Free kittens…what a joke. We just moved out to the country and decided to get some kittens. Like many before us, we responded to an ad for “free kittens.” With 4 acres to roam, we were ambitious and decided to get three. Stop laughing! The Brady’s are nothing if not overachievers. Make that naïve overachievers. On the way home we stopped and spent about $30 on food, special kitty milk, a couple of bowls, a litter box and kitty litter for our “free kittens”. Then within a few days, Zipper, Dibbs and Niles were not looking too good. We were doing everything the owner’s manual said-feeding them moist kitty food and kitten’s milk 4 times a day and keeping my 4 year old son’s clumsy feet away from them. What more do you do for kittens? Obviously, not enough for Niles. By day 7, I buried him. Ka-ching! An emotional price just paid for falling in love with cute little Niles, our free kitten. Then of course, my 11 year daughter, Shelby, goes bonkers over the whole ordeal and demands that we take the survivors to the vet. I can’t refuse, so off we go to Faulkner’s Animal Hospital in Lancaster (highly recommended by good friends and about half the price of the local vets). The poor little free kittens have worms residing in their tummies and ka-ching, $90 more comes out of my children’s college fund, not to mention my time taken off from work. By the way, why do we say, “not to mention…” and then we mention it anyway? While we are at the good doctors, we are reminded that as responsible kitty owners, we need to bring them back in 2 week and 5 week intervals for scheduled shots and then in a few months to be “fixed”. Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Ka-ching!
So, equipped with worm medicine, eye ointment for Dibbs and special canned recovery food, we head back to the house with our “free kittens”. Shelby and I take meticulous care of Dibbs and Zipper over the next few days, medicating, feeding and playing with them; all the while becoming more emotionally attached to them. They are very cute and do recover. On day 14, I get a panicked call from Shelby about Dibbs. He’s not doing well. “What?” I ask. “He was great this morning when I fed him.” Not now, Shelby tells me and my wife, Sandra confirms. Dibbs looks bad, real bad. They text me a picture as proof. Do you hear the emotional register ringing in the background? I am dumbfounded. Then I remember that we had run out of the special recovery food and I gave them the cheap food that I bought the night we brought them home. I tell Shelby that he probably has a tummy ache and not to worry. Right…good answer, Dad. So I call the vet. “Just bring him by. It’s best that we look at him.” Just bring him by? I’m 45 minutes away and I’m at work. Sandra volunteers, but the whole kitty idea was mine and I feel responsible. A while later I leave work and go home to pick up Dibbs for the emergency transport to the vet. Ka-ching! By the time I get home, he looks and acts all better. It’s a miracle! Out of an abundance of caution, I make another call to the vet and explain my tummy ache theory. The vet says that the change in food could be the cause and asked about the food. I told her that it was the cheap Wal-Mart brand. Oh no! That is not good, not good at all. I feel like a horrible pet owner. We are talking about cats, right? God’s creatures that eat germ carrying mice and Wal-Mart food isn’t good enough? She says to come by and pick up some more recovery food. Come by? I remind her that I’m not in the neighborhood. Well, she tells me that I can go the grocery store and look for this kitten food that is acceptable. What’s the name, I ask? She can’t remember, but the can has a cat on it. Really? A cat? That should be easy to find. It also has the word “pate” on it. I believe the word has an accent over the “e” and sounds French. So, off to the grocery store I go to buy high priced French food for my “free kittens”. Ka-ching! After spending about 15 minutes looking, I find the only can of cat food that says that it is ok for kittens too and voila, it has “pate” and a cat on the can. Must be it.
We’re up to day 18 now and the kitties are doing great again. The food must be good. Dibbs get his whole body in the plate and attacks it like it will try to run away. Zipper, the female, follows me around wherever I go and will climb up into my lap. 43 years old, balding and overweight, yet I still have a way with the ladies. I have definitely learned however, there isn’t such a thing as “free kittens”. That’s the biggest lie since the first politician ever said, “I promise…” But there isn’t much in life that is free. Everything has a cost and we would be wise to always count our cost before we make any decisions. Well, I take that back. We are offered one thing which is entirely free…salvation through Jesus Christ and you definitely need to count the cost of not accepting Him.