A Tale of Two Kitties

As my mother always said, there’s three stories to every story: My side, your side, and the truth. There’s been a whole lot of she said/she said round the internets lately and I suppose it’s just one more example of my mom ocassionally knowing what she’s talking about.

So I have a story. But I want to tell it two ways. May I?



Last week, I came home from work, weary, tired, ready to…what? What’s this? Right in my front hallway?

Two kittens. Hello.

“The vet strong-armed me,” Nate insisted. “When I took the dog in for her shots, she told me I had to take them.”

“You had to take them,” I said folding my arms. Nate had been begging for a new kitten for months now, to replace the evil hissing feline spawn of satan who currently resides with us. I have declined. Desdemona may be the most evil cat ever to drag her bloated, furless belly across a carpet, but she’s my most evil cat. And I love her. Besides, one cat, two kittens, one needy, attention-deprived bulldog, one baby, and two adults in one Brooklyn apartment? That’d be a big uhhhhhh..no.

Nate made a grand gesture of picking both kittens up at once and cuddling them close to his face. “They need to be fostered for two weeks until they can legally be adopted,” he told me. He went on making faces as he talked in sad, sad tones about their missing mother and how young they are and need a mommy and how the baby loves them…the baby, Liz! The baby loooooves them!

I was not buying.

“Do NOT name them, Nate!” I said. “Two weeks and they are going back. That’s the end of it.”

I have been very clear. Like my old 78 of Grease that used to play Hopelessly devo… Hopelessly devo… Hopelessly devo… I have been unmistakable in my mantra: No. More. Animals.

And he went and did it anyway. With the hopes that once I see them I’ll like them, and once I like them I’ll keep them. It’s manipulative. It’s so very Nate. And it pisses me off.

“The vet strong-armed you?” I asked. “She forced you to take them?”


“She handed them to you, with the carrying case and the food and shoved you out the door?”

“Pretty much.”

“So bascially, if I go back there right now, hand the cats back to her, and yell at her for taking advantage of you, even after you told her that I would not allow them and that our building doesn’t permit four pets, I’m not going to hear a different story?”

“Well…okay, um, so here’s the thing….”

Well okay, um, nothing. The kittens are going back next week. They are eating everything in sight. They’re clawing my couch. They’re terrorizing the dog. They’re shedding on my clothes. They’re dragging poo remnants across the carpet in the baby’s room, not yet having learned how to properly rid their hind parts of the hangers-on. They’re keeping me up all night long as they roll and pounce on the wrestling mat otherwise known as my sleeping body.

And they’re really fucking cute.

The bastard.



Nate has always loved animals. A regular Doctor Doolittle, they love him right back, like nothing you’ve ever seen. He can walk into a pet store with a big DO NOT TOUCH THE PARROT, HE BITES sign right on the cage, and I swear that parrot will break out of his cage, fly right to Nate, land on his shoulder and start cooing.

Me? The parrot will bite. From Nate’s shoulder no less.

This is to say nothing of Nate’s relationship with dogs and cats. Rottweilers at the dog run lie down at Nate’s feet, subservient and humble. Lumbering old bulldgogs spring up on his legs for a pet. Little yappy nasty dogs on the street stop yapping just long enough to rub themselves against Nate’s ankles, before being yanked back down the sidewalk on rhinestone-studded chains by their equally yappy owners.

Even Desdemona, my own vile excuse for a cat, tolerates Nate. Which is to say she only hisses at him half the time. This is no insignificant matter; just ask any of our overnight guests who have woken us up in the middle of the night to beg that we might remove Desi from the bathroom doorway–that unnerved are they by the prospect of stepping over her fat, prone body.

Nate’s love of animals (and their reciprocal love for him) would be beautiful on its own, let alone coupled with the intense desire he has to save each and every one of them. He cannot hear of a puppy in need of an owner without personally calling every person he knows and begging them to take it. He is physically unable to walk past PetCo without donating the last 79 cents in his pocket towards the kitties up for adoption in the small teetery cages in the back.

And then coming back and asking me for another dollar.

I fear taking him to Italy, where cats roam the streets like New York City pigeons. I have an image in my head of a suspicious customs agent on our return to JFK opening his bag, only to find sixteen Calicos and a single Burmese Shorthair scampering away towards the baggage carousel.

