Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Good to have Friends in High Places

This story begins nearly a year ago. My parents were visiting us for the holidays, and they had a chance to spend a little time with Walter and Ira Finch. My parents had met plenty of other litters and enjoyed each one, but there was just something about Walter and Ira that really tugged on my Mom's heart strings. If the timing would have better, she would have left with the pair tucked under her arm.

Long after they returned home, she pined for these kittens, and if they came up in conversation, with a lump in her throat, she would express her regrets for not figuring out how to make them hers.


Fast forward one year and Nigel and Mimsey move in with us. I posted their pictures on the blog, and later that day, Mom called expressing an interest in this pair. I think it was Mimsy's resemblance to Walter that got my mom's attention initially and Nigel's floof that sealed the deal.

We had a long talk about how we could make it happen but couldn't put the plans into motion because my dad was on a dive trip, and he, of course, would have to agree to the plan.

We patiently waited for his return, and the day after he got home, my mom asked if he had seen the new kittens on my blog. She showed him the posts, and then she gently asked him "what would you think if we adopted those kittens?" After a very brief discussion, and with very little persuasion, he agreed.

The next hurdle was figuring out a plan to get them back to Iowa. Fortunately, my friend Kim (AKA Charlene's foster mom) works for American Airlines and commutes to Chicago several times a month for work. I gave her a call to find out if she would want to be a kitten mule and help us get the babies back to the Midwest. Of course she agreed - she's a kind-hearted person and lover of kitties.

She checked with the higher-ups to figure out all the necessary steps we needed to take to get the babies on board. It all seemed logistically possible so the adoption paper work was mailed back to Iowa to be filled out, a special carrier designed for airline travel was purchased, and a delivery date was decided upon. We just had to fatten up Nigel, get them fixed, and get them to the airport.

The next two weeks, while we waited for Nigel to make weight, were filled with many phone calls and email exchanges. These would be my parents very first kittens, and there were many questions ranging from eating and litter box habits to my personal favorite, "what do kittens smell like?" My mom was a nervous new mom. How sweet.

She went out shopping with my Aunt Sue (local cat expert) to buy all the needed supplies. She prepped the house and moved plants and knick-knacks out of kitten's reach. They were as ready as they could possibly be.

And finally, the kittens were fixed and ready to go.

I drove Kim and the kittens to the airport bright and early on Saturday morning. The kittens were very good and hardly peeped at all during the 40 minute drive to the airport.

We parked, and I walked with Kim and the kittens up to security. We said our goodbyes, and off they went. I watched as they passed through the screening. Kim had to pull them out of the carrier and held one kitten under each arm as she walked though the metal detectors. I was too far away to hear the conversations, but could see by the expressions on the faces of the TSA employees that they were delighted by these tiny travelers.

They were loaded back into their carrier, and off they went to their gate. Kim called to let me know they had been assigned a seat, took photos with the crew and pilots, and settled onto the plane. I texted my folks, who were on their way to Chicago, to let them know that everything was a go.

The kittens traveled very well and napped in their carrier beneath the seat nearly the whole flight. Kim took them into the bathroom midway through the trip to let them run around a bit and stretch their legs. After a little exercise, both kittens took a moment to take a quick bath before returning to their carrier. They had a little lunch, a little drink, then back to sleep they went for the remainder of the flight.

According to Kim, they were perfect little angels, made many, many friends on the plane and upon departure, received this certificate.

First Flight

My folks met up with Kim near the American ticket counter. There were many hugs, smiles, thank yous, tears of joy and the kittens were turned over to my parents. They chatted for awhile, hugged some more, then Kim left for her gate, and my parents headed to the parking garage with the babies.

Here's a teary/happy Mom with Kim and the kittens...

CIMG1585

Once in the car, the kittens had a chance to use the litter box, have a little snack, and roam around for a bit. When everyone settled, they headed off to Iowa with my dad as chauffeur, and Mom in back with the babes.

Nigel curled up in the carrier and slept the the whole car ride home. Mimsey spent most of the trip sitting on Mom's shoulder, watching the cars go by. Eventually she settled into Mom's lap and napped until they pulled into the driveway.

