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Ugly kittens don’t exist.

Think about it. Have you ever seen an ugly kitten? Have you ever looked at a tiny cat and said “Ew?” Have you seen a photo of a litter of kittens and been revolted?

It’s possible to just not like cats or kittens, but it’s pretty hard to say they’re ugly. In fact, I propose that if we ever find extraterrestrial life, or they find us, kittens should be the first thing we show them to establish that we, the people of Earth, do not intend harm. So here, hold this kitten.

I confirmed this recently as we searched extensively for the perfect pair of kittens to adopt. Our old and very ill cat passed last month, and since kitten season (yes – there’s a season) was upon us, we decided to “just look.”

A casual trip to the Lange Foundation was the gateway drug to obsessive kitten searching. Just a few minutes petting adorable adoptable cats were all it took for us to say, “Let’s go to NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles) too, it’s nearby.”

And then, “Oh look, the West L.A. shelter is right here!”

And then, “I’ll stop by Best Friends Animal Society on the way home from work…just to see.”

And finally, the hours spent in the rabbit hole of PetFinder.com.

At home, we’d huddle around a screen and scroll through pages and pages of photos at shelters, rescues, and foster homes. Long-haired, short-haired, black, white, calico, tortoise shell – didn’t matter. If it was a kitten, it was cute.

We did, however, also come across some, through no fault of their own, less-attractive cats. Most just had endearing quirks that would merely disqualify them from winning Best in Show, but when compared to the litter of kittens we saw on page two, it was clear which was the winner.

We met and pet cat after cat, kitten after kitten, and have a few we were partial to. But when six different people are all contributing their own ideas about what makes a great cat, it’s a bit like having all six radio presets on at full volume all at once: you can pick out bits and pieces, and maybe the same commercial is on two stations so it comes through with decent quality, but it’s mostly just people talking over each other.

Weighing everyone’s preferences about temperament, age, size, hair length, allergies, color, and most importantly it seemed, face shape, we just couldn’t seem to find a pair that fit all of our criteria. Many very sweet and adorable kittens fit most of the requirements, but then had a shy, or otherwise ill-fitting sibling that came as a package deal.

One Craigslist ad we came across summed up our experience trying to find an all-of-the-above bonded pair of kittens nicely: “the most adorable and loving kitten in the world…and her brother!”

There was one pair that kept coming back up on PetFinder: Nina and Simone. And like a good online dating profile, their pictures drew us in, but it was the description that really sold us on setting up a meeting at their foster home. Playful, but cuddly, just the right age, just the right look, and it was love at first sight. We took them home that day, and learned they purr like lawn mowers that night.

I just hope they grow up to be as cute as they are now.

 

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Katharine Lotze
Katharine Lotze is a photojournalist and columnist at the Signal, and can be found photographing daily life in Santa Clarita, or writing personal essays about her own daily life.
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