July 17, 2024
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July 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We apparently own a cat, or possibly five. I don’t know. How do you take legal ownership of a cat? I ask because I don’t want to do it by accident.

We kind of fell into these cats. It started when one of my kids left the door to our garage slightly open for two weeks, and I couldn’t get out and do anything about it because my back went out. But then I finally decided—as a Sunday morning project—to go outside and close the door myself. But what if an animal had gotten in there? So first I opened the door all the way and made some noise. Then it occurred to me that making noise at the entrance of the garage would not encourage whatever was in there to come toward me to get out. So I walked away. Then it occurred to me that if I left it open and walked away, then even if there was nothing living in there, something could come in now. So I closed it.

That was Sunday. Then, on Wednesday, during supper, my 5-year-old said, “Hey! There’s a cat looking out the window of the garage!”

Great. Three days.

So I opened the door, very carefully, expecting whatever was in there to make a dash the second I got the door partially open, while my 11-year-old son Daniel stood back, ready to be the man of the house if something happened to me.

After climbing over several bikes and moving some drywall out of the way, we found four kittens, each about the size of my fist. Plus a mother, who was about the size of a mountain lion, and who scared the bejeebers out of me when I moved the last piece of drywall, and I screamed, and she retreated to a different corner, behind the power saw. So I was scared, because you never know what a mother will do to protect her kittens. Probably turn on the power saw.

Yeah, so apparently, the mother had come in there to have her babies. Cats like to find a nice quiet place to give birth, as opposed to humans, who give birth in a hospital.

Either way, I didn’t want this cat kimpeturing in my garage. So we brought the kittens out of the garage, figuring that the mother would follow. Plus my son wanted a kitten, so I was in a hurry to get them off my property before he started getting ideas.

Then, with the mother still in our garage trying to figure out how to operate the power saw, we brought the kittens to a neighbor, who is an expert on kittens and also, as it turns out, a midwife, who said that we’d probably have to leave the kittens in the garage for six weeks.

Six weeks? Sukkot was in six weeks. And I’d have to get in to dig around and get my sukkah out. I can’t have 5 full-size cats in there.

So we left the kittens near the entrance of the garage overnight, next to the tuna, at the very real risk that another cat would go in and have babies. And in the morning, we found that the mother had made off with two of the kittens. And the tuna.

So apparently, unless the mother and those two babies are still in the garage somewhere, we have two kittens.

Now the truth is I don’t know the first thing about taking care of kittens. But the second thing is that I don’t want them to starve.

I didn’t ask for these kittens. I mean, my kids did. My kids asked for cats, and I kept saying no, because I have kids. Whereas my kids don’t have kids, so they wanted cats.

What my kids don’t realize is that even one kitten is a whole responsibility—you have to feed it every day and force it to bathe and take it to the doctor and cut its toenails and figure out who’s gonna babysit it when you go on vacation, and in return, it never grows up and gives you nachas, and some day you have to figure out how to get rid of the body.

But I have this sense of achrayos, because I kind of feel like this was my fault. I don’t want them to be my kittens, but I don’t want them to die on my account. So the idea is that I’m going to continue to feed them, but I’m not going to go out of my way to give them shots. I’m basically like a hospice.

I also don’t shut them in. I have them living in my kids’ playhouse outside, but I don’t close the door. They can leave. I want them to leave. Every morning I come outside and say, “Oh. You’re still here.”

I don’t even know what to feed kittens. Do they like milk? All we have is cow. Do they like soymilk?

I’m just kidding. Nobody likes soymilk.

So I bought something called cat formula, which is as expensive as baby formula. And now I’m invested, which means they’re probably going to leave. I also discovered that because they’re so young, I can’t just pour it in a dish and expect them to know what to do. I have to bottle feed them out of medicine droppers, which is adorable and takes like three hours out of my day. It’s like having twins. I have to sleep when they sleep… which I hear is 20 hours a day. I can live with that.

Either way, we can’t afford to keep cats and kids, time-wise. Especially since I have to sleep 20 hours a day. And I can’t give my kids away, because kids talk.

I guess my point is, does anyone want kittens? Also, on an unrelated note, does anyone know if it’s legal to mail kittens?

By Mordechai Schmutter

 Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].


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