Nate would simply shrug and smile. Then ask me for a check to pay the fine.

So when he came home last week with two six week-old motherless kittens, using every devious trick in his repetoire to compell me to agree to keep them–including coopting my camera and taking about a hundred ridiculously cute pictures of the baby petting them–it annoyed me to no end. But it also reminded me of one of the things I love most about Nate.

We’re not keeping the cats. But I am keeping Nate.

“Don’t you want to keep them now?”

“But look how happy they make her!”

“A motherless kittie in a stroller, Liz. A STROLLER! Have you no heart?”

73 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Kitties”

  1. They are cute, Liz. I mean really. If my husband wasn’t allergic to cats, I’d take one. *L*

  2. I’m glad that’s you and not me. I’ve got the rule going that if it eats and poops it can’t come to live with us. We have enough of that already with six people, a dog and a hamster.But oh, those pictures! I don’t know how you’re going to do it. Try this mantra. Think with your head not with your heart, think with your head…Aw shit! They are SO cute!

  3. Mmhmm, and sweet fluffy kitties soon grow into stinky moody cats who poop in a gritty box somewhere in your house. And they will smother you by laying on your head as you sleep. And they will sit on your window sill and silently plot your death while you’re at work.I’m more of a plant person myself. Good pets, just water weekly.

  4. Aw, man. He is playing dirty. Who can resist that much cute? But if they are torturing you and keeping you up and stressing you out than I think you would still be considered a good person even if you brought them back. 🙂Lisa/womenhavingitall

  5. Terribly sweet. And the thing about taking him to Italy. I just spit out my O’Douls (yes, it’s lunchtime – I don’t care – it’s not alcoholic – I can drink it whenever I want).

  6. She DOES look adorable with them. Really, really, really cute. And happy. And I love her tunic, by the way. She is precious with her hair grown out and those perfect puffy sleeves.

  7. So you ARE keeping them, Right?You must. They’ve bonded with your child.Last summer we adopted a kitten who had been weaned too early and didn’t get the hang of eating solid food and he soon became weak from starvation. Hubby and I stayed up nursing him on kitten formula from a miniature bottle round the clock. It was like having a newborn all over again. WE cared for him, WE paid his vet bills… and he likes us okay.But ‘know what? He is the kiddo’s bestest friend in the entire world. He thinks that she is the center of all that is love. She pulls on him, dresses him up, and he loves every minute of it. As soon as she goes to bed, Harry (that’s the kitty’s name) climbs into her bed and takes his spot on his pillow and sits sentry all night long. I don’t think he sleeps a wink the entire time because he is there, guarding his human, the one he loves the most in all the world.Marital power struggles aside, I truly believe that every child needs a pet of his/ her own. The cat and dog? They belong to the grownups. They were part of your family pre-baby. But the kittens will be hers, growing with her from infancy to parallel toddler play. They’ll be there, all furry and warm the first time she gets her heart broken, and she’ll cry into their fur and they won’t mind. When she’s mad at you guys, or when she farts by accident in class and everybody laughs at her, they’ll love her anyway. They’ll know her secrets and fears and they will love her in only the way a non-human companion will. And someday, when she’s all grown up, and they’re gone, she’ll see a cat that looks just like them and it will make her cry at the memory of that unconditional love.Nate- I’m trying my best here.GO KITTENS!

  8. AWWWWWWWW! *swoon*If I didn’t already have four animals, I’d grab one of your foster babies up! Alas. Too much shedding in this house as it is.p.s. People really drink O’Douls??

  9. Kids and pets are really darling together… Ooops, I mean, you’re absolutely right… the kitties must go!

  10. Don’t succumb. I’ve done the multiple cats using one litter box in an apartment thing. Its not pretty. People will stop visiting. Cute kittens grow up to be – well – Des.Trust your instincts. Let go, Luke and feel the force….

