The lady at the animal shelter recommended we close our new kitten in the bathroom overnight. “He’ll like the feel of a small space,” she said. “It smoothes out the first-night jitters.”
That first night, our new kitten strutted around the apartment like a gangster. He stood up to our resident cat. He swatted my Seeing Eye dog on the nose. He ate more supper than I. He did everything but demand rent from us.
“I’m not seeing jitters here,” said my wife. The kitten slept on her pillow, purred as loud as a gravel truck and kept her awake all through David Letterman.
The next morning, I foraged the kitchen for breakfast. My favorite is Shredded Wheat and chocolate milk and, as I opened the refrigerator door, I felt a nudge, a bump, an obstacle as the door swung open. “Cat,” I thought. “Cat taking hard knocks for a sniff of leftover meatloaf.”
The solitude I experienced while breakfasting suggested something was amiss. I left my cereal bowl and returned to the kitchen. I opened the refrigerator door and there sat the new kitten, on the bottom shelf, next to the bowl of hard-boiled eggs. “Comfy?” I asked him.
I like to think I’m a responsible pet owner. I like to think my actions have not cost any cat any of its nine lives. I’m certain a kitten could live several hours in a refrigerator. They don’t use much oxygen, after all. And, forty degrees is pretty temperate for Chicago. Still, I don’t think I’ll wise up the cat adoption lady. First of all, she’d be cross that we did not close the cat in the bathroom its first night. And she’d sure second-guess my choice of the refrigerator as that “small space to calm kitty’s first-night jitters.”