#3. Litter Tracking
Everyone says cats are so easy to deal with because they train themselves, and sure, they will use the litter without any work from you, but it's what happens after that that is the problem. After using the litter, in the litter box, they then do their best to get as much litter out of the box as possible, either by randomly digging in the litter and kicking it out any entrance/exit to the box or by taking it with them on their feet or fur.
This is the only litter box our cats cannot kick litter out of.
Kittens are especially retarded and will go ahead and step in the fresh poo or pee they just made, and then get a wad of litter stuck to their poo foot, and then bolt throughout the house, leaving poo prints everywhere. Our foster kittens did this unintentionally but if your cat is an asshole, like one of our later kittens, and they're unhappy with the way the litter smells, or the cleanliness of the litter box, or can't wait five minutes for you to finish cleaning it, they will go ahead and take a dump on your bed or something. On purpose.
This picture has been going around the Internet and I don't see any reason to doubt it.
#2. Nighttime Partying
Kittens are naturally nocturnal, which means that just when you want to go to bed, they want to party. That means that while we were trying to sleep, they were having cat races and cat MMA matches all over us. They felt that our bed was some kind of dirt-track/Thunderdome combo, which sounds awesome if you are not sleeping in it.
Another popular nighttime activity: King of the Mountain.
And I know in a TV show or a fond memoir, people look back on this with a winking "those little rascals" tone, but in real life, sleep deprivation means screwing up your job or being dangerously unalert on the freeway, not just a boring grown-up's hangdog response to some hilarious mischief.
Sleep deprivation probably also explains our first plan, which was to concede the bedroom to the cats, and sleep on the living room couch. After a week, we did a double-take (sleep deprivation slows down your reaction time) and realized we had been driven out of our own room by three baby kittens. We made a pact and took the bedroom back by force, armed with a soda can full of coins and compressed air spray. They soon learned the Thunderdome was a place of hissing and rattling terror.
A kitten owner's best friend.
That didn't stop them from raising hell at night, they just did it off the bed. And while you can't ever learn to go to sleep while things are jumping and clawing all over you, you can sort of manage it while they're just doing it around you. Sort of.
#1. Saying Goodbye
Kittens aren't forever. If you're fostering, or if your own cat had a litter, you'll have to give at least some of them up once they're old enough to find new homes. You wiped their butts, you cleaned up their barf, you were mutilated and woken up in the middle of the night by them, and now you're supposed to give them away to some stranger. Some stranger who doesn't understand them like you do.
Someone who will put a SAILOR SUIT on them.
And the worst thing is that adopters are going to pick all the best kittens, and leave you with the dregs. We ended up keeping one foster kitten, Sisko, who nobody wanted because he was black.
Sisko's been an awesome cat, but Capt. Kirk was the best cat I ever met and I had to give him away to some family that renamed him Hobbes.
Here is a subtle metaphor for me metaphorically not wanting to let him go: me physically not letting him go.
And even if you're adopting a kitten for keeps, the circle of life is cruel. Every bundle of joy you bring home now is going to be a really sad week for you 10 to 15 years down the line. That's why most psychologists say you should go through life like a robot, having no attachment to any human or animal and taking no emotional risks.
I feel safe saying that because even if anyone agrees with that load of shit, all I have to do is show you a picture of a kitten climbing a tiny tree:
... and that will all go out the window. But don't say I didn't warn you!
Find out why critics say You Might Be A Zombie is the best defense against evil cats when you purchase our new book.
And check out more from Christina in A History of Pop Culture's Obsession with Human/Cat Hybrids and 6 Devious Ways Farmville Gets People Hooked.