Christina M. Currie
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
We got the dog so that we wouldn't have to get cats.
Seven-year-old Nikki voted for a dog. Nine-year-old Katie voted for a cat. I put off voting with the hope that the issue would die.
Yeah, that happens.
But I kept dodging the question until the little furball of an Australian Shepherd showed up.
I caved on the caveat that if we got the dog, the cat discussion would end.
They didn't mean to lie, they just couldn't help themselves.
They wanted a kitten.
So, moving to our "country" house provided a compromise. We could get a cat as long as the girls understood it was to be an outdoor cat. An agreement was forged, and darned if the girls didn't hold us to it.
So last week, we adopted two - yes, two - kittens.
After the girls viewed their selection - more like fell instantly in love with the first kittens they saw - we filled out the paperwork and headed out with two new additions to our family.
We'd signed the forms and written the check before we learned that one of them had been eating off the street, had a bad case of diarrhea and needed it's butt coated in Vaseline at least once a day.
Katie wasn't about to be deterred from her selection, a tiny gray and white thing that she was already calling "Twilight."
The girls hadn't had them for more than 10 minutes before the outdoor cats were being pampered indoors and a litter box was fashioned out of cardboard.
The back 40 was supposed to be the litter box.
OK, OK, I'll admit, I was the one who made the litter box and placed it in the laundry room, but it was only until the yard was kitten proofed.
We plugged all the holes and left the kittens free to explore their new home.
There was no love lost between the dog we got so we wouldn't have to get kittens and the two kittens we got anyway.
A few minutes later, one kitten was missing. We searched high and low. We searched in the yard and outside the yard. We listened for meowing.
As darkness fell, we got out flashlights and went searching the same areas again, calling a kitten that hadn't been long enough to know he had a name.
We did find a fat skunk, but no kitten.
I wondered what they'd say at the shelter if I returned the next day asking for a replacement kitten. I was praying the inventory was such that they'd waive a third adoption fee.
And then I saw him. In exactly the place where more than one person had searched more than once. He was crouched on the top of the fence, trapped in a tangle of spiked limbs from a wild rose bush.
The exact same place where he'd crouched for three hours without a sound.
I can't remember the last time I'd felt so relieved.
We woke Nikki up from the couch, where she'd fallen asleep in despair.
The next morning, we couldn't find Twilight.
I'm running out the door to work, instructing the babysitter to conduct a search and thinking that these kittens were way more work than they were worth and really thinking that the people at the shelter were insane to trust us with two living things.
Seriously, we had to call for advice on how to keep a plant alive that was gifted to us a couple of weeks ago.
It's not looking so well, but we thought we could handle more pets?
I mean, really, it's like having two more kids.
Then I remembered thinking the same thing about the dog when we first got him.
And now, other than the whining, barking, shedding, eating, pooping, jumping and eating my shoes, he's a lot easier.
So I'll give it a little time and remember that they'll get bigger and they'll get easier.
Besides, they're outdoor cats.
Other than the times we're inside, that is.