|Holly & Arthur (snapped from my cell phone, in a compromising position...)|
Not usually the preamble to a good joke, but lately I'm seriously starting to think it should be. I'm writing this post before we have a firm conclusion to the story, but won't post it until I have the final update at the end. You never know who's reading, right? (Note: this was written several weeks ago, updated at the end...)
I'm sorry this post is so long, but the implied / perceived disability prejudice had to be rolled out in its entirety - I'd love your opinions here!
Our odyssey to adopt 2 kittens to fill the kitty-shaped holes in our hearts began on Saturday, when we learned that a local shelter would be bringing their cats to the Petsmart in a neighboring town. Samantha, previously excited at the prospect, decided at the last minute that she didn't want to do it after all. I think she was just in a groove, playing at home, and didn't feel up to going out. When I asked her once more if she wanted to go pick out two kittens, she said, "No kittens! A dog."
So we drove to Petsmart, veterinarian file in-hand as proof of our devotion to our pets, to show that we really are responsible pet owners. And we saw two beautiful, 4-month old kittens who had been born feral, but have been domesticated for the last 2 months. And we talked to the person who has been fostering them, who answered our questions, told us how much she loves them, put one in Samantha's lap to pet. And we submitted our application to the woman from the shelter, providing more information than even the Secret Service would require for a position on the President's personal detail, giving 3 references for her to call. The woman from the shelter quizzed us, asking way more questions than we'd come prepared to answer (not once but twice we were asked if we would declaw them, and if we'd have them as indoor or outdoor cats), including what evolved into the following conversation:
Her (motioning to Samantha): How old is she? 4? 5?
Me: She's 6.
Her (sounding surprised): Oh! I just wanted to ask because we usually don't adopt kittens to families with children younger than 5. You never know, a young child might just wonder what would happen if you were to flush a kitten in the toilet, or something like that.
I just laughed, and agreed.
In the meantime, a tired Samantha had a hissy fit because she wanted to open the cages to pet the cats. Tears flowing, her stubborn gene kicked into full gear, she wanted nothing more than to get close to the kitties. Not quite the display of maturity I'd hoped to show off to the shelter lady...
...who told us she'd likely conclude the investigation by Monday or Tuesday, and would give us a call to arrange a time for the cats to be dropped off at our house.
Hooray! Sounds awesome!
Walking through the front door after returning from Petsmart, our home phone was ringing.
It was the woman from the shelter.
When we saw who it was, Steve joked to me that either she was calling to tell us that we could go ahead and have the cats, or she had concerns.
He took the call. And discovered that he was right. She had concerns.
About what? I heard him tell her that we've been cat owners forever, and Samantha had grown up with cats. He stressed how gentle Sammi is with cats. Little alarm bells went off throughout my head. Could we be experiencing prejudice? Ordinarily we'd never deign to jump to that conclusion. But there was just something... I kept that thought to myself.
The shelter lady said okay, and then reiterated that she'd be back in touch after she concluded the investigation.
My friends that I'd included as references all reported back to me that they'd received calls from her and given glowing reports. Great, we should hear back from her soon... And we did. By way of a phone call to tell us that she had concerns about skittish cats being placed in a home with a small child. Wouldn't we perhaps be interested in a different pair of kittens, ones that would purr more, would be more affectionate? Well, sure, but we've committed to these kittens.
Besides, did she just say skittish? Nobody had ever said anything about skittish. The woman fostering the cats said they were lovely and sweet, and loved to play. The adoption pages for both cats on the shelter's website said nothing but sweet, loving things about them. The kittens showed absolutely no signs of being skittish when they were caged and on display in the store, allowing countless hands to pet and paw them as they tried to sleep amid all the bustle. They showed absolutely no signs of being skittish when the foster-mom placed one on Samantha's lap. He didn't squirm or react with fright, he just did what comes naturally, and tried to jump down.
We reiterated that we were just. fine. with these two cats, that we were anxious to conclude the process and get them home.
The next night, another call. Short of starting to think we're being stalked, Steve humored her with amazing self-control, and explained, in answer to her ridiculous question, that our vet only had 3 years of records, going back to 2009, because we only just moved to our town in 2009 and prior to that our cats had been insanely healthy.
Next question? (and here's where Steve nearly lost his cool...)
Crazy Cat Lady: Let's do this... The couple who are fostering the cats are going away this weekend. Why don't we have them bring them to your house, and you can take care of them while they're away, and we can see how things go.
Uh, no thank you. If they're coming to our house, they're coming here for good. We're getting pretty sick of jumping through hoops for these people, and are this close to calling it off and finding kittens from another source. It's not like they're not out there.
Steve told her that her idea was not in any way, shape or form a good idea. She relented, and said okay. She'd contact the couple and have them get in contact with us to find a day/time this week to "deliver" the kittens to us (weird choice of words - like they're furniture or something).
It was then that Steve asked me if I had the thought that perhaps she was uncomfortable with Samantha's disability.
Now we were both on the same page.
He said that if they came back to us once more with questions or concerns, he was going to come out with it, ask her point blank if that was an issue.
And now we wait.
I want so much to post this before we have the cats in our home, but I had exchanged e-mails with the shelter lady, and know that my blog address was in my e-mail signature. I don't want to jeopardize the process if she happens to catch this post before the exchange of money ($100+ each, but it includes spaying/neutering) for cats can take place.
We're adopting cats, not children!! I'm surprised they didn't want to tour our house first, do a home study, request our fingerprints...
UPDATE: We found out that the adoption isn't fully complete until after spaying and neutering, which just occured on Monday, so I've had to delay this post for quite some time. The cats have now been in our house for a month, happy as little furry clams. They rule the roost, purr all the time, follow us everywhere, and sleep on the bed every night. Samantha is wonderful with them, and they love her. I saw the adoption lady a few weeks ago and she asked how things were going. I told her how amazing they are. Her response? A very surprised "Oh, I guess I was wrong!" Yes, lady, you were. Thanks for pissing us off so beautifully. But thanks for letting us have these amazing little additions to our family.