Friday, November 16, 2007

Battle Lines Drawn for Nothing

Continued . . .

So we've experienced the long period of expectation and let down concerning the addition of a little kitten into our already bungled jungle, but this was all for nothing.  As it turns out my man had already waved his white flag in the air, just where none of us could see it.  He knew the minute he walked through the door that night and saw the kitten in the house that we all needed a little cuddly kitten.  He's a very smart man, you've got to hand it to him.  I personally think he just wanted to see the lengths I would go to get a kitten because he has not been particularly happy with the cleanliness of the house the past few months and maybe wanted to see if any of us would or could forget about the little joys a kitten/cat could bring.  At some point in this train of events he began the secret hunt of a kitten to no success.  He had not put as much effort into the search as I had silently behind his back and did not know you could rarely find kittens in a pet shop and if you could everyone here knows you just don't get them from there because they are usually infested with all ranges of illnesses.  He unceremoniously confessed his failure in the search and gave me leave to take over for him.  He only requested to be able to pick up the kitten and present him/her to the family as a surprise on his way home from work so that was my aim. 

I had a girlfriend help me with (the Netherlands version of eBay which I do not particularly get along with) to see if there were any remaining litters of little kitten in the Netherlands.  To my utter surprise there were several "nests" within biking range giving me my choice of leads to follow up on.  It all happened rather quickly because I did not want to miss out on any of these last chance offers, so after we arranged a viewing ASAP.  My man had only one request: striped and friendly demeanor.  The baby and I were assigned to the project. 

The trip wound its way along canals and past old country homes and pastures of cows and sheep.  When we arrived at the address a typical Dutch farm house awaited us with large barns surrounded by large pastures, a pen of geese and ducks in the front yard and a rambunctious puppy to jump up and kiss our faces in welcome.  It very much reminded me of my childhood home . . . just another countries version of the same.  I never had luck taming the wild kittens born on my childhood ranch, but I was certain the farm breed was the best there was to find.  The kittens were born and raised in the farmhouse kitchen and a few greeted us by running to the door as we opened it and licked our hands.  I made note of these who showed the obvious signs of preferred social behavior and the first one to the door had caught my eye particularly.  I followed her back to her siblings and picked her up to see how she'd respond.  She purred and curled up in my arms long enough for me to become convinced I'd better put her down if I wanted to ever consider another kitten.  The kittens were of all colors and temperaments and I was particularly tempted in a beautiful white cat with blue spots, but was disenchanted with her shy temperament.  The dominant male of the litter was fat and happy and rolled over to let me rub his belly without so much as a nibble, but when I was informed he was actually the most feisty of the bunch and woke everyone up in the house with his howls at 6am I had to reconsider.  Screech Monkey was taken with every striped red male she could grab, but I did not want another cat which looked so much like my favorite childhood kitten so ignored her interests.  Then she found the kitten I had first laid eyes on and quickly nabbed her up by the tail.  Anyone in his right mind would have quickly grabbed the helpless kitten from the godzilla of a child, but both adults in the room held back their instinctual impulses to observe the outcome.  The kitten didn't resist a single bit and instead limply succumbed to the abuse while hung upside down by it's tail in the hands of this little monster of a child.  It was settled.  She was the cat for our household.  Mother cat cuddled her rescued kitten, the monster was reprimanded, a deal was made, and I left knowing I had gotten the pick of the litter.   Even the owner admitted she was most smitten with the very kitten I'd had my eyes on during the intercourse of the viewing.  Now I only needed to wait an extra week for the rest of the weaning to take it's course and my man could pick up the surprise.

I was all atwitter for the entire week of waiting and could barely keep my joy a secret from the children.  I dreamt of the kitten every night and could barely keep the smile off my face.  I secretly went to our friends pet shop, bought the supplies, and hid them.  We arranged the date to pick up the kitten but Mr. Monkey seemed shocked when I refused to let him carry the kitten in his jacket for the trip home.  Not only did I think neither he nor the kitten would survive the ordeal, but I'd gone and bought a carrier just for the purpose.  We do not have a car, but we have a bike cart; one that he couldn't reason into dragging behind him all the way to work and back when we could meet him at the farm after work.  It just so happens that the day we'd arranged to pick her up was the coldest, wettest, and windiest day we'd seen in the Netherlands all fall.   To convince the little monkey's the trip was worth it I told them we were going somewhere where a surprise was waiting for them.  They'd falsely assumed we were headed towards a theme park or indoor playground and at the sight of a farm at the end of our long and cold journey they were in no mood to be excited.  Our little adventure only charmed the Squirrel Monkey and she joined me in entering the farmhouse where a few remaining kittens lay in a box awaiting their new owners.  My precious dream of a kitten hopped into my arms and purred and my little daughter jumped up and down in excitement upon realization of a dream come true.  We tucked her away into the carrier and returned the long cold journey home.  I have to admit I was a little unsure that the long and cold trip was worth it after such an anticlimactic end, but once we were home and the man and his children were acquainting themselves with the newest addition to our family with smiles and giggles all doubts were forgotten.

Welcome home, Antje!


Six weeks old

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