It was a very long journey - nearly 12 hours from our house to my parent's - and the kittens did remarkably well. There wasn't a single glitch or problem along the way. I'm so grateful it was so easy, and not a bit stressful for any of the parties involved.

Honestly, I couldn't imagine it going any better than it did.

So, now the kittens are all settled into their new home. It sounds as though they're having a wonderful time exploring the house, and looking out all the windows. My parents have a ton of bird feeders in the back yard which attract all sort of of critters and the Frosts are thoroughly enjoying watching all of this action.

And my parents are thoroughly enjoying watching the kittens.

I'm so happy that these kittens are making my parents so happy. I've talked to my mom at least a dozen times in the past couple days and she just keeps saying "they're such sweet, sweet babies". And even though he's probably not saying it, I know my dad is feeling it, because he's just a big ole softy when it comes to critters.

According to Mom, the Frosts settled right in, and are acting like they've lived there all their lives. It's nice to hear how quickly they adjusted to their new surroundings. Nice work kittens. You make me proud.

This post is getting a little lengthy, and I need to wrap it up, but before I do, I just wanted to say thanks to Kim for making this journey with the kittens. I appreciate SO much all the strings you pulled to make this happen. THANK YOU Kim for all you did to get the kittens home safely. You're the world's greatest kitten mule!

Kim's traveling right now, but took lots of pictures of the kittens' trip. Once she returns, I'll share the pictures with you all.

Here's one picture that my dad just sent of Nigel and Mimsey checking out their new kitty bed.

CIMG1595

I've got some more pictures from Dad, but they'll just have to wait until tomorrow. I'm running out of space, and running out of steam.

I know you're all anxious to hear their story, so I'll just hit "post" and call it a day.

Good night, everyone.

75 comments:

  1. Kitten mule. LOL!!!

    Great post. So glad they have a great home.

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  2. i'm all teary-eyed...what a dork i am! i just love the american airlines certificate for their first flight. sounds like it was all meant to be. love it!!!

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  3. What a wonderful story - definitely worth the wait. It sounds like all parties involved only had the babies' well-being in mind.

    I also LOVE the certificate. Your mom should put it up on the fridge.

    Can't wait to see pictures, but take care of yourself first! It's gotta be long hours prepping for the Martha Stewart Deal.

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  4. I am not crying. I am not crying. I AM NOT crying. Dammit. I'm crying. Sweet, sweet kittens will be loved forever.

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  5. Oh all I have to say is the little heart shape that the "less than" and "3" make. <3

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  6. Welcome home, Mimsey and Nigel! Your parents will be the best kitty parents and those two kittens just got even luckier. I'm glad it went so well getting them to Iowa!

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  7. I'm with the two Anonymous commenters above. Why in the world am I crying? I was laughing one second, reading about the playdate in the airplane bathroom (the only two living beings in the world who think an airplane bathroom is big) and then crying the second I saw that certificate.
    SO glad they found the perfect home! Can't wait to see more pictures :)

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  8. So excited to read this wonderful story! I've been checking in off and on all day and it was worth the wait. You know that I love your parents and these babies are just what they've been waiting for. Thank you Laurie, Kim, Sharon and Dave.
    Now, on to the happily ever after!

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  9. Do we all love kitties or what? (As I wipe another tear from my eyes) Best adoption story ever!

    And now your Mom knows how kittens smell: magic and love. :)

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  10. Laurie, I hope you know how much your kitten stories brighten every day for me. Thank you. I'm so happy for the Frosts and for your folks.

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  11. yay for Kim for taking the kittens! yay for the drama free trip back to Iowa! yay for new cat beds!

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  12. So sweet. I love their certificate! Thanks, Kim the Kitten Mule! hee hee!

    Ps. Kittens smell like cedar to me. My first boy had this wonderful woodsy smell to him. I wanted my new cat to be very different, but I'm thrilled he smells the same too!

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  13. What an absolutely "purrrrr"fect little love story.
    Sniff... I too are crying tears of joy for all involved!!

