The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


May 14, 2013

Free kittens are not free for long

Free kittens, the ad said.

The price was right, so we bit. Pretty soon, we were bringing home two tiny balls of fur, wrapped up in our sweatshirts.

That’s when the whole “free” thing went haywire.

They needed food, of course, and a litter box, litter, a pooper scooper, food and water bowls, a scratching post and some toys. Cha-ching.

We took them to the vet to be checked over. They had ringworm, which had to be treated. They needed their shots and, when they were old enough, we had them fixed. Cha-ching.

As time passed, they needed more food, more litter, more toys, a new scratching post, more trips to the vet and a brush. Cha-ching.

I estimate in the past six years, those two free kittens have roughly cost us a zillion dollars, give or take a few.

It’s time for them to start earning their keep.

Dee Dee Murry, an artist from Seattle, taught her dog, Hallie, to paint. The 12-year-old dachshund holds the brush in her mouth to turn out her unique canine creations, complete with nose print signature, despite the fact she lost her sight two years ago due to a degenerative eye disease. Murry sells the paintings for $100 each, with the proceeds going to a local animal rescue. Thus far, Hallie’s artwork has generated $13,000 for the charity.

Hey, that could work. Except I can’t get them to hold brushes. I can’t get them to do much of anything. I would put paint on their feet and then have them walk over a blank sheet of paper, except all they want to do is sleep. I could put blank paper where they usually sleep, then pour paint over them and let them snooze their way to prominence in the animal art world, but they usually sleep on the couch or on our bed.

Otis, a shepherd/Great Dane mix, showed up accidentally in a couple of pictures his owner was taking of the apartment he was putting up for rent, a phenomenon known as photobombing. The owner, John Kanive, showed the photos to his wife, who thought they were funny. So they bribed Otis with bits of cheese, and took photos of him sitting in every room of the apartment. The photos then were posted online, creating a sensation.

The apartment rented in less than 24 hours and the Kanives signed a contract with to use Otis’ image to create photobombs to advertise pet-friendly listings across the U.S.

That wouldn’t work for us. Every time I grab the camera, they make themselves scarce.

There are some cats who make their owners money, like the Internet sensation known as Grumpy Cat. The frowning cat’s real name is Tardar Sauce, and the year-old mixed breed’s permanently downturned mouth is the result of feline dwarfism.

Grumpy Cat has her own website, books, calendars and merchandise, including T-shirts, mugs and magnets.

Oddly, Grumpy Cat’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen of Morristown, Ariz., says she is actually sweet and affectionate.

In contrast, our gray tabby has a positively beatific facial expression, but is moody and standoffish, with the personality of a bareback bronc rider with hemorrhoids. It’s like I have a twin.

Service animals are deductible from your taxes. If I could train them to perform a vital service, like bringing me the TV remote or something, that might work.

I could rent them out as mousers, but they’ve never killed anything but moths, flies and June bugs. The only mice they ever stalk are the cloth, stuffed variety that infest our home.

I suppose I could rent them out as health and wellness devices. The American Heart Association recently issued a scientific statement stating that owning a pet may help decrease a person’s risk of suffering from heart disease and is linked with lower levels of obesity, blood pressure and cholesterol.

But all it takes is for them to dump over the trash can and spread stuff all over the kitchen, upend a chair in the living room and knock a lamp askew to send my blood pressure climbing into the stroke zone, so that’s no good.

I considered renting our black butterball out as a Halloween decoration, but he is far more fearful than fearsome, so that’s a non-starter.

If there was a market for cat fur, I’d be rich, and if cat poo was gold, I could buy New York City and build a fence around it, but, alas, such is not the case.

So I’ve narrowed my choices a bit. I will rent them out either as lap warmers, head rests, door stops or paperweights.

But I fear if I do that, my bride will run an ad reading, “Husband, free to a good home, or a bad one, no matter.”

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at

Text Only
  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg David, Goliath at it again in Gaza Strip

    Israel has long seen itself as David, standing firm against a hostile neighborhood full of Goliaths.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS must come up with future plans for NORCE, SORC facilities after they are closed

    NORCE is scheduled to close in August 2015. Currently, 15 residents remain at the facility, awaiting transfer to a private setting, and there also are 60 state employees on the NORCE payroll.

    July 24, 2014

  • Never leave a child or a pet alone in a car

    With temperatures soaring to near or above 100, parents need to know they can’t leave their children alone in a locked vehicle. In 10 minutes, a vehicle’s temperature can climb 19 degrees. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, and it only takes a few minutes before a child can become dangerously overheated, according to Safe Kids USA.

    July 23, 2014

  • Will Rogers web.jpg Will Rogers Daily Telegrams 7-24-2014

    I am beginning to believe that Mellon is the poorest Treasurer we ever had. I would like to be Treasurer. Here would be my policy, and you see if it wouldn’t be the best thing for America:
    Save nothing, have nothing in there. Then Congress and the entire nation could have nothing in view only what they made themselves.
    A Candidate.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg State of the state: Things are not as good as they could be

    Draper wants to split Cali up into six separate states — Silicon Valley, around the San Francisco Bay Area; Central California, including cities like Bakersfield; West California, including Los Angeles and its suburbs; South California, including San Diego; North California, centered on Sacramento and Jefferson, in the far northern part of the state.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Voters have decisions to make in August races

    Democrats will have two runoffs to decide. One will be choosing their party’s nominee for state superintendent. Freda Deskin will face John Cox. The winner will face Republican nominee Joy Hofmeister in the November general election.
    The other race is for the party nominee to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. Jim Rogers will face Connie Johnson. The winner will face Republican nominee U.S. Rep. James Lankford in November.

    July 22, 2014

  • Going postal

    Waukomis residents have the opportunity to have their voices heard in regard to the future of their post office.

    July 22, 2014 1 Story

  • New dorm

    Breaking ground on a new dormitory at Northern Oklahoma College Enid is another step in the evolution of the campus.

    July 20, 2014 1 Story

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Stars in our eyes

    We caught the vision when, in May of 1961, John F. Kennedy told Congress, and the world, that the space race was no longer to be so one-sided.
    “First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” he said.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up logo.jpg Thumbs up for northwest Okla. communities, where net taxable sales figures are up

    Net taxable sales were up $1,917,774 in Enid, when compared to sales reported in July 2013. The increase amounted to a 2.6 percent increase in sales tax revenue for the city.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads