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Serving: IA

Worming Her Way In

A sick kitten, a little milk, three small kids and now we're looking at a house cat.

We're big fans of the Barn Cat, here on the Spangler ranch. We have many of them. Out in the barn. Where barn cats are supposed to be. They eat mice, they play with the kids, we love them. Outside.

Then this happened.

About a week before Thanksgiving, John called me. He was at the farm up the road, holding three baby kittens. The mama cat had disappeared. The kittens were on death's doorstep. I heard the most awful noise through the phone, and it was those kittens. It was the cry of death.

So John took the two worst-off kittens to our neighbors and brought the little dark one home. Apparently he had more faith in her ability to revive half-dead kittens than in mine. Nonetheless, we fed it, it perked up, it snuggled in, and three weeks later, this is what we're looking at.

Her name is Snickers.

Let me just say that in 12 years of marriage, we've never had a house cat. We're really not pets-in-the-house people, except for Nathan's short stint with some goldfish. RIP, Dorothy and FedEx. We did have a wonderful indoor/outdoor cat named Rose the first year we were married, who came in the office and sat with me while I wrote and went to the door when nature called. Or when she got bored with us. Then we got a border collie, and Rose promptly grew tired of being herded and disappeared. I feel confident she found another family to meet her needs. Because that's the kind of cat she was.

But now, we have Snickers, and she is just about the sweetest thing ever. She plays. She leaps. She naps, right in our laps. But only after the coast is clear (i.e., the kids have gone to bed). With a 2-year-old in the house, she can never be too safe. And you can guess what we're saying 400 times a day around here. It's particularly hilarious when the kids get home from school, and said 2-year-old begins imparting her new-found wisdom to them: "Be nice to da kitty kitty. Be gentwle!" I'm just waiting for her to put the kitten in time-out. Really, it's only a matter of time.

Aside from that, it's a sweet life this kitten has landed – saved from the barn and contemplating a future in a virtual lap of luxury here in the house. Provided she learns to use the litter box. I'll spare you the gross details, but she needs to pick up on this rapido. She and I had a little chat about it this morning, after I reconfigured her living space in the laundry room. I told her the next couple days were important if she wanted to spend the next few years living the good life. I'm totally pulling for her.

And the other two kittens? They revived and survived, which may be a miracle in itself. Our neighbor named them Bruce and John, after my father-in-law and husband. She smiles and says they have little spats sometimes. I love it.

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