Being stuck or I mean safe at home for over six months’ time is unleashing a new kind of boredom for our family. Luckily a great way to alieve boredom is to adopt a new family pet! And then spend all your time and money taking the newly adopted pet to the emergency vet! Our family has found the time is right this late October to bring a few new (Unfortunately sickly) kittens into our household. Unfortunately for us, our favorite senior citizen cat passed away over a month ago now. As soon as we came back from our October leaf-peeping vacation we felt the time was right to look to adopt us some kittens!
October; The search to adopt a kitten begins
Trying to adopt a kitten during a pandemic is an adventure in itself. After the last two weeks of jumping through so many hoops attempting to adopt a kitten, I was starting to feel like adopting a baby might be easier than adopting a kitten. I literally spent so many hours on PetFinder and PetHarbour researching kittens, to begin with. It’s amazing how so many rescues put up so little information about each pet. I would say eighty percent of the kittens I looked at did not even have an age available. This was frustrating as we wanted to find two eight week old female kittens in a perfect world. My boyfriend’s daughter has never had the joy of being around baby kittens and this is something I feel every crazy cat lady to be needs to experience.
By Wednesday I was pretty frustrated because I probably contacted fifteen different rescue organizations as far as one hundred miles away from our home. I would say maybe three of those organizations responded to my emails. I literally inquired about maybe sixty different kittens and heard almost nothing back in response. I also filled out applications for adoptions for twenty different cat rescues or shelters and I would say three of these organizations even emailed me to schedule an interview or approve me to adopt a kitten. No one actually denied our application. I just feel like all those applications and so many emails were ignored. I find it so frustrating because I think of all those homeless kittens at shelters and I’m trying so hard to adopt a little fluff ball or two! By Friday of this last week, I had already decided to expand my search to beyond Los Angeles and drive almost one hundred and thirty miles to try and find a kitten. On Friday, luckily for me, the perfect two purring fluff balls fell into my lap in my home town.
It takes a village; To adopt a kitten
Now my boyfriend likes to say I was raised in a village as sometimes he thinks I act like a villager. That is usually when I do things like wade all the way into an alpine lake to retrieve the ball my absolutely not a retriever dog is ignoring. Or I might dress up the dog like our forty-fifth president. And I may very well be a crazy cat lady.
I do actually hail from a small mountain town of a thousand people, nestled among the Jeffrey and Coulter pines of the San Bernardino National Forest. My boyfriend, on the other hand, grew up actually trekking through the jungles of southern India with the elephants. He knows what real villages look like. These are tiny outcroppings of twenty-five souls, some of who have never seen a Tesla or an iPhone. They might not even know who Donald Trump is (Lucky them) He feels quite capable of labeling anyone he feels as “a villager”. And it’s usually me. I might come from a place where we have flush toilets and not just a hole in the ground and we have more bear scat in our national forest than elephant dung but I really personally would not consider Running Springs a village. Saying that my best friend in high school was raised by a band of hippies and instead of siblings, her mom kept peacocks for her to grow up with. Her mom also had a penchant for driving with a mannequin dressed up like she was on her way to a formal ball riding shotgun in her 67 Chevy impala. By my Sophomore year of high school, I was used to all of this by the way. It was just part of mountain life.
Saying all of that you could live in the mountain communities your entire life and just never get used to the way things are here. This is probably why my dad, wearing a pair of overalls leftover from the eighties, walking his Siamese cat through town on a leash is something you could very well see on an average Tuesday in Running Springs. If he is drinking an expired grape energy drink from 1999 (Because he still has a case of them in the garage) or is wearing a homemade rattlesnake belt that he skinned himself, don’t be surprised.
Let’s bring a kowka into our dacha
By Friday morning I had multiple appointments in Los Angeles to look at a few kittens, finally. But because I live so far from these kittens they were all adopted the evening before. Before you could say kitten chow, I was back to square one. We now have a cat rescue, The Catty Shack, in Running Springs, my home town, and after communicating with them, kind of, for the last week, there was a rumor they would have two grey foster kittens for me to possibly adopt at two on Friday afternoon.
I showed up at two p.m. cat carrier in hand, feeling pretty discouraged. Until I looked in the front glass windows of the cat rescue and there were tons of kittens wandering around begging for me to adopt them. There was however not an employee to be seen. I emailed my contact at the organization and did not hear anything back for almost an hour. Then her husband showed up looking for her and I managed to convince him to give me her phone number so I could text her. No answer. Now at this point, we were both waiting for her. Maybe thirty minutes of shooting the shit with him later a girl wandered across the street. In such a small world it turned out to be a long-lost friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in ten years! She also worked part-time at the Catty Shack so she actually unlocked the front door for me so I could at least check out the kittens while I waited for the owner of the facility to possibly show up eventually. Maybe.
This was actually the best part of my day because I basically played with kittens for two hours and this gave me a fantastic idea of what kittens would be right for our family to adopt. The owner of the Catty Shack (We do now refer to it as the Shitty Shack, especially after almost one thousand dollars in vet bills later and also both kittens have ringworm) never actually showed up. After being nice and polite for three hours straight I threw forty dollars worth of adoption fees at the one volunteer who was lazing around and left with my mongrel kittens.
At the shelter, as I was leaving they told me the shorthaired grey cat was a “Russian Blue” Which is a little ridiculous for anyone who knows anything about cats because at this point domestic cats are all mutts. None of them are purebred Persians or Maine Coons. But I decided to roll with that breed assumption as the tiny grey kitten then yelled at me in Russian the entire forty-five-minute drive back to Big Bear Lake and her new home. Obviously, she needed a Russian name. She was soon Sasha and even though the other tiny kitten was proclaimed a “Norwegian Forest Cat” we decided she also was a Russian- Norwegian Forest Cat” and her name would be Lana. I mean of course unless they are both boys, in which case Sasha will obviously be named Putin and Lana becomes Boris.
Is your new pet an Ivanka or a Melania?
If you also manage to adopt a new pet during this pandemic, it’s always a question of what to name a new pet. If you live in one of those American households with a Trump flag in your front yard why not go with a Trump-themed kitten? (I’m sure some more liberal friends and family of mine can come up with some very good reasons why not to do this) but in our household, we thought that MAGA might be a great name for a boy kitten. If we had adopted an orange kitten obviously we would have named him Donald. If we had adopted a Slovenian Forest Cat we obviously would have named her Melania. Flotus was also in the running. Or possibly Bigly Gina.
In the year 2020 with all the memes and political BS on the internet, political dog names is apparently a thing but why there is there not a guideline on political kitten names? Until now! I vetoed the following names; Nancy, Hillary, Clinton, Biden and for God’s sake Gavin. Even if our kitten had very shiny fur I wouldn’t name him after California’s Governor Hair Gel.