  11. Awww…he’s a man after my own heart. I can’t resist a furry face either. You read about how I got stuck with three cats, right? Pets are good. They teach children a lot about responsibility, nurturing and compassion. Leo is three months old now, and the kitten issues are mostly resolved. He is still rambunctious, and yes, he really bugged the shit out of my older cat, but it’s actually turned out to be good for him. Instead of being such a slug, he has reclaimed his kittenhood. He cavorts. I never thought I’d see the day. Sometimes, we just sit and watch the cats play instead of watching tv. They are so flippin funny. Anyway…sorry. I can’t be mad at Nate. I can’t validate your irritation. I’m with him. :?)

  12. I have this same issue with my partner. We have a hard and fast rule now that she may not (a) go to the vet unaccompanied, (b) go to the pet store…at all, or (c) look at any animal rescue literature sent in the mail.I’ve managed to escape with just one dog and one cat.

  13. I am also a cat-hater BUT I love animals and can relate to Nate’s Dr. Doolitteism. If I came across a batch of puppies in need of a home, I would have done the same thing.

  14. Kittens in a stroller! Much cuter than snakes on a plane, but probably not as commercially lucrative. What if Nate had brought home Sam L. with the two kittens? Would you have kept the lot of them then?Sorry, I’m the Doolittle in my house. And this is why my husband will not let me foster dogs that need adopting.

  15. I wouldn’t say I’m a cat ‘hater,’ but I feel better when they’re not around.I have the PURRFECT solution: Move upstate. Hmmm but where? Near a train perhaps? and a house with a barn so all those kittens could play? Hey, I know: Kinderhook! Nate would really like Jed.

  16. That sounds like one fine, fine man you’ve got there. Any guy who is that much of an animal lover is a definite keeper! And what a cutie your Thalia is!The whole question of how many pets you can reasonably have in a small house is a tough one. We used to have a dog and a cat crammed into our previous house — a very tiny Boston condo. The dog died after my husband had had him for 14 years, which was extremely traumatic. Then my kitty — the sweetest animal who ever lived, who used to follow me all around the house, purring — died of cancer in May. Now the house feels so empty. The mess and the expense of pets make them tough to deal with when you’ve got toddlers on your hands, but I’m still grieving over that cat. I don’t miss the fine grit of cat litter and cat hair that used to cover everything in my house, but I can’t imagine ever being done missing the kitty.

  17. Those kitties ARE adorable, but just as I’m going to side with Nate and suggest that you keep them, I think of those poo remnants you mentioned and I say, “Send em back!” Ewww.

  18. Oh. My. Those kittens are ADORABLE. Nate, Nate. You tricksy boy, you. I love cats. Love cats!Don’t keep them. Not both of them, anyway. Not if you can possibly find them a better home.I had five cats in a two-bedroom apartment once (one was mine, one was my boyfriend’s, and three, THREE, belonged to my sister, who said she was leaving them with me “for a couple of weeks” during a move, and left them with me FOR A YEAR). Even with two large, covered, fancy-filter-having litter boxes, both changed daily, my whole apartment smelled like cat piss all the time.Not to mention the fact that one of my sister’s cats was a teenaged tom who couldn’t get along with any of the older female cats he was surrounded by; he eventually snapped and constantly went on destructive rampages that involved much breaking of fragile things; another of my sister’s cats was terrified of my boyfriend’s cat, and basically spent an entire year hiding under a bed.Cats, by nature, are very solitary creatures, and three cats cooped up in a small apartment with two adult humans, one dog, and a baby will probably wind up being less than pleased with the crowding.

  19. I have to tell you, I was totally with you until…I saw the pictures. YOU MUST KEEP THEM! SAY YOU WILL!And name one Jack.

  20. they are gorgeous, but i want to echo on the advice about the hell and destruction that is three cats. not to mention the territorial peeing (and in our case, pooping) that can occur when equilibrium is upset. desdemona, bitch that she is, needs a bit of space. and baby does not need to be crawling around cat yuck (that was final straw for me when Jack was 9 months–but i will not write what i did with the cats, as Nate might come and hunt me down). We did 3, and never again. 2 cats who come from the same litter, or introduced together when young–ok. 3 cats, and you’ve got pussy-warfare (snort. I said “pussy-warfare”)all that said, i now have raging crush on that there Nate.

  21. Awww. My son just saw those pics and said, “Mommy. I really think those kitties are nice but that girl baby is very pretty.”

