Preparing For Grace, Our New Cat Daughter

by Kevin Burton

   There is a very small area rug on the floor in the laundry room.

   Unlike the many other things on the floor in the basement, this one is there for a reason, a good reason. 

   This one marks the space where the food and water will go for our new cat when we get her.

   It’s been almost two years since my beloved Mex died.  I am preparing my heart and basement for the next one.

   This one will be the first K&J cat.  Mex was a stepcat to my wife Jeannette.  I brought Mex into the marriage. The next one we pick out together.

   After Mex swung on and missed a cricket on the back curtains, leaving a hole, we said our next cat would have to be declawed.

    Since then we have acquired some furniture including a footstool my grandmother built. We’d rather not have our stuff torn up by frenzied claws, but we want an indoor cat, preferably a female kitten.

    In the old days nobody talked about the damage, including chronic pain, that declawing does to cats.  After looking into it just a little bit and talking to some animal-loving friends, we’ve decided against having a cat declawed. I briefly gave up on the idea of having any more cats because of that.

   Last month I did a story on Save The Kitties, a local agency that rescues cats and puts them out for adoption (“Derby Non-profit Is All About The Cats,” Sept. 8). 

   Save the Kitties founder Hannah Spelts told me they often take in younger cats that have been declawed.  We figure this is our only way back into cat parenthood.  When we are ready, we plan to visit Hannah and her furry friends and see what develops.

   Our first hurdle is to declutter the house and garage.  We took in a lot of items when my mother moved to a smaller place and could not keep all her belongings. 

   “Let’s have a garage sale,” I said. “We’ll sell most of this stuff and give away the rest.”   We’ve had two decent sales over the years.

   We agreed beforehand that a $200 sale would mean we would definitely plan one again. If we made between $100 and $200 we would consider it. If we made less than $100 this would be the last sale ever.

   So we had the garage sale to end all garage sales, meaning we sold next to nothing. We didn’t even make enough to recoup what we paid for the garage sale permit and a newspaper ad.  We think, maybe, by offering the remainder to some of mom’s friends at prices even lower than garage sale prices, we can at least recoup that much.

   But no more garage sales, ever.

   Once we have sold things to mom’s friends and or given them away we will regain the use of the other half of our garage and make the house look more like living quarters instead of a secondhand store.

   Thus we can restore the place to some level of sanity. Then we’ll get a kitten and see how long that sanity lasts!

   To be serious here, having a cat to care for will almost certainly be a positive thing, a de-stresser in the quarantine, social-distancing era. A little feline craziness should brighten the place.

   Given our stand against declawing, this will probably be an older kitten of six to eight months or so. Actually the industry pros consider a cat of six months to be an adult.  On those terms, we’ll likely end up with a young adult cat.

   Mex was never declawed because she made me mad by chewing up a pair of headphones.  I was thinking of giving her away and thought it wouldn’t be fair to have her declawed, not knowing whether she would be in an indoor or outdoor cat. 

    So I’m thinking, would Mex approve of our getting a new cat? 

   If she could, she’d probably say, “it’s a little late to get me a snack, don’t you think?”

   The first cat that I had as an adult was a sweety. Mex was a creature who came not with a pedigree, but a rap sheet.

   They say you get the pet that you deserve. So I wonder what is in store for Jeannette and me.  I hope we get a cat closer to what she deserves than to what I deserve.

   We have already picked out the name “Grace” for our new arrival. We hope she lives up to that.

  We just have to sell a few cups and saucers, then we can find out.

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