Leela- One Part Fuzzball and Two Parts Badass

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, please forgive this post. It’s going to be filled with pictures you’ve probably already seen. I’m sorry, but when you get a new kitten you’re required to take a photo every time it crosses its paws in a new way. Either way, I’ll try not to drag this out. Maybe I’ll be done writing by the time I finish this glass of wine.

This is the story of Leela. We picked her up on Saturday from the animal hospital where Caitlin’s aunt and mom work. Anyone who watches slightly nerdy animated shows about the future should understand how we chose her name very shortly:

You might be noticing that she only has one eye. It’s an astute observation, and accurate. She was found in a factory/power plant with her brother with a badly infected eye. Once she had it surgically removed, she was good as new. And obviously we decided to name her Leela, after the captain of the Planet Express ship in the hit animated tv show, Futurama!

It’s uncanny, isn’t it?

We quickly learned that the loss of half her vision wasn’t enough to slow her down. Leela was a good choice of name personality-wise, too. She’s definitely an explorer. She’s been running on what seems like 15 total minutes of sleep for the last five days. The rest of her time has been spent running upstairs, bolting back downstairs, carrying her toy ball around in her mouth for no reason, somersaulting, and doing that funny cat crab walk thing. It has truly been exhausting just to watch.

However, it’s also been rewarding. For the longest time, I’ve wanted a kid. It’s probably because I come from an Italian family. Having a kitten is sort of like caring for a baby, or at least must be good practice. A kitten is more resilient than a baby, sure: not many human infants I know would survive a serious eye infection in a power plant. At the same time, you don’t have to stop a baby from chewing on electrical cables. Or do you? I’m going to be the worst father.

We got Leela at the perfect time with Halloween just around the corner. When you have a black cat with one eye, the photo opportunities are infinite. I should have waited to write this so that I could have included a picture of a tiny cat pirate on top of a pumpkin. She’s got a built-in costume for life.

When my sister and brother-in-law got their kitten Curious six years ago, I watched him for a day. Of course, I had him sit and watch Mystery Science Theater with me. Unfortunately, Leela is too excitable and insane to sit through that. I hope that one day, though, I’ll convince her to watch a Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th marathon. It will be then that I can accurately claim to own the greatest cat of all time.

This experience has revealed what kind of parents we’ll be, too. Both Caitlin and I are over-protective and constantly worrying about Leela. I can only imagine how neurotic we’ll be when we actually have a kid. I’m anticipating an attempt to break the world’s record for most consecutive hours awake. Who can sleep when there’s a bay who might need attending to? And geez, we’re already giving Leela foot rubs because she likes to have her paws massaged. I have to remember to not let our child read this site, or he/she will own us.

She knows she has us right in her adorable clutches.

In the end, obviously it’s worth it to take in a kitten who needs you. Caitlin and I have had cats since we were children. Last year we had to put down Caitlin’s cat, and for the first time in 15 years we had no pets to take care of. We both decided that we were ready, and then immediately realize that no, we weren’t. Fourteen straight hours of watching a tiny black blur fly around the house can change your mind pretty quickly.

Just kidding. Leela’s energy is nuts and makes me want to take a nap, yes. But we wouldn’t trade it now. We get as much enjoyment from her as I’m sure she does from not being in a power pant with an injured eye. Any time two entities can make each other mutually happy, you can’t ask for more.

And any time a tough kitten from the streets lives to show off her gold and war wounds, the world shines just a little bit brighter.

I finished my wine over an hour ago, by the way. The Simpsons marathon was on and distracted me.

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