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  14. How absolutely wonderful! I'm in the office reading this and trying my utmost best to hold back the tears of joy!

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  15. (It has to be said.) "Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa!" But it's pretty heavenly for the Frosts and Dave and Sharon. Thanks for the update, Laurie. Sorry for my impatience earlier today - I have to remember that I am three hours ahead of you...

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. Oh happy day, dear little Frosts!

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  17. Where in Iowa do they live? It takes me about 3 hours to get to Davenport from my home and I figure it's an hour from my home to the airport. So I figure it's a 4 hour drive to the border. Ugh, my hat's off to your Dad for making the drive there and back. At least the weather held until they left. We had tornado warnings out here today.

    Thanks for all you did Kim!

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  18. It IS funny - kitten mule. :o) I'm staring at my two Siamese cats right now as I read this. They're much, much older, and I smell their little heads once in a while. They, too are fans of the IBKC.

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  19. To me, kittens smell like kittens; the most wonderful smell in the world.

    Kim, you are a superhero even without tights and a cape! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    (Laurie, you are a superhero, too, but I suspect you just might wear tights and a cape.)

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  20. I love this story! I would have loved to see the reactions of the people on the plane to the kittens. They should have kittens on every flight--would make the whole experience much better!

    Kittens smell wonderful... if they're clean! Which the tiniest ones often aren't :)

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  21. Warm Iowa greeting from Des Moines and Cedar Rapids! So very happy to hear your journey wasn't too tough. I'm sure you wowed your way across the country!

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  22. I think the reason so many of us are teary-eyed at this story it because it underscores the fact that love is the animating factor in this life we experience.

    "Kitten mule" is hilarious.

    Kim, you are the best.

    And for your wonderful parents, TKW and Sharon, many, many, happy years with these two!

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  23. I'm with notemily--every flight should have kittens. The airlines would make a fortune.

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  24. How awesome! And since the Frosts went through Chicago I think it's only appropriate to say, "Now we are so happy, we do the dance of joy!"

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  25. What a lovely tale about the Frosts and your folks and the incredible Thanksgiving of 2010.

    The mental images of the Frosts romping in the itty bitty kitty lavatory just tickles my fancy

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  26. Add me to the teary-eyed group. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing and thank you bunches to everyone involved in making it happen for these little ones.

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  27. I am just *delirious* with joy about this whole thing. The Frosties couldn't've gone to a better family. Sharon and Dave are just such fine, fine folks and I'm so freakin' happy for them that they have these two floofballs of love in their lives.

    And here's a big shout out to Kim - not only did she take care of all the arrangements for the Frost's travel, she's the woman who fostered our darling Charlene Butterbean!!

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  28. Such a beautiful story of love on the part of so many.

    Many long years of bliss to the Cinotto-Frost clan, and thank you Kimmie for being the wonderful person that you are.

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  29. I'm so glad I'm not the only one crying! What a sweet, joyful story in time for Thanksgiving!

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  30. What a wonderful story and you can add me to the teary eyed folks! All your adoption stories are great, but this one is the best. The crew of the 'plane would be able to tell their families that they had VIKs on the flight. (Very Important Kitties!)

    What do kitties smell like? Lovely, even when my Salem has been taking a nap in the hen house and comes in smelling of woodchips and well, you can guess! :-)

    Welcome home Mimsy and Nigel. Now, time to wrap your new parents round your little paws. (xxx from Salem, Simba, Morgan and Jack, and the hens)

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  31. Awww, how so very sweet. I followed these two so closely and am glad that they are now in the loving care of Sue and Dave. After all a house is not truly a home without a couple of kitties......

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  32. what a wonderful journey..Sooo happy for the kitties and your parents..Both parties definately find each other and sure will be very happy together..Thumbs up for Kim!!

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  33. Oops I meant Sharon and Dave. Sorry

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  34. Kittens smell like wonder -- until they discover a real Christmas tree and then they smell like pine. This is such a wonderful story. Special thanks to Walter and Ira for setting this all in motion. They knew in their little kitty hearts that a perfect duo would come along in time to brighten a very special home in Iowa. Oh, and bird feeders are the best cat entertainment ever....even better than sparkle balls.

