jeanine fritz

A fter hearing 30 terrified kittens were huddled and hiding from owls who'd been picking them off one by one in a Lafayette barn, I decided it was time to get myself a new cat.

"It's a massacre out there," texted Bob. "The cutest ones are the first to be sacrificed."

It was difficult not to take all 30 home, but I refrained. I love cats, I love every kind of cat and I want to hug all of them. But I can't... can't hug every cat.

Day One: They've been in my house for three hours. As it turned out, they were not weensy-teensy kitties with huge eyes, headscarves and hobo bindles, ready for a better life. They were large, covered in dirt and hunkered down under the front porch, utterly disinterested in getting into my Pickup truck to freedom, hugs and tiny bow ties.

No owls in sight.

"The lightest-colored ones get eaten first," said the cat wrangler. "Mostly by coyotes and owls. This one's really sweet, take him. Or this little girl over here."

I took both, and felt smug satisfaction in being a savior. Once home, they spent the first five minutes huddled in the cat carrier. I walked away from the poor darlings, giving them a chance to rest. They used this opportunity to slink onto the patio, jump up onto the ledge and stare down from my fourth-floor apartment -- presumably weighing whether leaping towards the drainpipe six feet below would mean escape or certain death. Perhaps they misunderstand my intentions.


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Day Two: I've been awake nonstop since they arrived and finally understand why videos of kittens falling asleep rule the internet; it's rare. Instead of curling up with each other in my lap by the fire as I read them "Pride and Prejudice," they decided to run in circles around the tiny apartment. Not horizontal circles on the floor as you'd expect, but vertical circles, the kind typically associated with rollercoasters, yo-yos and bad acid trips.

At one point, the white one sprung onto the bookcase and, using an antique crystal candleholder as a launching pad, flung himself into the doorway, hanging onto the doorjamb by a single claw, before dropping to the ground. The striped one merely stared from under the bed before lunging at him and promptly throwing up under the armchair. The catnip I bought for them remains locked in a kitchen cabinet, unopened. They will only come near me if I have turkey -- and even then, I must toss it four feet away and avoid eye contact. These kittens are dicks.

Day Three: I must revise my earlier assessment. They aren't dicks; they're frat boys on speed, punching each other, flipping foul-smelling food everywhere, pummeling their toys and my furniture like tiny bullies with pupils the size of dimes. They're insane, monstrous and possibly re-enacting the less savory scenes from "Trainspotting" while I am not in the house.

I'm afraid to invite anyone over now.

"Welcome! These are my kittens, Freddy Kruger and Scarface. I wouldn't recommend going near them, or they'll claw your face off, take your wallet and then insult your grandmother."

Day Four: The white one began yowling last night at 3 a.m. You know that cat on the internet that says, "No, no, no, no-no-no?" (If not, look it up.)

The white one spoke to me while I attempted to sleep.

"Tall Hairless One Who Controls the Turkey: We shall bring you to your knees. We shall break you." Or something like that. I

don't know how much longer I can hold on. I'm nearly out of turkey. My only hope is Stockholm Syndrome kicks in soon and they begin to see me as a kindly captor. If I don't have a column next week, call the cops -- I'm probably slumped under the bed, half-eaten by wild kittens.