By Mike Sokol
It’s spring and time for many animals to give birth to their young. I just happen to have a bunch of brand-new kittens to play with.
I can still remember my first real pet when I was around 5 years old. Frisky was a common farm cat that literally came from my grandparents’ farm. And over the years we’ve had dozens of pets including dogs, fish, gerbils, mice, and an occasional raccoon my sister kept. We’ve also lost many of our furry friends to old age, disease and sometimes road accidents, which is why we now keep our current menagerie in the house and only take them out on a leash occasionally.
So I thought I knew what I was getting into when a skinny black cat showed up at our front door two months ago begging for food and attention. My wife names all of our cats and I’m pretty sure the cats tell her their actual names in secret. How else would she name this new one Nigella (after Nigella Lawson, celebrity chef).
Well, after a month of hanging around outside and getting fed and loved on a regular basis, we decided that Nigella could be a good addition to our household so we took her to the vet’s for a checkup and shots. Low and behold, she was perfectly healthy and a mom-to-be. I sort of guessed this from the additional girth, so no big surprise there. And after another month of waiting we had a batch of kittens. Now, Nigella is all black, and four of the five kittens were also all black. And one was a really dark tabby which we named Nigel Thornberry (yes, from the Wild Thornberrys cartoon series).
It’s been 60 years since I’ve had newborn kittens in my care. Certainly, over the years we’ve had our outside cats bring us their kittens when they were 4 or 5 weeks old. But this is the first time we’ve had kittens in the house starting from minute one. And I was prepared for just how much my paternal instinct would kick in. After all, my wife and I raised three boys into manhood, and we both thought we were done with infants. But sure enough, the moment we touched their furry little heads we were hooked. And right on schedule they opened their eyes at 10 days. Now we had kittens looking back at us. Wow!
Each kitten milestone has been an accelerated version of raising our biological children over a 25-year span. But now it will be only 8 weeks before they’re placed in their new homes. Why is it that no matter now busy I am with business or household duties that I always find a few moments at least several times a day to just hold kittens? When I’m tense I want to hold a kitten. When I’m happy I want to hold a kitten. My wife and I have to greet the kittens at first light so we can watch them open their sleepy little eyes. And we check them at night to make sure everyone is snuggled up with Mom.
So what has caused my paternal (my wife says “maternal”) instincts to kick in? I really don’t know. But the fact is there seems to be something hardwired in each of us to take care of anything small and helpless. We all tend to do it with puppies and kittens and small human babies. But somewhere along the line we forget about this instinct due to the worries and stresses of our daily lives and businesses.
So when you’re feeling stressed, go look at kittens on the Internet. Or better still, find out who has some kittens (or puppies or whatever else floats your boat). For me there’s something very therapeutic about having a big box of kittens nearby to play with anytime I want as a stress reliever. I highly recommend that prescription.
Let’s play safe (with kittens) out there….
Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.