I'm pleased to announce we have two new family members!

I’m pleased to announce we have two new family members!

We adopted two calico kittens, Stanley Rae and Harley D (formerly known as Sheldon and Bandit) on Sunday, June 22 from a dear friend and former co-worker of the Herald-Dispatch, Lida Rolloff and her husband, Carl.

Lida and Carl, both animal lovers, had the perfect, heart-wrenching back story. They rescued the kittens after they heard them crying in a shed shortly after birth where they discovered mama cat dead. Lida dropper-fed them from the time before they had their eyes open and nurtured them into fat, rambunctious, playful, healthy kittens.

They had a sell: “We’d love to keep them, but we just can’t. You see the size of our house. And we already have many animals outside we care for.”

The kids and I fell fast and hard.

“Mm-hmmm,” Hubby muttered.

“Wow. The kids really like the kittens, but we only want you to take them if you really want them,” the Rolloffs said. “We’d be happy to split them if you only want one cat. And we always have a return policy. You can bring one or both of them back if it doesn’t work out.”

“Mm-hmmmm,” Hubby muttered again.

“Come on, guys,” I told the kids. “Dad says we can only have one. It would be a shame to split them up, but what dad says goes.”

Maddie, who has Hubby wrapped tightly around her little finger, had one question.

“Can we please have both?”

The look she gave Hubby said, “There are kittens here. Can’t you see them curled in our laps? Can’t you hear them purring in our ears? Don’t you want to feel their rough little tongues lick your fingers?”

That’s when the whole thing spiraled out of control.

First, Hubby said one cat. Mason immediately declared the cat with two black raccoon eyes was ours–or more specifically, his. Maddie played the scene cool. Sure, she said, she was happy with the cat with raccoon eyes. Soon, her usually cheerful face began to droop. She whispered just loud enough for Hubby to hear, “the other cat is just so nice and calm.”

Within minutes the cat carrier was brought into the house and the two kittens joyfully climbed inside to enjoy a new adventure.

As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, kittens mewing in their carrier, Hubby realized he got played. And was now the owner of two new kittens.

After arriving home and getting the kittens situated Hubby called a family meeting.

“We need new names to claim these kittens as our own,” Hubby announced. “We are going to take a vote. Write down the top two names you would chose for them.”

For reasons that would make a whole other column, the kids and I chose Stanley. Hubby then chose his favorite name, Harley, for Harley Davidson Motorcycles. It was a unanimous vote on Hubby’s choice since we feared he would take the Rolloffs up on their return policy.

There is, of course, plenty of kitten wrestling for amusement. And there have been, and will be, many firsts to look forward to, such as baby’s first curtain climb, baby’s first trip into the secret hiding place and one that’s not on everyone’s first list — baby’s first zap from chewing on electrical wires.

They are cuddled, played with and can always find a warm lap to curl up and sleep on. Needless to say, they are adapting quite well.

They are on an alternating diet of moist kitty food and dry kibble. Their bowls of food are filled on schedule each day although you’d think by the screaming and yelling they do at meal time they are being starved to death.

Poor kitties. Life just ain’t easy at the Melheim residence.