  22. Wow, you seemed so nice at BlogHer. Very strange to discover you’re completely stone cold heartless.😉

  23. I can totally relate. Cats find us. One time, a cat found us hiking in a state park, and like crazy people we bought a cat carrier just to drive it five hours home. The latest cat must be Desdemona’s brother because he put me in the hospital for two days.And it’s mostly my husband’s doing because I grew up with dogs.

  24. but if you keep them, just THINK of all the photobooth opportunities! 🙂

  25. My husband had a cat when we “met” and “married” and it had to go with the coming of the first child since that cat was evil…very evil. I personally don’t like cats and figure I could tolerate puppies but not cats…but damn they do look cute just lying there all humble….

  26. Hhhhmmm, my comment didn’t post earlier. But what I said in essence is that those are two sweet kitties, and between Nate’s “plan” and Thalia’s enjoyment of said kitties, you better stock up on kitten chow…

  27. Um Liz,If by chance, my two old cats die in the next month, I’ll take them! (sorry John).Love, another softie (but—Nate! to just bring them home! that takes balls!)

  28. I think we should toss Nate and Sloth and keep the homeless cats they bring home. Although the stray Sloth brought home when I was pregnant sounds related to your Desdemona. That was one evil cat. I managed to trick a friend into taking her after Cricket was born. I feared for our lives w/that cat around. Surprisginly my friend is still my friend even though she hates the cat just as much.But man, a kitten in a stroller is pretty darn cute. Yeah, good luck with that!

  29. I’m not sure what this post was about because my face exploded to see your beautiful baby.Soooooooo cute. Sooooooo kissable. I would eat her face off. In a good way.

  30. I’m not much of an animal person. Not for me, but YOU? Perfect. How can you say no? Poor Nate. Poor Thalia. Keep ’em, keep ’em, keep ’em.Sucker.

  31. Widdle iddy bitty baby kittens in a Bugaboo? Aaaaw. Who da big meanie wanna kick dem out? Who?See, it’s kinda hard to see the third side of the story here, girl-fren, ’cause you’ve done the exact same thing to the internets that Nate did to you. Put up big adorable pictures of adorable baby with adorable kittens and we’re supposed to go all, ‘yeah, totally, the litter-monsters gotta go, bah’?Dude. DUDE.I’m totally sucked in. Sign me up for the Kittens Union. Cuddlers of the World Unite! Go Nate, Liberator of All Creatures Small and Fuzzy! Save the Kittens!(Gah.)

  32. I think your husband and I were separated at birth. I worked for a non-profit vet clinic and ended up with two dogs, three cats, and countless fosters. I had to quit that job to save my marriage, so I know my husband is feeling your pain right now. That is the cutest picture I have ever seen!

  33. And, OMG, the poo remnants? The cling-ons? We have a cling-on problem. One that we did not recognize until Kyle discovered WonderBaby with one IN HER HAND. Freshly plucked from Siamese ass.Am working really had now to convince myself that this not some kind of new ghetto low. One time thing, right? No one’s fault? Baby clutching cat turd. Fuck.

  34. Since it is a weekend of blog love I am here to spread the warm and fuzzies. You always make me laugh, you have made me cry and through your writing I understand my husband more. Your struggle balancing work and family, helps me understand what he experiences when he has to work. He could never write it as well as you so coming here is a very good thing. Your imagination, intelligence and wit make reading your blog eye/brain candy! You are an amazing mom, awesome wife (I mean come on if you are not keeping the cats, but keeping Nate that says something! hehe!) Have a great weekend!

  35. I am your husband in female form. I suspect we’d get along fantastically. The kittens are adorable, but I can see why you can’t keep them.

  36. Lose the kittens! Really, especially if you are planning on having another baby. I’ll state right off the bat, I am not a cat person at all! I love dogs! But really, 3 cats, 1 dog, 2 adults, one toddler and a potential baby on the way? I say no way!Thalia, of course is too adorable for words. 🙂

  37. that first picture of thalia and that kitten is ADORABLE. i love kittens but i will admit they are a lot of work. i never thought so until i had a baby and now i often wonder if my cats will ever forgive me for forgetting to feed them all day. thank God my husband is pretty religious about feeding them at night. otherwise they just might shrivel up and waste away.

