In December of 2019, I decided that I needed a kitten. I had grown up with cats and dogs my whole life, but those were my parent's pets. I wanted a kitten and I wanted him to be 100% my responsibility. So I did it. “I'm an adult now, I can handle a cat!”. Famous last words.
First thing to remember if you're going to co-parent a kitten is to be honest with your partner, and yourself. When I found out that there was a little male orange tabby that needed a home just 45 minutes away, I knew that this was my opportunity. I'd been badgering my partner, Curtis, about getting a cat ever since we moved into our cat friendly home, and his response was always mixed. Sometimes open to the idea, sometimes completely against it.
I was positive that saving this kitten was the best thing for us, so positive that I may have been a little selfish. The truth was, I wanted a cat and I was going to get one. So I claimed we would only be the kitten's temporary home, when I knew very well that was not true.
After planning my ruse, which included assuring Curtis that a kitten wouldn't be that big of a deal, he finally conceded. Just like that, we were on our way to get our little fluff monster, who we had already decided to name “Larry David”.
We tried prepping for our new little “guest”, but the truth is you can only plan so much for the furball of chaos that is about to tear through your home. I actually expected him to be so traumatized from his change of scenery that he would just cower in the corner. But oh no, not my Larry.
The second we brought him home, this guy struts out of the cardboard carrier that I had panic purchased. Pro tip; don't do that. They are a waste of money since you'll inevitably need to have something more substantial. He proceeded to tear around the house like a fluffy tornado. Needless to say, he was not shy or traumatized, meanwhile I was not prepared for this.
The first hour we shared together was probably the most stressful, but it was when we fell absolutely head over heels in love with him. After his reign of terror ended, he crawled up my chest and nestled himself into my neck.
Even Curtis was swooning. He coined their snuggle time “Boys Club”, and I'd often walk out to the living room to find them asleep in each other's arms. It was the cutest thing I had ever experienced, but it was always short lived. A few minutes of cuddle time would go by, until he heard some crinkle noise and would bolt across the room again. We often felt like parents trying not to wake their child during nap time.
Here I thought this whole kitten thing would be a walk in the park, but each time he broke something or got into something he wasn't supposed to, I could feel Curtis' stress level rising. Then Larry started having a go at our furniture, and my stress level doubled. I mean, this was all my idea! I went out of my way to make this happen and this kitten was tearing through our home like his life depended on it.
Panic was setting in. Where do kittens sleep? Do they sleep? What if he chews a wire and dies? What if I can't do this?
My main bit of advice in this case would be to take a deep breath and remember, he's just a kitten, we LOVE him, and people do this all the time.
Another bit of advice would be don't get a kitten if you only have $100 in your bank account. There were expenses that I hadn't anticipated like vet care, food, litter, toys; the list goes on and on. When it comes to pet products, look into the areas you can be a little more thrifty (i.e. food should be better quality, but toys don't necessarily need to be high end). Also, be sure to check out local organizations that will help with spay/neuter and vaccine costs. I actually got Larry neutered for free! Thanks again Pedro Pet Pals!
So after the 3 pound kitten gave me an anxiety attack, I headed to Walmart. There were a million things rushing through my head, so I decided to focus on one task at a time. I knew he would need somewhere to sleep, so that seemed like the best place to start.
Turns out the crate I found was the best $50 I had ever spent. Even though it was just a crate, it represented a feeling of control over the situation to me. I told myself, you're a real pet owner now! You have a crate!
I know crating a cat sounds odd, but Larry did really well in his. It also stopped him from nibbling on my toes at 3am. Even though bedtime was prime Larry snuggling time, I was afraid to have him sleep with me. He was really, really tiny, and I was terrified I would crush him in my sleep. So, in the crate he went. He would cry for a few minutes, but soon he went in willingly as if his crate provided a sense of calm and security.
As the days went on, it didn't get much easier, but we were growing more attached. Things felt really difficult when we left him home alone the first day. I asked everyone, “what do I do with him during the day?” “What if he chokes himself on something and I'm not there to help him?”
While these are all valid concerns, and you should always take the necessary precautions when leaving a kitten home alone, it's also important to remember that they are less fragile than you think.But I was thinking with my heart at that moment, so cue the baby proofing.
I taped up every window pull cord, and covered the sink, (why? I don't know; he couldn't even get on the counter yet). I unplugged EVERYTHING in my house, shoved a dish towel in our mail slot, and then left. Except, I waited 10 minutes in my car, went back and checked on him again, then I left for real.
Visions of worst case scenarios danced through my head all day at work and when five o'clock hit, I bolted out the door and rushed home; certain that something horrible must have happened. Another tip, if you're getting a pet for emotional support, or to help with anxiety, don't get a kitten.
Larry was fine- go figure. He was curled up in my laundry basket, asleep. I cried.
As Larry got older, bigger, and stronger, his destruction became much more deliberate and we became more accustomed to his antics. Our love for him has only grown and I wouldn't give up our new routine for anything.
Like clockwork, Larry meow screams into the air and slides towards the wall, then he chooses the next wall to target. Sometimes he does a little flip in the air to spice things up, but generally, we know and appreciate his sketch. It's honestly the funniest, most entertaining thing I've ever seen and I don't even have to leave my house!
Turns out, both Curtis and I adore having a kitten. As stressful and scary it may have been in the beginning, his wild outbursts would always turn into a heart melting snuggle session. He's taught us patience, and we're both learning more every day.
He's curled up next to me on the couch as I write this, with paws over his face looking as cute as a button. Amazing that something so adorable is capable of such destruction. So, if you can, get a kitten. It'll be the best decision you ever make. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but I think I'd have to come up with a different scheme to get Curtis to agree again.