The sound of silence

Susie and SnoopyIt’s hasn’t been this quiet in three months.

For 62 days my apartment was a playground for first seven, then six kittens. The sounds they produced were my soundtrack for 10 weeks.

The soundtrack finally finished at around 2 pm today in the Humane Society of North Texas in east Fort Worth.

While my apartment will still be home to two cats, Susie, the mother and Snoopy, the one kitten I’m keeping, it won’t have the same tune or feel.

They’re favorite instrument was my bed.

I won’t wake up to the sound of one kitten chasing another across my bed at 7 am. I called this track “Feeding time.”

There’s also sound of one them clawing its way up the side of the bed. The first one to do it successfully was the orange kitten, one of the litter’s four boys.

Many sounds came from him. He would growl if anyone else tried to take away one of the small mouse chew toys I had bought for Susie before they were born.

There was the thumping noise as he successfully jumped into the trash can in the bathroom, which was full of the toilet paper he’d just completely taken off the roll.

I’ll miss the sound of the white, female kitten climbing up the back of my love seat. This was followed by her spending two to three minutes nibbling at my hair for no determinable reason.

One noise that may stick around is the one that originates from a kitten using a leftover cat litter bag or Meow Mix box as a toy.

I could look over from the couch at any time and likely see a small, furry head sitting among the pile that accumulated during a week. I made the pile for them.

When it came to their voice boxes, they were seldom used. It amazed me how little meowing I heard from them over the last three months. They usually only did it if I held them longer than they preferred.

Except when I tried placing them in a large plastic box to contain them when they were three weeks old, not once did they ever start up a chorus of mewling.

That was the case until I had to take them away.

I had did my best to situate five of them in my tiny pet carrier and placed it in the passenger seat of my Durango.

Day 62No sooner had we hit the freeway then it started. Five kittens who didn’t know where they were and where the unexpected ride was taking them.

It was constant. Their tranquil quite of the last 62 days was replaced by crying and the mashing of faces against the carrier’s door as three brothers and two sisters squirmed and fought for space.

I did my best to try to comfort them by poking two fingers through the door to pet them as much as I could, to no avail.

They became quiet as I pulled into the Humane Society’s parking lot in the wrong part of town. Homeless men sat on curbs, sipping from bottles and cans in paper bags. Others just drifted down sidewalks.

The kittens remained silent as we entered the lobby, the loudest environment they’d experienced.

An A/C was blowing at full throttle. Music emanated from a small radio behind the desk. Barking sounded from multiple spots in the building.

This led to me having to ask the woman sitting behind the desk to repeat her question at least three times.

“Why are we surrendering?”

As I explained a one bedroom apartment wasn’t big enough for six growing kittens, the words were hard to get out.

As she pecked away at her keyboard, an older woman entered the sliding doors carrying a Dell monitor she intended to donate. Then a couple arrived to have their cat neutered.

I stood there watching the kittens stare out the carrier, not at me, but at an uncertainty they hadn’t been concerned about 30 minutes before.

Then I was handed two pieces of paper stapled togther. With two initials and my signature, it was done.

She asked me if I wanted the carrier back. I said yes, but then she said she’d swap it out. Then she took the carrier by the handle, came out from behind the desk, went through an archway and took a left.

They were gone.

Any composure I had disappeared. When she came emerged, with a new carrier and no kittens, I had turned into a blubbering mess of a person who had just lost five of his best friends from summer camp.

Five friends he’d seen born in his own closet on Aug. 14.

She handed over the carrier and I said thanks as I wiped away tears. She said the kittens were cute.

This I knew.

I said thank you again through more sobs, turned and walked out into the parking lot.

I was eager to get out of the neighborhood, but not to return to an apartment that was too quite.

Go here to donate to the Humane Society of North Texas.

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About Daniel McFadin

NASCAR writer for NBCSports.com. Former Sporting News intern. Graduated from IUPUI in Indianapolis with a master in sports journalism in 2014 and from Arkansas State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. Originally from Lewisville, Texas, now in Fort Worth. Ask me if I like Star Wars. I dare you.
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