Late last month, our house turned into a cat shelter.
I guess that’s not entirely accurate, since our house has been a cat shelter for over five years, with a back room and a basement room dedicated to Guardian Angels Cat Rescue, the cat shelter organization my wife runs with a few of her fellow cat ladies.
But what is accurate is that a few weeks ago, my wife hosted a “thank you” brunch for about two dozen of her shelter volunteers. Tireless volunteers who help shelter kittens in their homes, provide significant funding, help with the Saturday adoption days, or provide medical care as needed.
My wife’s an amazing cook, especially for brunches. Brunches are a well-publicized treat in our household, with enough food to typically feed twice as many guests, regardless of the number of visitors. At least no one ever leaves hungry, and everybody leaves with doggie bags (kitty bags?). Anyway, I digress.
So picture two dozen cat volunteers with plenty of food and drink sitting down for a meal. Guess what they talk about? You guessed it — cats. Herewith are the top lines I heard while sitting there amongst the cat ladies (there was actually one guy present, but he was basically silent. As was I. We’re not stupid, you know.)
- “The European Persians have a more normal face. It’s the Americans who have been cross-breeding.”
- “Years ago I used to go trap cats every Thursday night.” “Really? You sure know how to have fun.”
- “She is always happy to help, even when she is asked to take a bag of crap to the trash. ‘Oh, I’ll do that’ she always says.”
And then this exchange around an apparently sick kitten:
- “She doesn’t look right. She’s sleeping in the litterbox.”
- “I agree. I think she’s depressed.”
- “Well, how do her nipples look?”
How about a few more?
- “You know, since you’re six months pregnant we could have you nursing kittens out there. It will get you some practice. Just be careful, because some of them have teeth and some don’t.”
- “In my next life I want to be a cat.” “Really? I don’t believe in the after life, but I do love Church fairs.”
And finally, this discussion around why a kitten won’t eat.
- Cat Lady #1: “Well, have you given it a choice? Maybe it doesn’t like that kind of food.”
- Cat Lady #2: “I put 12 cans of food out.”
- Cat Lady #3: “Did you show it the food?”
- Cat Lady #2: “I put the food on its nose.”
- Cat Lady #4: “I’d put it out by the dog food. They’ll want it more.”
- Cat Lady #2: “I haven’t tried that before.”
- Cat Lady #5: “Have you tried chewing it first? Maybe that would help. Chew it, and then spit it out.”
This was the exact moment when I excused myself, cleared my plate, and went far, far away.
(Note: They may be a bit crazy, but they are tireless defenders of the kittens. And I’ve been married for 27 years to one of the most dedicated crazies of all so I’m a bit biased. Hop on board and help if you can — volunteer or donate money HERE. Every little bit helps.)
I'm Glenn Engler, Global Chief of Staff & Director of Corporate Strategy at Edelman. Husband, father, sports junkie.