It was as though the world had unleashed a Ninja-sized nope card on me, this weekend.
On my vacation, last week, DW and I rented a camper van, packed up the kids, and hit Prince Edward County and the St.Lawrence Seaway before we returned the kids home and continued on to the Montreal area and up to Joliette.
To keep our teenaged, technology-prone daughters occupied at night in our four-person mobile home, we picked up a card game that we thought would keep them engaged while their electronic devices were charging. That game was Exploding Kittens.
Turns out, the girls had played it before. Luckily, they loved the game.
One of my favourite cards was the NOPE card, which you could play at any time to negate the action of any other player's move. Except, it doesn't save you from an Exploding Kitten card.
For today's blog post, I meant to write about the adventures in travelling with my family in a camper van, but this weekend, in real life, played a giant NOPE card on me.
Instead, a real-life kitten exploded onto the Brownfoot scene.
It all stared with a conversation between DD14 and me, in Picton.
"Dad, I want a cat."
"We have a cat," I answered, "Edwin's been our cat for more than 12 years."
"No, Dad, I want my own cat. I want a kitten."
"I thought you wanted a dog." For almost as long as she's been able to speak, DD14 has told me that she has wanted a dog. My response has always been that we were not going to get a dog because I don't like dogs. And that's putting it mildly. I hate dogs. Can't stand to be near one.
I've always told her that there were three ways in which she could get a dog: one, that she get one when she is ready to live on her own; two, if I should die while she is still living at home; three, that her mother would kick me out of the house while she is still living at home.
Earlier this year, DW joined DD14's cause, and brought a dog home. I moved out of the house for a couple of days, and (luckily, for me) when the girls decided that they'd rather have me than a dog, our household returned to normal.
Both DW and DD14 still reminded me, daily, that they wanted a dog.
"I thought you wanted a dog," I said.
"I still do, but if you get me a kitten, I won't ever ask you for a dog again."
"I'm not sure that I believe you," I said. "If I get you a kitten, what's to prevent you from still telling me that you want a dog."
"I promise," she said. "I want a kitten that I can raise, and when I go away for university, I can take it with me. When I get a place of my own, I'll get a dog."
DD14 was very responsible with the dog in the time that she had it. She was true to her word in keeping it away from me, in taking it for walks, in keeping it fed and cleaning up after it. For 14, she was extremely responsible.
"I'll think about it," I promised.
She knows I have a soft spot for cats. I've lived with many cats, growing up with my parents. I've owned three cats since I've lived with DW.
This weekend, I've been formulating a blog post about our vacation, listing the pros and cons of travelling in a camper van. Providing tips for keeping the kids engaged, like having marshmallows with camp fires and games to play, like Exploding Kittens.
This weekend, we went shopping for kittens. We went to our Barrhaven Pet Smart and Pet Value: one had a kitten that was one year old; the other, a six-year-old. Both were nice cats but didn't meet the criteria of DD14.
On Sunday—yesterday—we went to the Ottawa Humane Society. It was crowded with lots of people and a group that was celebrating a birthday. It was a grey and rainy day, but the people came, none the less.
We found her, right away. A female, only three months old. A tortoiseshell coat, playful, yet cuddly. It also was a polydactyl kitten: six digits on one front paw, seven on the other, five on each hind paw.
A face to die for.
It climbed onto the laps of both daughters—something our older cat would never do. It curled up on my chest and fell asleep, winning me over.
DW and I first inquired at the adoption desk because there was no information attached to the kitten's cage. Only a small sign read "Not available yet." At the desk, we were told that the kitten was still awaiting final clearance from the vet. She had been found on the street at a very young age and had been fostered for the past two months. She had feline herpes, which caused her mild respiratory problems and discharges through the eyes and nose. While she wasn't contagious to humans, other cats were susceptible.
We returned to the visiting room and it was apparent that both DD14 and DD16 had bonded with the little cutie. I explained the situation to the girls and they said that we would have to check daily to see when she would be available. I researched feline herpes, and the symptoms matched many that Edwin would exhibit from time to time.
I returned to the desk and requested that a hold be placed on the kitten. The Humane Society, I was told, does not place holds on cats that haven't been cleared by the vet. "It's too big a risk if you develop an attachment and place hope, only to find that there are problems and the cat can't be cleared. Too much sorrow."
In other words, if an animal can't be cleared, it's snuffed out.
"What can I do?"
The assistant gave me the registration number of the cat. "You can call any time to check the status. As soon as she's been cleared, we'll also post her on our Web site."
There was no way that the cat would last long once she was listed. She was way too adorable.
The assistant gave me a form to fill out, anyway. I returned to the visiting room, to be with the kids and the cat while I filled out the form. The kitten climbed up on me and fell asleep while I worked.
DD14 and I returned to the adoption desk once the form was filled out, for one last plea. The assistant looked at the form, agreed that it would be a good fit.
"We'll do anything to bring her home," I said. She looked at me, looked at DD14, and said, as soon as she's cleared. She went to her computer and typed in the kitten's registration number. Earlier, she had relied on the printed records for the cat.
"Oh," she said, "it looks like the vet has just cleared her. She's now available for adoption."
"No," I corrected, "she's not available. She's just been adopted."
More administrative work. I had to drive home to retrieve our carrier. We tried to pick a name for our new family member: Kiki, Sienna, Pia, Molly, Sasha. We looked up foreign words for paws, toes, feet.
We've come close to Sasha, but it's not official as of my writing this post.
This post was supposed to be about our vacation, our travels in a camper van. Of playing Exploding Kittens.
A real-life kitten has exploded on the scene. I'll have to share our travels another time.