To give you all fair warning, I feel it is my responsibility as a respectful Facebook user to warn you that I will very shortly be moving to a new house where I will be permitted pets. As such, I will becoming the proud owner of a fluffy ball of kitteney joy.
For those of you that know me, or have come to familiarise yourself with my Facebooking habits, it should be abundantly clear that this lucky little feline will now become possibly the most photographed cat that ever existed, and will seem to become almost a part of your daily lives as his/her whiskery face will be littered all over your facebook feed from day one. I can’t help it, i’m sorry, that’s what cat lovers do.
Although i’m truly ecstatic about completing my life via pethood, I have to say it has not been easy finding a kitten for sale. I’m serious, I did a search online for “Kitten, Winchester” and my God do they make it hard.
First, there are very few breeders out there that don’t want a million pounds for a cat. They’re all “Oh, Miffy’s mother was a pure-breed and her father won third in last years Catathon” and that apparently entitles these guys to ask for half my rent for their specimen. Like, I don’t want a cat that prances around my house singing show-tunes in a coat made of gold. Just give me a muggle moggie and i’ll be on my way.
So then I start to approach the Gumtree sellers, you know, who decided they didn’t want to neuter their cat because, hey, who *doesn’t” want cat-placenta all over your kitchen floor at some point? They seemed to be under the arrogant assumption that *their* precious pussy wouldn’t *ever* do such a thing as get pregnant. Well guess what… Miss Whiskers has been whoring it around and now your airing cupboard smells like womb-juice.
A couple weeks into the un-planned birth, after trying to stop the kids from touching/poking/hiding/falling in love with the litter, these people decide to get rid and maybe they can make some cash? One of the most riveting factors of society is that anyone can have an online identity, and therefore a Gumtree account, so up go the blurry photos and people like myself start spending hours tracking down the most un-business like people who ever lived (the kind who think that a cat won’t mate simply because it’s domesticated) most often to no avail.
By the time I manage to get these people on the phone, either they’ve sold them all already but not taken down the advert, upped the price or admit that they aren’t in “Central Hampshire” but in fact in the styx of Devon in a farmhouse that no-one has ever found in a million years. And that’s only if you’re fortunate enough to find someone with the degree of intelligence required to publish their number correctly. The amount of times I have had to auto-correct an address ending in “homail. co. uk” is incredible.
Right, so Mr Gumtree is out. And so is any other form of unregulated kitten-flogging.
So I go back to the computer and find a website dedicated to breeders and sellers, and try to wade through the sorority-esque world of high society felines and narrow it down to a couple of reasonably priced examples. Email composed and sent, followed by radio silence.
In the meantime, I share my intentions with some friends who suggest a rescue cat. Now I know I’m going to sound unreasonable here, but I want a kitten. A tiny ball of fluffy, bouncy, scratchy kitteny joy who I can squeeze and squeeze and squeeze. Not a five year old cat who loves someone else already. Cats are nonchalant as it is without being bereaved. I want me a youngie.
“But rescue homes are so much better” my friends whine at me. “So may cats need your love, why go and buy a kitten when these are there just waiting for you!” so I figure to appease them then, sure, I’ll take a look. Back to the internet I go, and find rescuehomeshants.com or something like that, and start to look up the offerings. My first observation is that cat lovers do not a website guru make. Most of the pages are built on a foundation of eye-hurtingly busy back-drops with almost illegible links. One even chose to highlight words in blue, and underline them, making them look like hyperlinks. Do you have any idea how much fucking time can be wasted trying to press those on a cracked iPhone screen?! Afuckinglot. That’s how much.
Right. I’ve found the page with the cat pictures (finding enlightenment may have been easier) and here we go.
“Bubbles – This handsome fellow has moved on from his owner and looking for your affection. He’s quiet and considerate, best left to his own devices, and not suited to homes who have a cat already. Children advised to steer clear. Would make a lovely companion for an older home”
Brilliant. That’s the best advertising I’ve seen since letting agent profiles. “Quiet” in cat world is like “cosy” in flat world. Basically, this guy is hostile, irritable and lazy as hell. The picture shows a grumpy, cowering cat who I swear is vividly scowling through the lense. No thank you. I think I’ll leave that one to Grandma.
