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Four Years at the Mount - Senior Year

Senior Year: Kittens!

Julia Mulqueen

(July, 2011) Just a few days ago, I drove to the pet store with my entire family in tow. I had heard about an organization called FURR, which stands for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehabilitation. They were having an adoption day, during which foster parents would bring their foster cats and kittens in so that those who wished to adopt a cat could meet one. We arrived at the store thinking we would bring home a nice kitten who would be a welcome addition to our household.

When we walked into the store, we immediately spotted four black kittens wrestling and playing together in a crate. These four were part of a litter of seven; the other three had already been adopted. Upon meeting their foster mom, we learned that the kittens had had a rough start in life. They were living with a woman who was not able to give them the care they required. She had been feeding them macaroni and cheese, and thus, they were quite malnourished. A concerned neighbor had notified FURR so that the organization could come and rescue the cats.

My father immediately fell in love with one of the females. She was sticking her paw through the crate and batting his hand. He picked her up, and played with her for a while. She was a feisty kitten but she was certainly loving as well. Her foster mother assured us that she was extremely playful and was also used to dealing with dogs. This was a definite perk as our home already contains a seven-year-old yellow Labrador named Riley. So it was settled; we would take her home with us. We just needed a few cat supplies to get us started.

We paced through the store, collecting food, litter, a litter box, and of course, a few toys for our new kitten. The entire time, my father used collective pronouns while he talked. He said things like, "they’ll need a scratching post," and "they will want a bed to snooze in." I looked at my brother, surprised that my dad kept mixing up his words.

Then as we prepared to take the female home, my dad told us to pick out another kitten. After almost fainting from the shock of his words, I eventually walked back to the crate. We chose one of the males. My father said that his reasoning for adopting two kittens instead of one was that because the litter had been through such a traumatic experience together, he believed a brother and sister would adjust to a new home better than a single kitten. So we gingerly placed our two new kittens in their crate and loaded them into our car. As we drove home, I noticed they were curled up snuggly next to each other; adopting the two together had indeed been a good idea.

During the car ride we realized that in all of the excitement we had forgotten to name our two new kittens. Now that we had adopted two, we could choose names that paired nicely. We each threw out a few options but nothing seemed to stick. Then my mother suggested we name them Rice and Beans after her favorite food growing up. We all agreed that the names were a perfect fit for the newest additions to our family.

Upon our arrival at the house, I immediately brought Rice and Beans to my room, set up food and water, and filled up a litter pan for them. Their foster mom had suggested that we start the kittens off in just one room of the house so that they could become acquainted with us without having to meet our Labrador right away.

I let Rice and Beans out of their crate, and they began to poke around my room. Finally, after much sniffing, the two settled down. Rice was still a little afraid and decided to remain under my bed. Beans, however, was much more forward and carved herself out a nice spot on top of my bed.

Our first day with the kittens passed quickly, and they both began to warm up to us as their new owners. We discovered that Rice loves to be cuddled, and Beans enjoys hiding under the bed in order to sneak attack us. We have found that Rice and Beans will wait dutifully for us to come home and expect to be rewarded for their loyalty with tummy rubs. We have also found that our Labrador enjoys having the kittens around. Just this morning, Rice and Beans were batting Riley’s tail around for entertainment, and I am certain that I saw a smile on that pooch’s face.

So the sad story of the kittens’ beginning has turned into a happy one. Rice and Beans have taught us Mulqueens a little something about unconditional love and exceptional joy. What bliss these two furry kittens have brought to our lives! I am so grateful that they are now part of our home, and I look forward to many wonderful years to come with the two of them.

Julia is a senior German and Theology double major.

Read other articles by Julia Mulqueen