"Aaaahhh!" said the children, sure that the pound and a half sack of skin and bones and fur and huge green eyes with no meow had in mind to do them bodily harm.
"Oh gosh," says I. I rolled my eyes. Pet peeve: the way my kids are so thoroughly terrified of every single life form, in the manner of all of their Israeli friends. (Yes, the fly is going to eat you! It is going to strip your skeleton clean and dance on your bleached and petrified bones! It is a wild and insane creature, so it makes sense to scream so loud at two in the morning that I ran in full Mamma Bear mode into your bedroom with a seven-inch butcher knife! Shall I skewer the fly with it?) "It's not going to hurt you! It won't do anything to you!"
And with pride goeth the fall.
I scooped the kitten up.
Yes, I did that.
Yes, I to answer the question of "what have you done?" I now know What I Have Done.
But then, I didn't. Then I was a kitten-innocent, a kitten-virgin. I cradled the pathetic thing to show my cringing children who were in the process of pulling my skirt off in terror that there was nothing to be afraid of. "Fear not!" quoth I. "For this kitten is naught but a starving creature who craves water and mayhaps some of those hot dogs that I left on the stove from yesterday's dinner by accident."
And I filled a dish with water and a second with hot dogs, took them and the kitten a distance away from the house, and let her at it.
The next morning, there was a slight scratching at the door.
It was she.
"Aaaahhhh!" said the children.
But I just so happened to have left some chicken wings out on the counter. (Coincidence? I think not. There is no such thing as coincidence. It was divinely orchestrated that I feed the poor creature! I saw Hashem's hand in this! So clearly! This obviously has nothing to do with me leaving the kitchen a complete and utter disaster two nights in a row. None at all.)
And then...she was waiting for us when we came home. And then she followed us to the park. And then from countless nights of leaving food out that cats just so happen to thrive on, she began frolicking and the light came back into her eyes and in gratitude, she took to jumping in from the window or running under our feet the second the door opens. I am yours, she says with her little twitchy tail.
"Kitten in the house!" we holler, and someone runs to scoop up the kitten and lightly toss it far enough to give him/her time to run back inside and close the door.
We are prisoners in our own home. We live in abject fear of the kitten.
Until yesterday. When we flattened her with a steamroller.
Yeah, no, similar. But even worse.
We started finding her cute.
We started chasing away neighborhood kids who came to bother her, bigger cats who hissed at her, and then that fateful dark hour when she got into the house in some mysterious way and we woke up at two in the morning to find her lying in a ball of her own adorable-ness at our feet.
"Aw," says I.
"She's covered in fleas," says Outdoorsman.
"She can't stay in our house," says Outdoorsman.
"We are not cat people," says Outdoorsman.
"Well, I'm not waking her up," said Outdoorsman.
And so, first this tomorrow morning, we have an appointment at the vet to get her de-yuckafied. And then...well, I guess, she won. She is ours.
May G-d have mercy on our souls.
Oh! And just yesterday? She got her meow back.