if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense

“Mama, mama, mama!” I’ve run a bath for my son in the middle of the day; he and our kitty Mabel just spent a solid hour in our greenhouse exploring and eating tomatoes. They are both filthy upon their return. Now he’s calling for me, his voice audible over the sound of rushing water.

“I need a knife,” he tells me when I come in. He’s crouched in the tub, naked, his hair blonde and skin golden as the sun, with two of the dirtiest heels I’ve ever seen.
He needs a knife – in the bath, while naked – because the bar of soap is cemented to the bottom of the clawfoot tub. I decline the request for cutlery and peel it loose, hand it to him.
“Did you see me pee in the greenhouse?” he asks presently. This is funny. Because he knows on some level I’d tell him not to urinate, you know, right on the food we eat. He can’t figure out a way to ask me if I spied this naughtiness (I did not) without coming out and outing himself.
“Oh,” I say, declining to answer the question (this child, I’d hope to keep him in the illusion Mama is all-knowing, all-seeing).”Do you think you should have done that?” I ask him.
“Well, I put Mabel outside when I did it,” he defends.
So… pissing in the greenhouse, totally fine – as long as you don’t subject the 14-week old kitten to the sight of it.
Meet Mabel

mabel.

Today we adopted a new kitty. She has been a little shy. And sleepy. Here she is conked out on my 50 lb. bag of flour:

Meet Mabel
(image taken by Ralph’s computer camera and adjusted slightly for “kitten glow” effect)

This morning, before we found her, I joked that in acquiring a third Hoga-cat we were crossing into “animal hoarding”. My joke was made a bit stale later that day; it was clear from the moment we set foot in the kitten’s house of origin that this woman was in fact a hoarder. There were at least twenty cats on the premises and she had two litters we could choose from. The trailer was very stuffy and reeked of cat and cat urine, and many of the animals did not look too healthy. Touching, and sad, just before we left this woman (who seemed very shy, giving only two-word replies in a sort of downturned mumbling speech) opened up her body language and darted forward to give us her name and number should the cat “not work out”. “I’d rather have these kittens back then just, you know, dropping them off to just any house,” she told me. I assured her we had two cats already we took very good care of, and that we adopted kitties for life.

I thought of the cat-shopping advice I’d read – to pick a cat that was disease-free, clean, had her shots, bright-eyed. While we ultimately chose a little ginger tuft of fur who looked lively and seemed affectionate enough compared to some other kitties around the place, she also had a cold (eye discharge), ear mites, and seemed small for fourteen weeks of age (however, roaming older sibling litters indicated the family of cats might run small). Tonight I realized as Ralph and I gave her a bath – and he carefully pulled each and every flea off her body with tweezers – that if any family was going to be able to nurse a wretched little scrap back to full vim and vigor, it was us.

Sophie was an amazing little girl during this. She held the cat on the car ride home (I thought to bring a towel, worrying that using one of our cat carriers might have an upsetting odor to our little “orphan”), completely calmed the creature, and when we arrived home both helped her in orienting to the litter box and food dish, as well as spent a couple hours walking the cat in a sling against her chest (Ralph later reported he saw Sophie out in the yard cupping the kitten in the sling with one hand, then plucking a strawberry, putting it on the ground, and smashing the berry with a rock – all the while talking quite seriously to the cat about the nuances of this particular branch of science).

Most of the day I go about not thinking of the amount of neglect, suffering, and the lack of stewardship of the planet employed by the human race. This little tiny creature wrecks me. Her life is nothing, and yet it is all she has. I cannot personally adopt too many kitties, and of course adopting a domesticated animal (and sterlizing her, and caring for her all her life) is probably pretty damned insignificant on the list of ways to make the world a better place. But today we brought home a living breathing little spark, who has been bathed, eye drops administered, fed properly, and given lots and lots of love, and whose path will continue on with us for a while.

Welcome home, Mabel.