"I hope those kittens haven't escaped," I said to my mother as we drove home.
"They don't have it in them," Mom said. "They are the do-nothing kittens."
It was true. Tiny Jordan---aka "Baby"--and his even tinier sister, Jamie---aka, "Fetus"--were not bursting with energy. While most kittens ran around chasing each other and wrestling, these two basically sat in one spot and did absolutely nothing.
The day before, my neighbor had first given me Jamie, who she'd found in a stray colony down the street. Her mother had not done a good job taking care of her, although she managed to keep her alive. I didn't think Jamie would make it. Before I took her home, I went directly to the vet, expecting that she'd have to be put down. She was a mess--bony, crusty-eyed, lacking in vigor. At least I could end her suffering humanely, if nothing else.
An hour later, after she was diagnosed with a feline head cold, my neighbor presented me with her brother, who was a little bigger but looked even worse. His nose was crusted over as well. "You can give him the same medicine," she pleaded. I couldn't refuse. I surrounded them with a six-inch hamster fence, and they showed no desire to escape or do much of anything. The "Do-Nothing Kittens" had earned their nickname.
The next day we had to go to a party, and had to leave them home alone. We surrounded them with the miniature fence again, confident that they were too sickly to make a run for it.
But when we got home, they were gone!
They hadn't gone far--only under the bed--but it was the first sign that they had some fight in them. I knew then the Do-Nothing kittens would be OK. By the next month, they were fighting, wrestling, and disconnecting cable television wires, like every other cat.
Today, "Baby" is bigger than a dog, and "Fetus" has grown into her ears.