Are You Kitten Me?

Nope! The story behind a San Diego kitten shower

by Alyssa Huckleberry

If you told me a year ago that I’d celebrate my birthday by throwing a kitten shower, I would have laughed in your face. A kitten shower? How ridiculous. And me, with a feline? No way. I was born and raised a bona-fide dog lover.

I was settling into acceptance that I was turning 30 and working to make peace with where I was. I had a job I LOVED, friends and family close by, great health, and the financial stability to purchase a home and travel internationally. Buuut that was sometimes hard to appreciate when my heart wanted a different blessing, one that couldn’t be bought or earned. I’d just emerged from a season of personal growth, so I was ready to take things easy for a while. Instead, my beloved golden retriever died unexpectedly.

The painful, uncomfortable things in life are often those that ultimately bring the most beauty; the idea of a kitten came from the teary week that followed. In the middle of one night, following a day of quiet, solitude, and prayer, I woke with a start … the word “kitten” lit up in my mind like a firework.

A kitten was feasible: easier to train than a puppy, and lower maintenance. And I wasn’t looking to “replace” my precious dog … but I sure did miss having a furry companion. But a cat?! The night’s sleep was quickly forfeited in favor of intensive research on cat breeds … a mission that took me well into the afternoon of the next day. After combing through every breed and reading over temperaments, health concerns, size, etc., I was certain I’d found my dream kitty: one that was intelligent, playful, affectionate … and adorable.

But after I’d settled on a Devon Rex, the wait began. I quickly learned that I’d set my heart on a rare breed not readily available, but I was determined not to rush. I would wait for the right one. And as I began to “nest” and make plans for my kitten-to-be (dubbed “Felix,” as he was to be my lucky charm), the inspiration for a kitten shower hit me. How many bridal or baby showers had I hosted or attended? These heartfelt celebrations focused on preparing for and building community around a major, exciting life event. And while I didn’t have a wedding or baby on the horizon, I sure did have a kitten.

After giggling and pondering the idea (was I really going to be so silly?), I decided the party was a must – not only to revel in the joy of my precious new fur baby, but to take an unorthodox position skewering society’s unspoken expectation for life. We don’t all have the “traditional” moments to celebrate … maybe we will someday, maybe we won’t. But we all have something to celebrate, and we should do it with gusto (and lots of corny puns).

And for those of you wondering, Felix’s kitten shower was a smashing success. Translation: The whimsical theme delighted my guests, Felix didn’t protest wearing a bow tie, and we now have enough catnip and furry mice to last him a lifetime. Best of all, both Felix and I were showered with extravagant love. And I think everyone will agree, that is the best gift of all!