Before I get into the heart of my story, I need to make one fact very clear – I loathe cats.
Yes, loathe is a strong word, but I feel it’s appropriate. Cats walk around like they own the world. They emit an aura of arrogance that I just cannot tolerate.
I mean, come on cat, you are not better than I am. I have opposable thumbs; I wash with a loofah, not my tongue; I can open my own can of tuna – you are not my intellectual superior.
Ok, I just needed to get that off my chest before I relay a series of events that occurred right here in Quincy. So as you are reading along, I need you to remember that I am not a fan of the feline.
One of the two kittens rescued.
The night began in Quincy. It was about 10:30 on a Friday night, which I am ashamed to say meant that I was tucked warmly into my bed. My friend and fellow intern, Other Anna, as she is so affectionately called, had just rung to see if I was interested in a late-night bite to eat. Ordinarily I would has passed, as I was already in bed, but I was leaving the next day for vacation, so I wanted to say goodbye.
I quickly woke up, changed out of my PJ’s and went to pick up Other Anna (also known as Anna Frank). While I’m thinking of it, I should mention that Anna is only “Other” Anna because I have known myself for 25 years, and I have known her for about two months, so in my mind, I am original Anna. As far as I know, her parents, friends and pretty much anyone other than me call her Anna, without qualification.
Other Anna and I decided to venture into Missouri to go to the 18 Wheeler. Having grown up in New Jersey, I am partial to diners, and it is open 24 hours, so I thought it would be a fun trip to make.
Just as we were crossing the bridge into Missouri, it dawned on me that I didn’t know where I was going. I knew that the 18 Wheeler was somewhere in Taylor, Mo., so in classic Anna-fashion, I figured that we would just find it.
Some how or another, instead of following Route 24 until I reached Taylor, I got off the highway onto what I have now figured out to be County Road 313 – aka the middle of nowhere.
Other Anna and I had just about decided that our night was turning into one of those movies where the two young interns venture out, make a wrong turn and end up the unsuspecting victims of the movie’s deranged villain.
You may be wondering what my story, which has so far detailed my awful sense of direction and lack of planning, began with a rant on cats. Well, just as we had turned around to head back to Quincy, because that is what I usually yell at the movie screen when watching the aforementioned horror movie … just then, with Other Anna in the passenger’s seat, we saw two tiny sets of eyes staring at us from the middle of the road.
I initially thought they belonged to some nighttime vermin that I usually associate with roadkill. But as we passed, Other Anna realized that these ocular orbs belonged to two itsy bitsy kittens.
As I have said before, and as anyone who knows me can attest, I have no affinity for cats so my actions at this point is inexplicable. I had the overwhelming urge to pull over to inspect the kittens in distress. After a few minutes idling in the car, trying to figure out if this was just another scene in a horror movie where Freddie Krueger would jump out of the woods, Other Anna bravely stepped out of the car and scooped up the animals using a blanket from the back of my car.
So now, Anna Oakley, proclaimed cat nemesis, had two kittens in a blanket in her front seat.
Now I don’t know much about kittens. Because they will eventually turn into cats, I try to stay away from them. I was really in uncharted territory with two newborn kittens in my car in Who-Know’s-Where, Mo.
What the heck were we supposed to do now? I don’t want kittens, and Other Anna’s roommate had informed us that her apartment lease had a no pet clause in addition to her landlord living below her apartment.
By this time, it was just about 12:30 a.m., so stopping by the local pet store was not an option, and the emergency vet that we called said we were welcome to drop them off there … as long as we didn’t mind paying for putting the cats to sleep.
If I wanted the death of two kittens on my conscience, I would have just driven past them in the first place. With no one else to turn to, the kittens were our responsibility for the time being.
The only thing I could think to do was keep them in my basement overnight and hope we could figure it out in the morning; before my 10 a.m. flight to Seattle.
After a trip to Wal-mart to buy a cat carrier, a couple of play mice for our new friends and a can of kitten food, we headed to my house with the strays and snuck them into my basement.
As we walked in, the kitchen clock read 2 a.m. so we had spent nearly three hours with the things, so Other Anna and I figured we should give the kittens names. After a brief brainstorming session, we agreed to name them Anna and Anna. It was a natural choice. What’s better than two Annas? Four Annas.
We tucked the Annas into their carrier, gave them their toys and some water and planned to wake up early so the rest of my family wouldn’t catch wise to our new house guests.
As I woke up the next morning, I was in disbelief at what I had done. Anna Oakley, avowed cat-hater, was now playing kennel to two strays. I won’t say that I totally regretted my decision to save them, but I was certainly excited to make them someone else’s project.
Other Anna had agreed to pick the Annas up early so that my parents would remain blissfully ignorant.
It is worth mentioning that my family has never been big on pets. We all have allergies, and the idea of a cat in the house would surely not sit well with the family. I was eager to hide the evidence of my late night escapades.
As I walked down the stairs, much to my dismay, I could see my dad with a tennis racquet in hand, listening to a chorus of meows coming from the basement.
I timidly entered the kitchen as my dad yelled, “Anna, we have some type of infestation. It must be raccoons or some other rodent. Don’t worry though, I’ve called the exterminators, and they are on their way.”
I could tell by the familiar tone in his voice that he knew exactly what was in the basement, and the exterminator had not been called. For him, the tennis racquet was just a convenient prop that he used to scare me.
By assuring my dad that the kittens would be gone before noon, I had earned them a couple more hours’ stay in Chez Oakley.
Soon after, Other Anna showed up with a plan to guilt the local animal shelter into housing the Annas until a suitable home could be found.
The Quincy Animal Shelter ended up taking the Annas off our hands and we hope they will find a loving cat person to adopt them. I think they will, I mean these two kittens got me to pick them up off the road, so anything must be possible.
This has not been a life-changing experience; I still think cats are the mean girls of the animal kingdom. I only hope this incident will give me good cat karma, and they will just leave me alone from now on.