In my previous post, I mentioned getting another kitten. Well, we have happily added Omar to our family. How we got Omar still confuses me. There was a string of logic that I'm still not entirely sure about and some reasoning that I'm sure Dawn and I both found questionable. But he is ours and this is the story of how we got him.
"Mike, look at this kitten! Its half Norwegian Mountain Cat and half Bengal! We should get this kitten!"
I looked at the image of a crazy looking kitten that in no way resembled either of the aforementioned breeds. He was super cute. Most baby animals are. Dawn suggested that I call the number in the Craigslist ad. I did.
"Hello, this is Mike. I'm calling about the kitten you listed on Craigslist. Is he still available?"
Without excusing herself she muffled the phone and began talking to another woman about the cats.
"We still got one boy cat right? You ain't sold it?"
She shouted in my ear, "Yep, we got one boy left. I just trimmed his claws. You want him?"
I switched the phone to my other ear and winced as I tried to dig her voice out of my head with a finger.
"Well, we would certainly like to see him. Could we visit with him for a bit before we make the decision? Are the parents on site? We would like to see them as well."
The woman agreed and gave me the address. Dawn and I jumped in the car and made the short trip to the East Side. I was pretty happy when I noticed that all the houses looked like owner-occupied places. The East Side is nice but it has sketchy parts. As we got closer to the address I began to realize that we were driving to the only house with uncut grass and eleventy-billion faded and broken children's toys scattered about with garbage and what looked like a bag of forgotten groceries on the steps.
"Good lord Dawn, if I go in that house and someone tries to eat, rape, or enslave me then we are getting a divorce."
Dawn just looked at me with a blank stare and said, "Kitten, Mike. Kitten. We are here for a kitten."
I stopped and pointed at the house. "Well, that's how it starts! One moment you are going to look at a kitten and the next moment you come too in a dim basement with a ball gag in your mouth. Some dude is muttering about waking the gimp and you can't feel your hands because the ropes are too tight. I've seen that movie. That stuff happens. Jeffrey Dahmer was real."
"Shut up Mike."
We got to the top of the steps and crossed the small cluttered porch. I reached out my hand and was going to ring the doorbell but stopped. The button looked broken and the little orange light inside it was just begging to be touched so it could send a few volts up my arm. I made a gentle fist and knocked on the door.
We stood there in silence for a few moments looking at our reflections in the dirty storm door. We do make a cute couple. I leaned over and quietly said the following words.
"Honey, I love you more than I've ever loved someone. I know you really want this kitten. But if we go in there and I smell even the faintest whisper of terror or ass or hopelessness I'm gone. I swear to god if she says the kitten is in the basement I'm gone. If I hear or see chains or duct tape I'm gone......."
Dawn cut me off, "Shut up! Someones coming."
A heavyset young woman with a huge smile on her face and an even huger baby on her hip came to the door.
"Hi! Come in! You must be Mike and Dawn. I think the kitten just ran in the basement. I'll go get him. You can wait in the living room."
I looked at Dawn and whispered through my teeth, "Let's get the hell out of here. She said basement damn it and I'm not falling for it!"
Dawn just shushed me and stepped inside. I stood on the porch for a moment and weighed my options. Finally, I screwed up enough courage to take a few tentative steps into the foyer. I sniffed the air, Desitin and baby shampoo. Desitin was close to ass. I was nervous but at least they washed the baby.
Dawn rounded the corner into the living room and I could hear an older woman greet her and two little voices like cherubs saying hello to Dawn. Maybe we would be O.K. I thought. There were too many kids here for any foul play to jump off. I followed Dawn into the living room and greeted the grandmother and two small children and began to relax.
A few moments later the heavyset woman trotted up the basement stairs with an adorable kitten in one hand and the baby who ate Miller Park on her hip. The baby was trying to snatch at the kitten and the kitten was trying to get down. I stretched my hands out to take the kitten from her.
"Here let me help you."
"Oh thank you! He is so heavy! He's just like his dad. They never stop eating." she said with a smile as she dropped the kitten and handed the baby to me.
Dawn bent over and scooped up the kitten. I locked eyes with the baby who ate Miller Park. The grandmother started prattling on about how they just moved to Milwaukee from Florida and how they used to rescue cats. The mother grabbed the mom and dad cats and proudly held them up for us to see. Then, the baby who ate Miller Park, still looking me dead in the eyes, took a deep breath, grimaced and pushed and took a massive dump. A real diaper stretcher. Then he slowly turned his head, looked at his mom, then back at me and let out the best giggle I've heard in years.
I complimented the baby on his excellent form and determination and probably mentioned something about the size and frequency of his meals as I handed him back to his mother. She dropped the mom and dad cats and took back her giant poopy man baby. Then she held him up, sniffed his but and retreated to the bathroom.
I smiled and clapped my hands together and said, "So that's the mom and dad right?"
"Yep," said the grandmother.
"And you want 100 bucks for the kitten is that right?"
"Yep," said the grandmother.
"Well, I'm thinking three things right now. Maybe you will see where I'm going with this. First, the mom cat isn't a Bengal. She is a tabby and she has a lazy eye. Second, the dad is just a long-haired black and white mix of something or other. In fact, he might even be mildly retarded. It's obvious that he doesn't clean himself and I think he just ate a lego. Third, my wife is holding a kitten that I am doomed to pay for because I can hear her making kissy noises and calling herself momma."
We both looked at Dawn. She had the kitten pressed to her cheek and I could hear the purring from both of them all the way across the room. I looked back at the grandmother and smiled.
"What say I give you thirty bucks and we call it a deal. There's no way that kitten has had shots and I guarantee you don't know the direction to a vets office."
The grandmother smiled, said, "Deal" and held out her hand. I dropped a twenty and a ten into her open hand, shook the other one and said goodbye.
The drive home was cute. Omar purred so loud I thought he would rumble the pavement loose in the road and Dawn smiled non stop.
"That was pretty painless wasn't it Mike? Only a hundred bucks for a Bengal and Mountain Cat mix! I think we got a good deal."
I smiled, "Yeah! I still have 70 bucks in my pocket and all I had to do was risk my life, get pooped on, and haggle a bit. Not bad for 5 minutes of work and I got a cute kitten to show for it."
"What are you talking about? Did one of the cats poop? Oh my god I didn't even notice it! And I thought we paid a hundred dollars? Oh, this little guy is so cute. I can't believe they sold him! How much did you say you paid? Oh, his nails need to be trimmed! Look at how long they are! They look like needles. You paid a hundred I thought?"
"Don't worry about it, honey. Just give the kitty some loving and I'll tell you all about it when we get home."
And that, my friends, is Omar's story.