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  35. American Airlines is the best!!!

    Kittens smell so clean and fresh. I always say that it must be what Heaven smells like.

    Love Mimsey and Nigel!

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  36. That was the cutest post ever! (and that's a lot to say in a blog filled with the cutest kitties!)
    Congrats, Laurie, Kim, Mom and Dad and especially Mimsey ang Nigel! They were such little angels :)

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  37. Lovely. I remember the Finches. They were my favorite too. It was scary for a while with them but, thank God, they pulled through. Yea for Kim!

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  38. Add me to the teary eyed bunch. The Certificate did me in. Kim - there are many cat lovers and watchers of Itty Bitty who thank you for your efforts. And for Laurie's Mom & Dad for insisting these kttiens were THEIRS. Thanks for the story, it made my day.

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  39. I was tearing up too! I can just picture all the workers and passengers oohing and aahing the Frosts. What a wonderful story.

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  40. I'm glad they have a light-colored couch with all of the white floof they will soon be dealing with! Congratulations to them! Buh-bye, little Frosts. Such a perfect name, too!

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  41. Special comment (for those, like me, of a certain age): If the kittens are allowed to wander freely at night and a human arises to, say, "get a glass of water", the little (and eventually big) critters come immediately and with great stealth posing quite the hazard in the dark. I strongly recommend learning the middle of the night shuffle or turning on lights, both to avoid stepping on tails or taking a tumble. Also toilet seats in the down position at least until they are big enough to leap out.

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  42. What a lovely update. And the pic of the kttens by their noo bed is adorable.

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  43. I read the post with tears streaming down my face at the joy of lovely little kitties who grow up to be lovely big sweethearts. I am glad to know I wasn't the only one crying.

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  44. What an exciting story. So glad everything worked out so well and the kitties are safe in their new home.

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  45. Lengthy? Nonsense, I LOVE lengthy posts with happy endings! Congratulations, Laurie's mom and dad!

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  46. What a great story!!! Love the Certificate! (P.S. I'm teary-eyed too.)

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  47. so sweet! welcome home frosts!

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  48. Kim, would American Airlines spring for business cards saying "Official Kitten Mule?"

    What a wonderful story. Many, many years of floofy happiness on the way for everybody.

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  49. "What do kittens smell like?"

    Delicious. Warm and fuzzy and you just want to snorgle the heck out of them.

    ...Fortunately, you want to do that with the adult kitties, too.

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  50. Fabulous post and story! So glad this all worked out so wonderfully!!!

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  51. I want to be a kitten mule!

    Kittens smell like....fresh warm cookies and bread, to me.

    You know that they totally made the flight crew's day - a cuddly, fun break from the routine. I bet that they don't get to give first flight certificates to tiny kittens often!

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  52. Lucky babies! I'm so happy for them, and it will be fun to see pictures of them as they grow up.

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  53. This was such a great Thanksgiving story, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who got emotional reading it!

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  54. Great story ;o) Loved every detail, Laurie your parents are so lucky to have Nigel and Mimsey in time for the holidays, they will be loved as much as all of us have loved this story and your blog too!!! Giving Thanks for IBKC and my own kitties too!

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  55. As a fellow foster mom, I love these stories and got a little choked up. Congrats to the Frosts and your parents!! And kudos to Kim for being such a good friend!

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  56. I love your mom's question, what do kittens smell like. It really illustrates the newness and wonder of it all your parents must be experiencing.

    I agree with the one comment above. When they're really tiny, they smell like they've been tromping in and out of a litter box——because they have been. But once they learned how to take baths, I think mine smell faintly of maple syrup.

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  57. Squee! Two airports I've gotten to know well. I'm so glad the kittens made it without incident. I can imagine TSA had a lot to smile about at both ends of the journey if they were lucky enough to be watching this particular carry-on at its moments of departure and arrival.

