We have kittens at our house.  This surprises some of my readers who know that I am allergic to cat hair. I am also allergic to dogs, pollen, dust, sage. Tumbleweed, latex, glue that is used in surgery.  The list goes on and on. In short, I am allergic to almost everything. 

I had eczema, from a very young age until I was 15. This horrible itchy skin condition manifested itself in rashes inside my elbows, behind my knees, in my fingers and toes, and all around my face. It was from allergies, I was told.

How can I stand cats in the house then? Have you ever heard of Benadryl? Loratadine?   Allergy eye drops?  I take all of these and wash my hands and don’t touch my eyes.

Why did we get some kittens?  Mice!   The mice took 5 years to find us.  I am sure they have been looking for us since we moved from the old house.  If they would have just followed us across the pasture,  our mouse worries would have started sooner.

I admit that I have not been particularly fond of cats.

But cats, like many animals like me.

When I visit friends with cats,  the cats come to check me out. Our new kittens love me.  Sitting in my lap or laying across my chest with their head on the neurostimulator for my DBS device, their breath in rhythm with the electrical impulses to my brain.

Where does one find good mousing cats?  Facebook has the answer.  A Facebook friend arranged for two kittens to be delivered to my house.  I asked my husband Charlie to pick up the to get the essentials: litter box,  kitten food, cat carrier. 

The kittens arrived much sooner than I expected.  I kept them quietly contained in their carrier until Charlie returned from the store.   Then all hell broke loose!

It was quite fun watching the kittens tear across our living room. It made me realize why pets, even rescue dogs and cats were difficult to come by during the pandemic.  Their companionship and entertainment value is priceless.

A rooster crowed. The sun rose. Dawn came and it’s the second day with kittens.

Charlie fed the kittens before he left the house.  The kitties got sick.  There was cat poop and vomit on our living room floor.  I got cleaning materials out and then searched for the kittens.  They were much faster than me.  I  reached over and caught one by the leg. In the process I rolled on the floor and came into contact with the lamp cord which pulled the lamp down onto my favorite rocking chair, breaking the glass and leaving a scratch. The shattered glass surrounded me,  the kittens, and completely covered the leather seat of the rocking chair.

Did I say I had shoes on?  Well, I didn’t.

While I was contemplating the situation,  I started to feel sorry for myself.  If this had happened  15 years ago it would be all cleaned up by now.  I just sat there in the mess of glass, cat poop, and vomit, and BANG something happened outside.  That jarred me back to reality. I backed away from the glass to where I had a window view and saw what happened.  Picnic benches that had been stacked on top of a table blew over in a huge gust of wind and had taken the screen door with them.  Now the benches had the screen securely pinned against the glass patio door so there would be no more damage. 

From my position on the floor, I saw something on the screen door.  It was green, more than green.  Long and narrow.  What the heck was it?  My curiosity pulled me off the floor, something difficult for me to do, and I staggered to the patio door.  I saw the largest praying mantis I have ever seen.  While I  examined this interesting bug I was distracted from my sadness about the loss of the lamp and worry about the kittens being sick. My depression about how physically hard it was going to be to clean up went away. 

Shoes on.  Paper towel and plastic bag in hand I finished the floor part of the disaster just as my husband came in the door.  He finished up the glass clean-up and made an appointment with the veterinarian. 

There were no strong words exchanged between me, my husband, the kittens, or their mess.  My husband, who lately has displayed some anger in these types of situations, took it in stride. “Stuff”  happens when you take on the responsibility of pets.  I welcomed that attitude of acceptance and adopted it for myself.

Later, I thought more about the whole situation.

Could I care for a pet by myself? Can I even care for myself?

Go away bad thoughts. You are not going to fill my brain with these stories of “can’t”. 

If the “mess” in your life is overwhelming, break it into smaller pieces.  Invite a friend to help you.  Laugh about it.  Take your time. But don’t let it rule your thoughts.

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 (541) 720-4256

7 thoughts on “kittens

  1. pets can do strange things to your life….. 1 year old Asta dog has taught me lots. Cats?: i found feral cat had her kittens/2 in compost bin. I took cover off and they were gone in a day……where to? our big outer shed? No, neighbor Shirley says they adopted one that prowled over there and the mother now comes to tend……

  2. I’m glad you feel up to caring for a creature other than yourself. Good for you. I hope it is good medicine for you!

  3. Hilarious! This story of disaster and your positive conclusion comes at exactly the right time. Thank you so much!

  4. Enjoyed this article, it helps me to remember that we need to remain calm in emergency and life. those kittens are darling. Hope you get along with the kittens and i think they picked a good home to join.

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