How To Succeed in Acquiring 5,000 Kittens (Without Really Trying)

Nearly all of our family pets growing up were found in a ditch.  In the rain.

There were so many pets found in ditches in the rain, you would think our neighborhood was a Serbian battlefield in World War I.

Now, it’s important to know that “ditch in the rain” was really secret code for “not actually a ditch in the rain”.

I can assure that this little loverboy, Oscar, snuggling with me in my acidwashed jeans, was found in neither a ditch nor the rain.

“Ditch in the rain” could mean many, many things.  It could mean that a guy outside the grocery store had a box of kittens with the word “Free” written on the side of it.

It could mean that your friend’s mom told her she had to get rid of her pet rabbit because the new baby was allergic.

Most often it meant that your friend from a few blocks over had a cat that had kittens and her father told her if she didn’t find homes for all of them by the time they were eight weeks old that he’d take them to the pound.

I’ve gotta tell you, as sad a story as the truth may have been, it wasn’t usually going to get the job done with my mother.  If you had the audacity to show up at home one evening with YET ANOTHER kitten, that kitten better have one hell of a backstory.  You damn well better had found that kitten in a ditch in the rain.

This kitten?  This kitten was no ordinary unwanted kitten.  Hell no!  This was a lone, abandoned kitten with no support system, no one to care for it.

Gorgeous and sweet Fujita, also not found in a ditch in the rain.

This was a wet, orphaned, shivering cold kitten wandering the night alone, frightened and helpless.

K.C., also not found in a ditch in the rain.

This kitten had been through hell, and all it wanted was to be warm and dry and held.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Just to be held and safe?  Isn’t this kitten really all of us?

This kitten was part of the huddled masses, yearning to be free as its Trans-Atlantic ship approached Ellis Island in the 1800s.

Although one of these cats was found outside a Wendy’s, and we therefore named him “Wendell”, none of these cats were found in a ditch in the rain.

This was:

The Saddest Kitten in The World.

As Mom said, “Nope.  No more.  I am not taking in one more damn kitten!  End of discussion!” you’d hold it up to her face until it let out a teeny, tiny kitten meow.

Then the promise went as follows.  Let’s all say it together:

“Please let me just take care of her tonight, and I promise I’ll find a home for her tomorrow morning!”

This is why it’s important to bring the ditch rain kitten home in the evening.  If you brought it home at 10am, you’d have plenty of daylight hours left to pretend you were trying to find it a home.

But it’s late!  It’s dark out!  This kitten needs to spend the night!

So without fail, within a few hours and when you were getting ready for bed, you’d peek around the corner from the hallway in your Rainbow Brite nightgown to see your mother holding the kitten on her chest, petting its tiny head with her thumb and whispering, “It’s okay, little one.  It’s okay.”

Then you knew that kitten was IN.

There was no way that kitten was leaving for at least the rest of its natural life, and it would be lovingly buried in the backyard eighteen years later after a long and happy life.

The only other way you acquired pets was when your own existing ditch rain pets gave birth.  This was because most people in our neighborhood were really, really, tragically terrible about spaying and neutering.

(As an adult, I used to trap the strays in my old neighborhood and take them to the nonprofit vet clinic in our area and have them spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, and microchipped for fifty dollars a pop, but fifty bucks to anyone back then in the neighborhood may as well have been a thousand.  It’s terrible, I know, but it’s the way it was.  I’m such a big supporter of low cost spay and neuter clinics, it absolutely guts me when I think of the animal situation in our neighborhood when we were kids.)

So when you were a kid and your own cat had kittens, you had to sort of work the ol’ “ditch in the rain” in reverse.

Your mom would say, “You said you would find homes for all of these kittens!”

Yeah, right.  Like I was giving up these kittens.

Then you would just answer, “I went door to door ALL DAY asking if anyone wanted one!  I even put up a sign down at the pond!”

You did none of these things, of course.

“I don’t know what else to do!  I think we may have to just keep them!”

Then she would say, “No.  Absolutely not.  End of discussion.”

Then you would scoop up all of the kittens, hold them towards her face in a chorus in teeny, tiny kitten meows and say, “What should I do?  Put them all in the ditch??  And I heard the weather man on the news say it was going to rain tonight!”

28 thoughts on “How To Succeed in Acquiring 5,000 Kittens (Without Really Trying)

  1. Oh my gawd……I still do this. I have a rescue cat named Charlie Bruiser O’Houlihan and he’s been my cuddle buddy for over a year now. I can’t even imagine him living in a ditch in the rain, well hypothetically speaking of course. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved this.

    My current cat came from an artificial rain-soaked ditch–we got him from the shelter. They had him from two weeks old and had to bottle-feed him because the precious mite didn’t have a mother and now he’s the sweetest, cuddliest arsehole to rain terror down upon a domestic stronghold ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All our cats have been rescued from a metaphorical ditch in the rain: Pomme came from the refuge, Millie was going to be drowned as nobody wanted her, Bib was picked up as a 6 week old kitten from Michelin’s R&D site, and Jasper was rescued from the streets where we think he’d been abandoned because he’s a Biter. He doesn’t really know how to show/accept love-and-cuddles without getting over excited and Biting. He is about 8 kg and has big strong jaws to match. But we love him dearly

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are catless. I have sworn to my second son that if one shows up, homeless, it can stay. To date, nada. Even planted catnip last summer. I figured my patio would be a cat drug den, but no. So either my neighborhood is all indoor kitties or we have really well fed coyotes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I love the idea of planting catnip in the yard to attract them! I planted it in my yard one time, and a bunch of them must have descended on it overnight, because when I woke up the plants were COMPLETELY smushed and flattened.

      Maybe pop open a couple cans of tuna and put a fan behind them? 😁


  5. Our cat was found in a ditch in the rain. Possibly. His owners moved and left him behind. Apparently neighbours put out food for him, but one night he was found badly injured with a crushed leg and broken jaw and handed over to the RSPCA (UK animal charity). Luckily as he was a young cat, the vet decided against euthanasia and gave him a chance, keeping him there all that Christmas and New Year. We then adopted him and that was 12 years ago. I’ve just brought him back from the vets after having his annual once over. Cost me a bloody fortune! What an amazing Mum you have, and what a generous family you are, giving all those kittens a loving home 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How strange I was just replying to a post about curiosity opening doors and I told the tale of one of my beautiful cats I once had and the next post I opened was this! Curiosity opens doors, allegedly curiosity also killed the cat. Some years ago when I first moved to the countryside I brought my town cat with me, he was used to crossing roads and went all over the place in perfect safety. Unfortunately in the country he crossed the road we live on which has very little traffic especially at night and was run over and killed. I have no idea what sparked his curiosity to see what was on the other side of the road.


    1. I”m cat-free nowadays, as the husband is allergic and I’m enjoying my pet-free responsibility-free time right now, but I do miss having a cat around sometimes! Luckily, we do have a few outdoor cats that live on our quiet street, so I do still get to see some every day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cute and sad at the same time. Cats are terrible even if you have told to everybod you don’t want a cat, one day you suddenly have one she just moved in slowly, slowly ! You have nothing to say anymore, the cat is the boss !
    In Belgium there is a new law now since Jan 1st, all cats have to be spayed when you adopt one. Which I think is a very good idea !

    Liked by 1 person

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