  38. yeah, good luck with that. i think posting pictures of all that adorableness tells us that your mind is pretty much made up. and what, exactly what would you say to your gorgeous little boo when she asks where the kitties went? btw – we have our own deosdemona. her name is miko and she is as lazy as she is mean. if she no likey you and you sit in her vicinity, she won’t even bother to get up; just wake, look at you, hiss at you, turn around and go back to sleep. oh my god, cats are so my kind of animal.

  39. All I can say is that I AM NOT allowing Jeff to see the photos of the kitties– because he will very happily take them off your hands, and though they are very very cute, I’m allergic.Everywhere we go, Jeff is always pointing out the cute kitties, or doggies, or little hoppy birds. He’s like freakin’ Cinderella. We went to Rome for our honeymoon. Do I need to tell you how many photos of kitties among the ruins we have? More of them than of either of us…

  40. One dog, an evil cat, and two kittens? You might as well succumb and install the warren of guinea pigs, pair turtles and a ferret. Oh yeah, and a new back yard too. That part might be harder in NY!I agree with the commenters above – the kittens might be cute, but Thalia is waaaay cuter!

  41. I’m with all the people who are with Nate. But I can’t be held responsible since I can barely breathe with all the crushing cuteness abounding. I mean, honestly, woman, I think I actually SQUEALED. Me, a grown woman in dirty birkenstocks.

  42. Cute kittens!We’re about to get 4 foster kittens (yes, I volunteered), which will put us at 15 or so this year. Not one of which we’ve kept. Resistance to cuteness can be managed!

  43. Maybe you guys could just continue to foster them until they get adopted? They ARE really cute 🙂Those photos are absolutely priceless. I se a lot of you in Thalia!

  44. The kids are cute, but oh my gosh, that Thalia! What a cutie! Looking forward to the post in two weeks that says you kept them 🙂

  45. AWRIGHTAREADY!!! I’ll take em, I’m sure if we just pass them from blogger to blogger across the US they will eventually get there. We could take pictures and post them, like the stolen lawn gnome!Or not!

  46. I so feel Nate’s pain. I would have done EXACTLY the same thing…He’s smart to take lots of baby/kitten pics to fuck with your mind… 🙂

  47. LIZ…..DON”T FOSTER, DON’T KEEP THEM FOR ANOTHER DAY!!!!! You should keep Thalia. You know I know…..

  48. I once saw an elderly lady at a park who was pushing her cats along in a stroller as they sat on plush pillows. Maybe you can turn into one of those?

  49. Oh my gosh. You really are going to be Cat Lady 101 if you don’t watch it. 😉

  50. I’d be sending the rodents back ASAP! Of course they’re cute when they’re that little–wait 10 years until they’re still clawing your furniture and pissing on your carpet when they’re mad at you (I have two cats, 12 and 10 years old…when do cats die?)

  51. I know you really don’t need another opinion, and I certainly don’t have one to give you. I am staff to 6 cats, all of them beautiful and adorable. My children, mostly my lovely daughter, talked me into taking them all, one at a time. Now she lives in London and I spend my days cleaning liter boxes. I do have one riddle for you. If you have a 4000 square foot house with all floor surfaces covered with tile or hardwood, except for one expensive oriental carpet in the living room, where do all the cats go to throw up?

  52. Oh my god. I’m a bleeding heart when it comes to animals too. They ARE cute. I’ve been dying to get a third cat and it’s going to happen soon. Maybe you can send one to me?PS Nate sounds like my kind of peeps

  53. He IS a low, manipulative, son-of-a-gun – but he’s yours! (and baby’s, of course! 🙂 ) And yes, they are WAY cute. as is baby petting them. As onetallmomma says, you will treasure the photos. Right up until baby can’t stop sobbing because she misses them so much, and you have to go back to the vet and ask for them back. >snicker<

