In lieu of going on a camping trip I had been looking forward to for months, I spent last weekend attending to problems with one of the least-cute parts of a kitten.

Here’s what happened:

Ten days ago, under the kind of anthropomorphizing logic that makes people say things like, “That couch looks sad that it got thrown away,” we caved in to months of guilt over leaving the cat alone on travel weekends and adopted a kitten to keep him company. The profile was for a friendly, 9-month-old kitten who also bore a striking resemblance to the incumbent. We met him in person and he seemed small, but by the time we learned that I had misread “4-month-old kitten” he had already charmed us into taking him home.

A couple of days in, he was slightly less charming, in that he was vomiting quite a bit — non-cat people, be ready, we get more graphic from here — so I mentioned this on his first trip to the vet’s office. Ditto the fact that he didn’t seem to have much appetite. They guessed it was the stress of a new home and said to try a canned food that costs about the same per pound as ground beef from hand-raised, grass-fed cows that finished graduate school and summered in the Hamptons before butchering. OK, fine. He eats a couple tablespoons a day. It’s not that big an escalation in expense.

Hahaha. He eats this French Laundry-inspired cat food like Kobayashi at Coney Island. And a day later — brace yourselves — the aggressive ejections switched to the other end. 

Note to Non-Cat People: In cats, even kittens, vomiting is, y’know, NBD. Happens fairly often. You get used to it. The back-end counterpoint, though, is dangerous, especially in kittens. And when I saw that the, um, only part of a kitten’s outside that isn’t cute was seriously red and swollen, we hustled back to the vet. They reviewed the swollen part and suggested I bring them a sample of something even less cute. They also gave me an ointment to apply to the only part of the outside of a kitten you do not want to pet. 

(The whole process of examining an angry kitten for a digestive issue was conducted in a back room, and I could hear his cursing through two doors. Afterward, they described him as “a feisty one.” I can only hope my own doctor would be as gracious if I needed a similar exam and it took two people per pound of body weight to hold me still.)

It turns out the little fellow has giardia, a fairly common parasite. So now, in addition to having to apply soothing ointment to my least-favorite part of the kitten, I have to give him a pill twice a day. If you have never given a pill to a cat, imagine trying to slip a pea down the drain of the kitchen sink, using your fingers, while the disposal is running. Even more joyfully, giardia is easy to transmit, so the big cat has to have a twice-daily pill, too. The big cat is four times the size of the kitten. He had his first pill two hours ago, and one of the bites I got is still bleeding.  

After I finish writing this, I have cat boxes to scour, and then I will drive three hours to have campsite dinner with the people with whom I was supposed to go camping before driving back to keep an eye on him overnight.

Having a new baby just sucks.