A while back DD asked if we’re getting a kitten. The short answer is, maybe at some point but not right away. The long answer is more complicated. I started thinking about all the "stuff" I've gone through with my kitties and I'm not sure I have it in me to go through all that again. Normal people go to the pound or the pet store and pick out a cute little fur ball, take it home, and love it for fifteen or twenty years. My kitty chronicles are a bit more dramatic. Sitting here, writing this out, the story got pretty long. I broke it down so y'all wouldn't be nodding off before we got to the end.
Ernie was my first kitten. I got her for my 21st birthday, a gift from my then-boyfriend. I was not, technically, allowed to have pets in the apartment I lived it. Okay, technically, I was not supposed to be living in the apartment I was living in. Two of my besties took me in after a very bad fight with my mother (my fault). I crashed on their couch for three months, but I never went back to my mom’s to live. My roommates had a kitten already, a pretty gray and white girl named Sophie. They didn’t mind me bringing home another kitty, so long as we called it Ernie, after a Bette Midler bit they were both partial to. So that’s what we did.
Sophie was not thrilled with the new addition to the family and batted Ernie around like a stuffed mouse. For Ernie’s safety, I kept her crated when I was at work. At night, she slept with me on the sofa. When I was home, she had the run of the place, but I made sure to keep a close eye when Sophie was in the room. Ernie was just a baby when I got my own apartment. I wasn’t allowed pets at that place, either, but I figured I wouldn’t be there long. The landlord had offices in Minneapolis, hours away, so I knew we wouldn’t see much of him. In fact, in three years I never once saw him.
At that point, I worked as a waitress in a diner that served breakfast and lunch. I often left the house at 4 or 5 am. And I often came home to a mess. Ernie would shred toilet paper, dig up house plants, climb curtains…..my boyfriend was the type to send flowers, which Ernie regarded as a salad bar. She ate pretty much any flower, but roses were her favorite. It didn’t matter where I put them. She’d knock the vase over, spilling all the water, and munch away. The most interesting Ernie habit started when she was about six months old. She would jump up onto my dresser, bat at the drawer handle until she got it open, and flick all my underwear onto the floor. She loved to chew the elastic out. Seriously, peeps, I took this picture of her tossing my skivvies. During that time I took classes at the community college, too, and I can remember coming home dog tired only to find the apartment trashed and Ernie stuck at the top of a drapery rod, yowling her fool head off. It was a miracle that we didn't get booted out of that apartment.