  54. I’d say it was a close call. See what happened with me with < HREF="http://k1969.blogspot.com/2006/07/house-built-on-sand-this-is-house-that.html" REL="nofollow">hermit crabs,<> in the course of a supposed goldfish run. HERMIT CRABS, for god’s sake. Anyone can understand cute little big-headed mammals. But crustaceans? I am into the triple digits now, and they haven’t done a damn thing.The very same night I brought the crabs home, a tortise showed up on our front lawn. I suspect there are signs all around our yard like the hoboes used to have, signalling to the local fauna that I am a soft touch.K. < HEF="www.k1969.blogspot.com">Notes to Self<>

  55. While Nate’s qualities are certainly admirable as you stated, CATS FUCKING SUCK. I’m sorry but there’s just no two ways about it. And getting them adopted is NO PICNIC, trust me. I fostered one about four years ago and the vile thing is still eating me out of house and home. I don’t care how cute they are now, they GROW and you won’t think they’re so cute when they’re BITING THE BABY and HISSING AT THE BABY and SPRAYING THEIR URINE AT THE BABY. Seriously, Liz, if you get weak and want to cave, call me ASAP and I’ll remind you why THEY MUST GO. Love ya!

  56. Did Nate doctor up the picture, or are those kitty-eyes really THAT BLUE?? I’m not even a cat person and I’D be hard-pressed to give ’em up. Good luck with all that!!

  57. in the past, i’d be the one most likey to drag in the cat and/or kittens…. but anymore, i’m not so sure. once Joel got hookd on “Puppies” it’s been a different tale around here. of course, with 3 dogs and an ancient cat, chances are we won’t be acquiring more critters anytime soon, but he’s still busy with the next best thing… donating cold hard cash to anyone and everyone involved in animal rights and/or rescue (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). from websites to beggers holding out empty cups on a corner (“alms for the purr”) our dollars are moving out of our checking account faster than your pretty-darn-cute-but-won’t-be-staying kittens can track sand out of their litter box. my point, for i have one, is this: do you need money?

  58. I am a reformed pet addict. Five years ago, before my second kid (and two step kids and a set of twins), I would have taken (and was suckered into taking) many a stray, motherless animal. But no more! The critter who cured me was this dumb dog who, every time we left her at home alone, would trash the garbage cans (kitchen and bathroom), rip up and spread the garbage throughout the house, and leave voluminous piles of crap on top of the garbage. She had some other equally rotten tricks that made me start to hate having pets with a ferocity. Needless to say, she is long gone now and I am glad to be rid of her. My daughter keeps trying to sneak in more pets, to guilt me into taking homeless lost soles, but I am immune to her pleas. I have enough work with the three cats and five kids here. I guess that means I have fnally grown up and have come to the realization that you gotta have limits.

  59. Fostering is the greatest! We foster beagles, one at a time, and have gotten to know some wonderful dogs over the past 4 years. We work with a rescue group that encourages us to take what we can handle — it used to be the tough cases, now it’s the housetrained ones that are good with kids cause of all the toddlers in and out here. We love (and our toddler loves) getting to know and love on all the homeless dogs, and seeing them go to new homes (and getting our furniture back). And best of all? If you work with an established group or vet, you know they WILL go to new homes … and soon! Maybe that’s a good halfway solution for you guys?Great blog!

  60. We used to have 5 cats…one was mine, the other 4 were my husbands. I felt like the freaky cat lady for a while. Then one ran away and another got squished by a car (so sad). Now we’re down to 3 cats (yes, I can count). If my husband had his way, he’d go get a dozen or so more. I’ve been adamant about NO MORE CATS!!!Yesterday, my husband walks in and tells me, “My sister found 5 baby kittens abandoned outside of her house. They’re not weaned and need to be bottle fed every 2 hours. She can’t take care of all 5 so she asked me if we could take 3 of them.”“What??!!!” I roared.“It’s only for a few weeks, until they’re old enough to be adopted.”“Take them to the pound and let them deal,” I insisted with no mercy.“I can’t do that,” my husband complained.“I’m calling your sister right now and telling her ABSOLUTELY NOT!”I immediately dialed her number and told her just that. Just as quickly she admitted, “I wasn’t going to give you 3 cats. Oronzo just wanted to play a joke on you and told me to play along.”“You’re both lucky,” I retorted.When it comes to cats, I have no mercy. Good luck on prying those kittens away from your husband and your daughter.Cute pictures, by the way!

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