Kittens in the Ceiling

Dotsie is helping me type this story.  Dotsie is a cat, and as anyone with a cat knows, they love to help out by walking around on the keyboard.  Dotsie got her name because she has two distinctive dots on her pretty face, while her sister Foosball, who looks almost exactly like Dotsie, is dot-less.  As kittens they were hard to tell apart except for the dots, so we called one kitten Dot and the other NotDot, but when we started affectionately calling Dot “Dotsie” we had to find a new name for NotDot, because “Notsie” sounded bad.  (Nobody wants to hear, “Look at that cute little Notsie.”)

Now NotDot is Foosball for reasons that are too convoluted to describe.  The other two cats are named Zigzag (because she careens all over the place) and Squeezer (because every time you see her you want to squeeze her).  Dotsie and the others are from a litter of five feral kittens that arrived at my then-girlfriend Karen’s house via an unusual entryway, but to understand our kitties’ debut you need to know a little about Karen.

Karen is the sweetest, kindest person I’ve ever met.  To know her is to love her, but she’s a nut.  I don’t just mean she’s a bit kooky, I mean she’s been diagnosed, and her cellphone provides an example of what I’m talking about.  Karen’s business involves never-ending telephone arrangements, but Karen, frankly, can’t manage a cellphone.  She loses it, the battery goes dead, her voice mailbox fills up, she forgets to pay the bill.  I can’t tell you how much time we’ve spent walking around with my cellphone, calling Karen’s cellphone, hoping to hear it ring.  We once found it in the engine compartment of her car.

One day, eight years ago in her living room, Karen said to me, “There are kittens in the ceiling.”

I said, “Say again?”

“There are kittens in the ceiling, you can hear them.”

Karen led me into the kitchen, where we gazed up and listened for several minutes, but there was no sound.  We reenacted the same scene twice more over the next several days, with me rolling my eyes each time, but three turned out to be a charm because a day later I heard kittens in the ceiling.  Karen was right and I was wrong, so maybe I’m a nut too.

It took several hours to figure out how they got into the attic (mama kitty had found a cat-sized hole in one of the eaves) and how to get them out (remove a soffit—the piece of wood that runs under the eave overhang to close off the rafters).  With the soffit out of the way, and after removing some insulation from between the rafters, we could see into the attic via a four-inch high slot.  But before we could even fire up our flashlights, five tiny kittens had waddled up to the hole, mewing.  They looked about two weeks old, which means their eyes should have been open, but three of the kittens had one eye crusted shut with puss, and another was bleeding from the ear.  First we shot a video, which we enjoy to this day (and which testifies to what I’m saying), and then we took the kittens down.  We had to feed them from kitty bottles for a week, and one died, but Karen and I still care for the other four.

I’m wild about Dotsie, Foosball, Zigzag, and Squeezer.  Why else would I rather watch our cats than watch the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders?  (Granted, a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader has never curled up in my lap or licked my hand, though I’m open to the idea.)  Am I abnormal?  According to the Pew Research Center, 78% of cat owners consider their pet to be a member of the family, and 84% describe the relationship with their cat as “close.”  In talking about their own parents, 87% of the same owners say Mom is “close,” but Dad trails the entire menagerie at 74%.

Those cats have changed my life for the better, and that’s all I have to say.  But Dotsie would like to add something:  TYas!oitu093 4kt;kl’mgm DSS#l65U9.