Keith Snyder
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Because there was still too much room left in the apartment

So I'm riding home on my attractive new Trek 7000, wearing my new Lake cycling sandals for maximum toe coolage, and I glance over and right where no kittens should be--which would be all alone, a couple feet from the street--are three kittens going boink-boink-boink down the sidewalk.

So I stop in the street and walk the bike over to the kittens, and the little gray one gambols over and says hello. The two copper-and-black ones aren't quite as goal-oriented, but there's a general sense of greeting mixed in with the bouncing in random directions. These are friendly kittens.

As I'm puzzling this out, an old woman comes around the corner, and I say, "Are these your kittens?"

There follows an exchange I do not understand.

But the body language is clear. Each of us thinks the kittens belong to the other. After a while, it also becomes clear that what she's saying isn't "Are these your kittens," but rather, "These are your kittens."

I say, "These are not mine," but by that time, she's walking away.

Two have goopy eyes, none seems upset or in pain, and, well, they're kittens. Teeny fluffy ones.

The only line you need to know from my cell phone call to Kathleen is "I think they'll fit in my pannier."

I don't want to stick kittens in with my expensive rain jacket, so I move some tire-repair junk and gloves and stuff into the other pannier. Now that this one's not so stuffed, there's some roominess in the outside zip pocket, so pluck by the scruffs, and I'm cycling East in Queens with kittens in my pannier and no plan.

Grover's vet is on Grand Ave., only about six blocks off my commute, so lacking a better idea, I go there and wait behind the other customers at the counter (in my cycling sandals and sweaty tunic). When it's my turn, I say, "I was riding home and found three kittens and they're in my pannier."

They probably don't know what "pannier" means, so I hoist it.

I feel kind of like an idiot, sitting there with kittens zipped into a pannier, waiting for the vet to see us. He probably gets people doing this all the time, and he's going to have to be the one to tell me the plain truth: No one will take these kittens, and he's just going to have to destroy them. It would have been more humane to leave them where they were and let dogs or cars take their natural toll.

In the little consultation room (kittens now in a cardboard carrier), the vet comes in, and the first thing I decide he needs to know is this:

"I just want to say, first off, that no, I don't know what the hell I'm thinking."

"There's a lot of that going around," he says, and goes off to do some other vet things before coming back.

So now I'm thinking things like:

  • Grover is in his last days. No matter what the karmic timing here, I can't do this to him.

  • How much can I spend before it's not worth it to save a kitten?

  • Are these that old lady's kittens, and she was just looking for a sucker?

  • Where are we going to put these?

So the vet comes in, and I say:

"I think what I'm thinking is I'll spend a little money to get them to where they can be given away in good conscience."

He opens the carrier and says, "Oh, aren't they adorable..."

They got tested for leukemia and given worm medication. He cut his rate way down. They stayed overnight with him, no charge. Our little Queens two-bedroom apartment already contained two parents, two babies, a cat, and a visiting mother.

The kittens are now in our bathtub.

They're negative for feline leukemia, they're de-wormed, they're on a short course of antibiotics, they're about 7 weeks old, they like being handled, and if you're in New York and want one, email me.

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