Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?
If so, heaven help you, and here’s a Band-Aid.
In the world of free-roaming cats, there’s “stray,” there’s “feral,” and then there’s mustard.
Specifically, The Condiment Kittens.
When we conduct trap-neuter-return (TNR), we’re used to wrangling wily moms and pops and their last litters. Usually, the wee ones — however wee they may be — have learned quickly that humans are terrifying and/or evil. Hamster-sized and helpless against our love, they’ll hiss and spit and pop at us, and we will love and moosh and smoosh them back, and somehow all shall be well.
But this time, our TNR has unleashed a certain spicy TNT.
To understand The Condiment Kittens, you must follow the long, gooey trail of condiments back to where this story began. Our first show-stopping sandwich topper was one Hellman’s, the cat who got his head caught in a mayo jar and his story heralded across the airwaves. After rescuing/freeing/neutering Hellman’s, we learned that he was just one dollop in a sea of sauces, and by “sauces” I mean “unneutered cats and kittens.”
Hellman’s’ fellow adults were easy enough: trap ’em, de-sex ’em, tip their ears and turn ’em loose in their safe barn home, where they can now resume their loose behavior without kittenly consequences.
Hellman’s younger kin — we’ll refrain from going all Maury Povich and pointing paternity tests at him — were…not easy.
Think less mayonnaise, more enriched uranium.
But what they lacked in sweetness, the condiment crew had in numbers, numbers enough to drown us in Sauerkraut and Heinz and Hunts and Relish and Catsup and Ketchup; in Honey Mustard and Dijon and Grey Poupon and Coleman and Gulden and Kraft; and then to top it all off with Lettuce and Tomato and Vidalia.
That’s fifteen kittens, kids. Fifteen kittens, of whom zero kittens have a taste for humans. (Human flesh, though — that, they find quite tasty.)
In case you think I’m being too hard on our hard-headed little honeys, listen to no less an authority than Tabby’s Place Veterinarian Dr. Collins. Dr. C, of course, speaks only in the most scientific and measured terms. In discussing Honey Mustard, her words were thus: “He hates me and all people.”
Jonathan (the human), who also holds a doctorate, offered the following reflection on one of the Mustards: “He was holding up his leg today. That’s because all the meanness moved down to his leg. He’s being punished.”
We live in fear of creatures who weigh under two pounds.
Make no mistake: these are spicy, salty, swashbuckling kittens, a veritable 55-gallon drum of coarse condiments.
And make no second mistake: we will teach them love.
As the lucky staff member who gets to write about, rather than wrangle, our ferocious fifteen, I have my own strategy for loving up the Condiments. I sing to them, bad Bob Dylan covers, but I mean every word. Catsup and Ketchup were especially delighted, by which I mean violently angered, to hear the following:
May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay
But I’m as stubborn as I am stupid, so I continued:
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay
Their response to those wishes cannot be printed in this family-friendly blog.
But you can slather my words into the record, kittens: kindness will prevail. And the follies of condimental youth will melt onto a lifelong hoagie of happiness. For all their troubles, these tiny ones will know the strength of a love that can’t be scared away.
Now that’s delicious.