The Internet is heavily under the influence of the powerful pro-kitten lobby, but I need you to listen to the truth: kittens are terrible and will ruin your life. Once upon a time, these horrible ...
... soulless ...
... disgusting creatures had me duped as well. Like many kittenless couples, we wanted kittens badly. The only drawback (so we thought) was that they'd turn into mean, lazy adult cats someday, and then we'd have to shred them, or however it is you dispose of outdated pets.
My boyfriend found the perfect solution in "kitten fostering." That's when orphaned baby kittens too young to be adopted are raised in a foster home by volunteers until they're old enough to be neutered and put up for permanent adoption. After they're adopted out, the foster family can then foster some new kittens, and you'll never have stupid grown-up cats. "It's like a kitten library!" he said. You just check out fresh kittens, every two months, forever, then give them back when you're done!
So we talked to a rescue organization and came home with Kirk, Picard and Sisko (the fourth would have been named Scott Bakula.)
Same litter, different dads. Yes, cats can do that.
These little angel-faced assholes showed us the reality of raising kittens: unrelenting horror.
Kittens have particularly sharp claws since they're so small, and until they've been trained using the "screaming in pain" method, they see no reason to ever retract them. Our kittens were pretty affectionate, which you think is a positive until you realize more affection means more scars. It's been almost two years since the kittens left. Here's my leg today:
There are two types of scars they'll give you. The first type of scar is a puncture scar, from kittens climbing on your lap and just not bothering to retract their claws. You get anything from minor pincushion pokes to deep blood-drawing punctures. It takes most cats a while to learn the difference between sitting on a person and sitting on an inanimate object and appropriate claw positions for each case. Although you have the occasional cat prodigy, like Kirk, because Kirk was the best cat ever. Keep this in mind for later.
Capt. James T. Kirk: Best Cat Ever.
You also get these scars from "kneading," a cat behavior that looks like kneading dough with their front paws. They do it on bedding, they do it on people they like, and they do it with claws out. Why? Because they're sadists.
The second type of scar is a scratch, which comes from sudden movements, like an adventurous cat trying to climb Mount You (because you're there) and slipping, or a cat wriggling out of your grasp while you're trying to feed it or, rather ironically, clip its nails so that it can't scratch you.
Not a task for the faint-hearted.
Sure, maybe if you're smart, or not clumsy, you can avoid a lot of this, but let's just say that between claw scars and flea bites, the cats have ensured that I will never achieve my dream of becoming a swimsuit model.
Ski wear could still be in the cards!
Before they are a certain age (three to four weeks), orphaned kittens need to be fed from a bottle.
Isn't that cute? Then you have to make them poop. Yeah, that's right. Those adorable little snuggleballs need help peeing and pooping. Usually the mom cat helps them. How? By licking their anus and genitals, of course. And now it's your job!
We actually went with a towel for this, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
Here, practice with this.
Some guides mention that the kitten might not poop right away, which really would have been helpful to know beforehand. We started with Picard, who just wriggled and wouldn't poop, so we let him go. He immediately took a huge dump on the couch. His brother Sisko saw this and was like, "Oh, is this what we're doing?" and took a duplicate dump right there as well.
Let me say I have smelled a lot of poops in my day, and cat poop outstinks them all. We were going to send them back right then and there but they stopped us by looking like this:
For the record, Kirk did not take a dump, and was the first one to poop in the litter box when we brought it out.
Best cat ever, remember?
Kittens are like babies, apparently they get sick all the time. Their immune systems are very vulnerable, and during the foster training, people fill your head with all kinds of horror stories about 10 ways kittens can die in agony if you forget to wash your hands. Like with human babies, though, seasoned parents shrug it off and laugh at the newbies getting all worked up about a harmless sneeze or routine gaping head wound.
"Oh, quit your fussing. He'll be fine."
For us, there were three weeks of nonstop sneezing fits, which in retrospect was adorable, but at the time had me worried to death about cat pneumonia or cat AIDS or something. And then there was a lot of barfing and diarrhea.
Yeah, cat AIDS is a real thing.
We called the cat rescue people a few times and after they gathered that the kittens weren't showing any other symptoms, they basically said, "Just wait it out, they'll be fine." Diarrhea is apparently no big deal unless it's pure liquid. I forgot to mention you don't want to be reading this during breakfast.
There was one point where one of the kittens threw up and then wouldn't eat. He went to lie down and then stopped moving. We separated him from the other two, called the rescue lady, and were getting ready to say the cat last rites when he just got up, started eating and went back to normal, right before she got there. Little fucker was messing with us.
Jean-Luc Picard was not as honorable as his namesake.
Anyway, after a while, when they didn't die or develop cat AIDS, the constant guilt and terror part went away and we were just left with tiny sneezes keeping us awake at night and surprise piles of partially digested food turning up in unexpected places.