Is it any wonder that it was love at first sight for Mary when she saw these kittens?

Is it any wonder that it was love at first sight for Mary when she saw these kittens?

by Mary Gulivindala

Do you have a big mouth? Can you keep a secret? I can’t. My son turned 11 recently. The next day I and my big mouth told him I was going to give him a kitten.

I can keep most secrets, but when it’s about gifts, hold your tongue. I’m a grown woman trapped in a kindergartener body. Actually kindergarteners keep secrets better than I. I was the kid who shook the Christmas presents that I investigated like Nancy Drew.

I have always had a multi-animal household. If I have one dog, why not another? I still have to walk the one; right? Well, now it’s kitten time! I started my family when I adopted my beloved dog Lucy and cat Thomas 17 years ago at the same time. To this day I don’t know why I got two animals at the same time. It was a divine intervention for all of us.

Eight years later I added Henri, our Papillion. If you’re a softie, don’t watch the Westminster Dog Show; like many, I fell prey to their adorable dogs. Both years I adopted my two dogs, guess what? Their breeds won “Best in Show.”

Lucy died in 2010 at the wonderful old age of 14. I had planned a few more years with her, but I forgot that I’m not GOD. In August last year Thomas died at 16, same deal. As any pet owner will tell you, the death of a family animal is heartbreaking. I think grief is a beautiful thing. It changes, but it doesn’t have an expiration date. I remind myself of that when I call out and say, “Lucy needs a walk,” and my son says, “Mom, you said ‘Lucy.’” It has been 15 months since Thomas died, and I’m still waiting for him to come sleep on my head.

I will never forget the feeling the first time I looked at Henri and realized he was the only dog in the house. It broke my heart. My first thought was: “I have to get him a companion.” My second was: “No, I can’t; I’m not ready.” My heart was just not ready. Pets aren’t a novelty, a toy that is played with for a bit and then put aside. They are a privilege and a responsibility that I take seriously. If and when the time came, I would be prepared. Now I am.

With my mind made up, I called Len Lear, the notorious animal lover and Local Life editor of this publication, to ask if he knew where I could look for a kitten. Within a second or two he returned my email with names of organizations that rescue cats. My journey began with Green Street Rescue, greenstreetrescue.org.

I filled out the adoption papers and was sent photos of cats and kittens in need of good homes. Here’s where it gets tough; they all need homes, and I can’t adopt them all, and that sucks. I was ready to see a litter of three male kittens. I emailed the foster mom and set up an appointment. That happened last night. (My son James just bounced down the steps at 7:37 a.m., and the first thing out of his mouth was “kittens,” with a big smile.)

We had to meet the kittens to make sure we would all be a happy family. Could I have waited until James’ birthday and given him a KitKat candy bar with a photo of the kittens? Yes, but when I saw the photos, I was hook, line and sunk. Also I had to prepare James, you know, videos and shopping lists to prepare our lair? OK; label me a big mouth with a big smile. I’m guilty!

Now comes the next soul-searching dilemma. Are two cats better than one? My plan was one, only one, but when I asked my trusted friends on Facebook, they all came back with “Get two.” The reason why flooded in. Happily resigned to getting two kittens, James and I drove to meet them. After we got there, we sat with our new babies, grateful to find out the third kitten in the litter would be adopted too. I could not get three. NO, MARY, YOU CANNOT GET THREE!

Now we are waiting for the arrival of our two new family members in a week or so. Can we wait? We have to. How will we spend that time? Looking at the pictures, reading articles and watching videos on the how-TWOS of kittens.

There is a saying that you’re only as sick as your secrets. I was love-sick the minute I saw the photos of the kittens, so I could not keep the secret from my son that he would be getting two new family members as a birthday present. That is my defense. I rest my case.