By the time we had decided to get a kitten, I had forgotten what kittens actually were. Or more accurately, what kittens weren’t: the fact that our kitten was not a jpeg really threw me off for a few days.
“Look at that!” I would exclaim. “He’s, like, movin’ around!”
We watched Jack move around for three solid hours after we brought him home. Jurvis fondly referred to this as “the kitten channel.” He patted at things experimentally, sniffed and hissed at his food bowl, looked around with big eyes and nosed our palms. My mind was completely blown. When I sat down on the couch a few hours later to read about claw trimming, he tip-toed over and snuggled into my feet.
“ASkdfjaoisdofla;jf!” I said.
The true reality-check, however, occurred two days ago, as we were unpacking the new apartment late into the night. The kitten snuck into Jurvis’ closet when we weren’t looking, and disappeared for some time behind the suitcases. You know. Like kittens do.
“I don’t know. When did you last see him?”
“Jack? . . . Jack?”
Whenever the notion of expensive veterinarian bills have come up, my dad always had this to say: “free kittens, free kittens, free kittens.” I would half-jokingly agree. But when our tiny poufball emerged from Jurvis’ closet crying and limping his leg, all reason and fiscal responsibility deserted me. This was no jpeg. This was the only kitten in the world, all warmth and purr and happiness. “Holy freaking Jesus,” I thought, “I . . . am responsible for your welfare.”
Jack tried to lay down and failed, tried to stand up and failed, stared up at us with big, wet eyes and mewed plaintively, over and over, his wee body beginning to tremble — and that’s how we wound up in an animal emergency room at four in the morning, handing over a credit card to the tune of two hundred and fifty dollars in X-Rays, painkillers, and doctor fees.