tray and while I have spent a few sleep deprived nights exploring the money making capabilities of kitten diapers, I’m pretty sure that’s just the 3 a.m. feeding talking. Of course if anyone wants to take that idea and run with it, may I also suggest kitten high chairs. Trying to feed 4 hungry mouths at the same time is considerably more challenging when they appear to be battling to the death on your lap in an attempt to be next in line. This week I am slowly introducing wet food and while I’m pretty sure that no nutritional value can be absorbed through osmosis, I have yet to convince the kittens of this as they roll around in their food like mud wrestlers. Add all of this to the fact that the fosters are kept in the ensuite with a heating pack and closed windows (kittens are unable to regulate their body temperature for the first few weeks) and maybe you can begin to imagine my new look for the summer. Hot humid weather had already caused my tresses to grow in width even without the help of kitty accessories. As my husband sat beside me last night, picking kittens out of my hair like a gorilla grooming a fellow primate for ticks in the steamy depths of the rainforest, I broke into hysterical giggles as he grumbled that he was sick of smelling like fish and sh*ts. Welcome to the back stage, all access pass to the unglamourous side of animal rescue.
Now on the bright side, one of the privileges of caring for orphans is getting to name them, a task the children and I take very seriously. Every litter has had a theme and this time, inspired by their coats, we decided to research all the different ways to say gray in varying languages. Of course we started in Italy and named one Grigio. My daughter has a friend from Croatia so another is called Siva. A google search of Portuguese helped dub one Cinza and Indonesia helped christen the only male as Abu. The next few weeks should get a little easier as they transition from the bottle to solid food and perfect their litter training skills. Of course, this new stage brings with it new challenges as they begin to venture out into the bedroom to terrorize the dogs and climb the curtains all of which pales in comparison to the proposition of getting myself mentally prepared to let them go.
Until then I’ll be here on my bathroom floor working my tail off to give my four little fosters their very best shot at a happy and healthy life. Sometimes that means cuddling four precious purring puffballs. Other times that means sending my husband to the drug store to pick up Preparation H for sore little back sides. Lack of sleep might be responsible for him asking the clerk for hemorrhoid cream for his pussies, but I doubt it. Everyone is a comedian until you have to find a new pharmacy.
I’ll leave you with a few of my other fostering adventures to tide you over until I can find time to sit down at the computer uninterrupted and think of something clever and witty to talk about. With summer vacation on it’s way, and three children home as distraction, I don’t hold out hope that it will be any time soon. Until then Cractpots, don’t forget to please spay and neuter your pets and if you’re looking to add to your family, remember; adopt, don’t shop! Enjoy your summer…I know we will ❤
Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~Robertson Davies