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  58. I, too, smell my kitties, I love it when they smell like dirt and sunshine. Sharon, I know what you mean about how you felt about Walter and Ira Finch. I cried like a baby when they went to their forever home, even though it was a good thing. And now you have your own babies!! Congrats to all and thank goodness Kim didn't have to undergo the enhanced pat-down. She might have lost a kitty when someone was "holding" a baby and just couldn't give it up!! Can't wait to see more pictures and there is no such thing as too many, especially since Laurie is heading for Martha Stewart Fame!!

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  59. I agree with Anonymous! Toilet lids down (in my house it is an ALWAYS rule), shuffle. I want to add: When standing still (especially in the kitchen), look at the ground behind your feet before moving. Your babies will ALWAYS be right on your heels and if you are not careful, you will step on them (possible serious injury to the kittens) or you will take a bad tumble to avoid stepping on them (possible serious injury to you).

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  60. And watch out for stairs! Especially if you are carrying something that impedes your view, like a laundry basket - odds are they will be right in front of you. Mine have even fallen asleep on the stairs!

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  61. So great! I flew my cat back and forth between Iowa (where I was living) and Boston (where my husband was) six or so times last year, and American was by far the best airline for it. She took to flying like a pro, though she is 11 and I wasn't sure if it would be too much stress. Glad to hear Nigel and Mimsey took to the air happily too. I always wanted to get her a frequent flyer card...

    What do kittens smell like is perhaps the cutest thing I've heard all week. My girl smells like a down comforter, kind of cool and fluffy. I suspect they all have their own individual smells. What do Nigel and Mimsey smell like?

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  62. Just another thought, don't panic when they "disappear" -- look upwards if you have a climber, note teensy bumps under the bedspread, etc., etc. They do have a way of disappearing and it takes a bit of time to learn the favored hiding places. Oh, also scope out closets before shutting the doors. Eventually you can teach them "come hither" sounds/words. I've found that bird feeder/back yard (wherever the best view is) can lead to a "holy cow take a look at this" word...use a ton of inflection can, in time, rouse them to investigate. Use that word sparingly at other times so it works when you need to fake them out for a trip to the vet. ; )

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  63. thank you Laurie and thank you Laurie's Mom and Dad for this wonderful, wonderful story.

    those baby kittens are going to warm up their winter days and nights, for sure.

    i loved this story so much.

    xx
    christine H

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  64. I shake the treat bag when I can't find mine. That always gets them running from out of nowhere! And of course they DO get treats. Gotta keep that trick working!

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  65. What a sweet story! Thank you for taking the time to write it all in such lovely detail, Laurie.

    I'm so sorry your Mom was so sad over Walter and Ira, though I am not surprised; it was obvious how much she loved them just from the photos, and how much it was mutual. There was definitely something very special about those boys! And it's so sweet how they are still connected to your parents in a way, through Mimsey and Nigel. So all's well that ends well for everybody!

    That certificate is the cutest thing; thanks to Kim for being so wonderful! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures. Here's to many, many happy years of love for the Frosts and the Kitten Whisperers!

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  66. I've read every single comment and count myself blessed to be a part of this community you've formed here Laurie. And yes, I cried too, and laughed, and YES, "Anonymous" and "GD" - the warnings! TOILET SEAT DOWN (although I expect your mom's a lady and your dad's a gentleman and theirs is down anyway). This is the BEST. Old Yiddish saying: tears of joy delight the Almighty -- surely He's leaning back and roaring with joyous laughter! And please add my loving thanks to Kim ("kitten mule" - oh LAURIE!!)

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  67. Now I want to know if Sharon and Dave have been claimed individually or if the kittens are sharing them with each other? If that question makes sense.

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  68. My very first cat smelled like Windmill cookies. Kinda gingerbread-y? He was all grown by the time I met him so I don't know if he smelled different as a wee one.

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  69. if you haven't thought of this already, i think this could make a really really good illustrated book-

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  70. What a great story! I love the idea of two tiny kittens running around an airplane bathroom, and also the idea of Kim going through security with a kitten under each arm. If anything could make those TSA guys smile, I suspect that would be it!

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  71. Thats so cool they got a little certificate - I want one for Mopey! :)

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