There is a loud, resounding crash from the living room. The Flying Fellini Sisters growl, spit and snarl as they try, in vain, to avoid the amiable calamity that is thudding toward our bedroom, cutting its wide, misguided swath down the hallway. I hear a ripping sound, as long, thick, razor claws struggle to pull a small, muscular body up the Tall Lady's tattered handmade quilt to the top of our bed. Closing my eyes tighter, feigning a sound sleep, I ask myself "heads or tails?".
If it's tails, my eyes will open to a long, striped bottle-brush tail swishing back and forth across my face, accompanied by a thunderous, triumphant purr. Heads is a different matter altogether. I feel a small, heavy burden on my chest, and I look up to see the handsome, smiling, yellow kitten teetering unsteadily on top of me. Heads it is then, I think, as the hard, little skull smashes between my eyes like a small, orange rock.
A few seconds after I have been awakened by this unpremeditated Glasgow Kiss, the bedside alarm also informs me that it is six o'clock in the morning, and time for Lemon's breakfast. Whatever other problems our boy may have, there is nothing wrong with his internal clock.
Lemon has cerebellar hypoplasia; he is a wobbler, and he is our tenth foster kitten. People have come to meet him, but when they see how severe his condition is, and hear about his occasional litter-box miscalculations, they decide that he will be too much trouble for them to adopt. I'm beginning to think that he will live with us forever, and that's very much all right with me. He is one of the nicest kittens who's ever stayed with us.
The first three kittens VOKRA placed with us in October 2009 were a perfect delight; pretty, friendly, well-mannered. Mickey Carrington told me later that she had selected the fun kittens for our first batch so that we wouldn't be frightened off by a litter of their ferocious ferals. We have had the ferals since then; we have had the kitten with a physical disability, we have had the mom with the four new babies - we have had a blast.
There is a great satisfaction to this fostering thing. Either your home is graced with an abundance of tame, good-natured kittens, who bring nothing but their trust and curiosity with them, or you are given frightened, savage, manic little balls of claw and fang, and you get to watch them turn into pets.
Our friends ask us if it's hard giving them up to strangers, after having them live with us for so many months. The answer is always yes - tears fall every single time. But it's always worth it. The strangers are always decent and loving, and, the kittens, like my buddy Lemon, leave a great, warm spot in our home long after they've gone.
If you have the time and the space, please consider fostering for VOKRA. We have a great many cats and kittens, and all of our homes are starting to feel pretty small these days. You might get the fun kittens, you might get the new moms and babies, you might get the kitten who needs a bit of special attention - or you may get the poor, sad, old-timer who wasn't allowed to come along when his mom and dad had to move.
Who knows - if you're really lucky, you might just get a Lemon!
To donate to
the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association