“Skittish Misty came to us from a family who had to move abroad. She’s lively but nervous and looking for a home to give her the attention and patience she needs to settle in”
Right. So this one is going to claw my face off then. One step towards Misty and you can bet she’ll have some of my scalp quicker than you can say “cantankerous cat”. Moving swiftly forwards.
“Ivy and Holly are fifteen months old and looking to be housed together.”
No. Just no. I can just about to afford one cat, along with insurance, food etc, but not two. Which is a shame, because one of them looks quite adorable. But as a twin I just can’t separate them, so on to the next.
And so it continues. This was three weeks ago and I resigned myself to the fact that there wasn’t anyone out there for me and half-heartedly registered for a few of the homes in case kittens came along.
Then today… my phone rings and it’s Dannielle from kittens4u rescue home (I made that bit up to protect their identity) and they have a kitten! She’s beautiful! 8 weeks old! Tortoiseshell! Ready to pick up in two weeks!
I’m holding the phone with one hand and opening Google with the other to look up travelling accessories (damn right that cat is coming to the shops with me) when it begins. What I hadn’t factored in was the questionnaire I had unwittingly signed myself up for in order to RESCUE a kitten.
Danielle* the Catwoman – “So, how large is your home and of course you have a garden?”
Me – “uhm, it’s a 2-up 2-down with a small garden, yes”
Catwoman – “Good. Right. Well that sounds suitable. Any access to main roads?”
Me – “No it’s on a *road* but not a main one”
I hear her typing all of this down.
Catwoman “So do you work, Emily?”
Me – “Yes. Locally”
A pause and sighing from the receiver.
Catwoman – “Well that won’t do. A kitten needs your undivided attention to begin with. Do you have a partner?”
Me – “No.”
Catwoman – “And children?”
Me – “Not yet”
More sighing. I’m beginning to sense a tone here.
Catwoman – “Ah. Well that may not work. I’m afraid we require our cats to go to homes with full time care. Are you sure you’re ready for a pet?”
Hang on… is this woman critisizing my lifestyle?
Me – “Well… uhm, I will have a housemate. Maybe we can share the responsibilities?”
Catwoman – “Actually, it’s best if a new owner takes a few months off, 4 at least, to welcome their new pet.”
Me – “Seriously?”
Catwoman – “Yes.”
Me – “like, people actually take time out of their lives. Like Caternity leave?”
Catwoman – “We have older cats, Emily, that may be better suited to you. Or maybe I can do a home visit and assess your situation?”
This is becoming a joke.
Me – “Am I on the radio?”
Catwoman – “No, I don’t have a radio on. My signal is good, I can hear you fine.”
Me – “So, sorry, I *can’t* rescue a kitten from you?”
Catwoman – “Well perhaps. If you can work from home and be sure to supervise it’s first few months.”
I decide to lie at this point.
Me – “oh, Absolutely. Of course I have the time and resources required to take a break from my life to watch an animal, the breed of which is notoriously independent. Love to”
Catwoman – “OK. Well in that case I could consider you to take home Onyx”
Me – “Lovely. When will he be ready?”
Catwoman – “in 2 weeks. The suggested donation is £160”
Me – “Suggested you say? Lovely. See you in 2 weeks.”
Catwoman – “Oh, Emily, one more thing. Onyx will need you to be in the garden with him at all times at first.”
Me – “Oh I’m sorry, that won’t do. That’s where the Rotweillers live. It would be dangerous given the amount of rat poison I have to sprinkle to stop them eating their own faeces”
Catwoman – “Wait, you have dogs?”
Me – “Yes. And Rat Poison”
Ok so I didn’t say that last part but you get my point. I mean I get that vendor/breeders and rescuers have a duty to ensure that their kittens go to good homes, but this is like Orwellian overkill. At one point I thought Danielle would be suggesting I come live with her for a few days to see if Onyx liked me. It’s a goddam kitten, woman. Please.
And so my search continues for Kitten Rosetta. I’m finding it hard not to sit, tears welling at the window, peering out and humming a feline version of Annie’s “Tomorrow” during the unbearable wait.
How the hell am I supposed to become a Crazy Cat Woman with these sorts of restrictions?
Maybe I’ll get a fish instead.