Kitten Invasion And Other Temporary Conditions

These foster kittens will definitely be going back to the shelter in two weeks.

From the newsletter:

On the drive up to the animal shelter, Ian demanded to know where we going and what the big surprise was. Looking at signs on the highway for clues, he kept guessing.

“Are we going to Franklin Lakes?” 

“Yes, Ian. We are going to look at trees and ferns. That’s the big surprise.” 

Angry sound from the backseat of the Subaru. “That’s not a surprise. Where are we really going.” 

“Honest. We’re going to look at ferns, Dad’s favorite thing.” 

Angry sound from the backseat. “Tell me!”

Finally, we pulled onto Shelter Lane. He saw the signs for the Animal Shelter and he guessed, “I know. We’re going to get a cat.” 

“Well, we are NOT going to get ‘A cat.’” 

A couple of minutes later, a purple-haired girl handed us a cat carrier with five kittens. We’re foster parents to five kittens for the next two or three weeks. 

The kittens operate in four gears – eat, poop, sleep, and beat the shit out of one’s siblings. The Kitten Fightfest typically goes on for about an hour. They chase each other around, bite a brother’s tail, leap on a sister from the lofty heights of a chair, and practice their sneak attacks around the sofa. They get exhausted at the same time and snuggle up together near Jonah’s sneaker, which has been sacrificed for the cause. 

Yes, they are adorable, but why now? We have remained pet-free since Jefferson the Cat passed away over 15-years ago. I have maintained a zero pet policy all this time, because I figured that two boys were enough wildlife in my house. Why backslide now? 

It is important to remember that these kitties are TEMPORARY kitties. They will be returned in three weeks with nary a tear from me. I have allowed this temporary chaos in the house, because of Ian. He’s been terribly isolated, since the schools closed down last March. Kittens are a poor substitute for classmates, but that’s all I’ve got right now. 

While the rest of the world is opening up, schools aren’t yet. Ian won’t have full time school until September, I can’t find anything for him to do this summer; camps and pizza parlors do not employ autistic kids who have a 50/50 chance of informing an adult that he’s stupid. The kittens, like our weekend day trips, will distract Ian for a little while. He (and Jonah) (and Steve) (definitely not me) like to sit on the floor and let the kittens run over his legs. 

As we slowly creep to the end of this pandemic, some hope that this chaos will be temporary, while others want to make elements of pandemic-living permanent. 

Although only 35% of workers are working remotely right now, pundits, who are writing their columns from their shore houses, would like remote employment to be permanent or, at least, permanently part time. Some think that teachers should only work four days per week

The business community is not going to let that happen. CEOs want workers at their desks by the end of the year. Remote work has not worked for all, especially for women who had to homeschool their kids, while doing their normal work tasks. Schools are going to open, and workers are going back to the office, because the business community is going to demand it. 

While workers are going to go back, other elements of pandemic living are going last longer: mental health issues, academic deficits in certain communities with lifelong implications for personal earnings, income inequality, unemployment among women, homelessness, and urban decline. I’m a bundle of joy, aren’t I? 

Like our very temporary kittens, pandemic-living must have an end date. I’m thirsty to leave our home-caves and try a new job, visit a new beach, and laugh like idiots with friends at the local pub. Seductive domesticity curled around my feet for 16 months, like Tito the kitten here; it was nice for a while, but we need change. 

In two weeks, five kittens will be returned to the shelter. Well, maybe four. Tito is totally awesome.