Claws and teeth that make up the bundle of fur we call Zeke |

Claws and teeth that make up the bundle of fur we call Zeke

I’m not sure what my husband and daughter were thinking when they decided to get me a kitten for Mother’s Day. OK, so I do know what they were thinking.

I dropped little hints like, “Gee, Binky’s looking … old.” “Boy, Fatboy sure looks lonely. I bet he’d be happy if there were someone closer to his age with whom he could play.” And “Get me a kitten for Mother’s Day, and I’ll be happy.”

We drove all the way to Steamboat Springs to get this kitten. We went all the way to Steamboat Springs because, according to every animal shelter expert in Colorado, “kitten season” doesn’t start until June 1.

Kitten season? Is that like elk season? Or black-powder season?

I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up in Southern California, we had kittens climbing all over the house year-round. At one point, we had 17 kittens in the house, primarily because our cats were hussies. I’m not sure, but I seem to remember even our male cats were giving birth to kittens.

Anyway, the only kitten I was able to find that met our criteria (female, Siamese) was a black and white spotted male. We knew he wanted to be part of our family by the way he clung to his former owner, hissed at us and mewed for his mother. Perfect!

It’s been 15 years since we’ve had a kitten underfoot in our house. And to anyone who says “you never forget,” I have one word to say: “Hahhahaha!”

A kitten is a lot like a teenager. One minute it’s happy and purring in someone’s lap, the next minute, it’s puffing up its tail and hissing at a shadow or clinging to the ceiling.

A kitten’s world includes only that which is immediately in front of its face. If you stop moving or leave the room, it goes through fits of separation anxiety, characterized by high-pitched meowing that sounds as if it is being ground through a wood chipper.

We have forgotten how easily a kitten can be distracted. Our new family member, whose original name was Spotted River Pig, but who now goes by the name of Zeke the Freke, can be dozing away in the sun on the couch when he suddenly leaps two feet in the air to catch what he thought was an insect, but was, in actuality, a smudge on the wall.

We have forgotten how sharp kitten claws can be – especially when those claws are working their way up your bare leg – or when you’re introducing the kitten to the great outdoors and a car drives by.

Same goes for those needle-sharp teeth. You offer a kitten a small chunk of cheese off your finger and you’re lucky to have two knuckles left when you get your hand back.

We had forgotten how hard a kitten sleeps – and how easy it is to fling one through the air when you take a blanket off a chair.

We had forgotten how easily a kitten gets underfoot. You’ll be walking along, thinking you’ll just grab a beer out of the refrigerator, and the next thing you know, a blurry, furry black and white blob is flying through the air in front of you.

Or you’re flat on your face in the kitchen and a baby cat is hissing in your face for getting in its way. Or you hear a horrid screech of a noise and realize you’ve stepped on most of the cat’s vital parts. Or its tail. Either illicits the same response.

We had forgotten how much kittens like to play with the end of the pen you’re using to fill out important documents like loan applications or tax forms.

We had forgotten that, although a little kitten loves to drink milk, its little stomach doesn’t like it as much.

We had forgotten that a kitten likes to bring home little dead things or drag your underwear out onto the deck. Or jump up to see what’s on top of the toilet, only to jump down – soaking wet.

We’d forgotten that a kitten likes to attack other cats’ tails, and that it often gets its face slapped in the process.

We’d forgotten how painful kitten shots can be.

But we also had forgotten how loud a 2-pound kitten can rumble and roar when it curls up in the crook of your arm. Or when it stretches its little kitten paws out in the air, or chases after a piece of string.

That makes all the bloodshed worth it.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or So can her cats.

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