Here Hal does that classic yawn move, putting his arms around a sleeping Orin.
The plan was to get a tiny baby calico the shelter had named Sandy, and that we were going to rename Madam Psychosis. No plans to love her. I accidentally did that with Toonses, then he went mental spinning in circles, running into walls, tipping over. We had him put to sleep and snot oozed from my face like a DIY soft serve dispenser and I honestly thought I would never, ever stop crying for the rest of my life.
Up until last weekend, I had no intention of getting another pet. I said as much to my high school friends while we were on a pontoon. No way, man. It's terrible.
A few nights later I heard mice. I went to plug in my laptop and found evidence that there had been a turd party beneath the dining room table. Insect-sized pellets clinging to the cord. We set out some poison, which was ignored, and started scrolling through the animal shelter websites. I decided to mentally consider the kitten an employee. Perhaps I would develop a fondness for the guy, like anyone who spends years in your employ. But then we were cooing over pinched furry faces and alert ears. First taken with a little guy named Precious, then forgetting him on impact with Sandy mid-stride, sleepy little mug pointed at the camera.
When we pulled into the parking lot, a woman was getting into the passenger seat of a car. Sandy draped in her arms.
"Noooo!" I said. "Was that Sandy?!"
We forged ahead. Were led to a playroom where about 15 kittens and cats were going apeshit, scurrying around like rabid rodents. Tails high, jumping from surface to surface. Wrestling and nipping at each other and then sprinting under the couch. It was panic inducing.
I used to have a reoccurring dream in which I was stuck in a room full of orange cats varying slightly in weight or length. I had to try to figure out which one was Toonses and which ones were feral alley cats coated in gross. They were skinny bone bags, like snakes with hair.
"This is like your nightmare," Chuck said.
A little grey and black guy immediately caught our attention, all daredevil and lightning, while a black and white cutie nuzzled our shoelaces. There was another grey cat, sleek and grey, faster than the rest. Chuck called him Wildcard. We were left in this room alone for about 10 minutes of pure chaos. How do you pick out a future employee?
A woman came into the room stroking a fatty.
"How many are you going to get?" she asked.
"One," I said, streaks of fur zipping around in my peripheral.
Her face fell. Like, you read that phrase all the time -- "her face fell" -- and it's a cliche and a tired descriptor. But this woman's face literally fell. Muscles slack. Like someone had cranked the gravity a few notches.
She told us we should get two. The adjustment would be easier. They keep each other entertained. Best friends forever, and all that.
The grey one was a given. The prettiest kitten in a room full of kittens. Plus he was interesting, energetic and spontaneous. Prone to wind sprints and gigantic, aerodynamic leaps. And who could deny the little guy at our feet. The orphan with pin curls who has perfected big innocent eyes, climbs into your lap and calls you "mama."
So we got two. Neither are female, so there went Madam Psychosis. They are both about three months old and just more than 2 pounds. They seem to get along okay. Right now they are spooning on the couch. They have taken turns chasing each other from floor to floor. One of them has discovered the litter box -- not sure which -- and the other is TBA. I'll know when and if I put a shirt on and it's got a cat-butt sized stain of wet.
This is Hal:
He is a freaking maniac. He busted out of the carrier and had the entire house figured out within 15 minutes. Slipping beneath a bookshelf, climbing curtains, examining the shower drain. He is a holy terror. When his little buddy finally crashed, Hal paced around the couch trying to keep his eyes open.
This is Orin, who after he slowly got some mojo would not sit still long enough to be photographed:
Orin is more thoughtful. He went through the house inch by inch, examining everything very slowly and deliberately. Then he too went loco and wouldn't sit still.
My sense is that Orin likes to cuddle and Hal likes to stab people in the eyeball.