Slade, this is the Internet. Internet, this is Slade.
Slade has been living with us since Thursday afternoon, when we brought him home from the West Suburban Humane Society. We haven’t had a pet since Claire died, in part because we were selling our condo and it’s hard to stage with animals, and in part because oh my God, a baby was exhausting and a baby plus animals was exhausting and we needed a break. That break was just long enough for Kick to become OBSESSED cats.
I mean seriously obsessed. Even for this family full of madmen, she was FOCUSED. We’d read a book and she’d point out every cat in the pictures. Feeling a little out of sorts? She’d meow at you. She threw over all her stuffed elephants and rhinos for a horrifying rainbow-leopard kitty she found at a gas station. Halloween costume? A cat. Cat cat cat cat cat.
(I blame my sister, who has 300 stuffed cats and gave her six, and I blame her nanny, who has five cats of her own including four hand-raised kittens who act like dogs. I also blame myself because it’s not like I discouraged it all that much.)
And I was jonesing for an animal. I was reduced to petting strangers’ dogs on the street. A colleague got a new kitten and I demanded to scroll through his phone. I followed 12 pet-related Twitters. I missed having something small and furry around. So we took down the tree early and set off on Mission: Cat.
Mr. A was reluctant. Mr. A thought he might be allergic. Mr. A worried the kitten might destroy everything. Mr. A thought Kick and I were insane. Mr. A walked into the kitten room at the local shelter and this kitten put its paw on his shoulder immediately, as if to say look, don’t bother with these other mangy critters, I got you. Mr. A fell in love.
Mr. A now spends most of his time carrying Slade around like a giant furry baby.
Slade (so named by the shelter and it seems to be sticking) spent his first night in the bathroom and has had the run of the house ever since. He wakes us at 7 yelling for food, wants to play fetch with his feather toys, wants to be wherever we are. He chirps and purrs all day long, tries to trip us down the stairs, leaps onto tables and counters and spent all day yesterday napping on top of me, waking only to smack me in the face with his tail.
He came with a sister, a tiny calico we’re calling Ada who’ll join us at home once she’s spayed and cleared by the vet. I think he’ll be happier when she’s there — they’re littermates — but I know we’re happier with him around.
And Kick? OH MY GOD is she happy. She was very little when Bucky died and doesn’t really remember Claire much, though she knew enough even back then to be very gentle with animals and always take into account that they’re smaller and more fragile than she is. The first night he was home she demanded to pet him goodnight and said, “Slade, I love you with my whole heart.”
(The next morning he jumped up onto her chair and tried to eat her yogurt and she called him a dingo and told him to go think about his life.)
She reads to him every night before bed. We’re gonna have serious fun with this one.