Saralee Perel

Award-winning columnist, Saralee Perel, can be reached at 

Her novel, Raw Nerves, is now available as a paperback and an e-book on

Dennis Has Found A Home

I now understand why new mothers say to their partners, “If you wake the baby, I will kill you.”

Last Sunday, my husband, Bob, and I were at the Animal Rescue League in Brewster. A gal named Alysia put a kitten in my arms. He weighed all of 2 pounds. He purred the second he saw me.

Bob and I fell instantly in love with our new family member. We named him Dennis. “He’s so snuggly,” Bob said. “He’ll cuddle all the time.”

At home in our bedroom, we let Dennis out of his carrier. I held my arms out so he’d nestle in them. I ask you: What is it about animals who put on a demure, “Please take me home,” act at the shelters, then turn into raucous whirring flying saucers once in their homes?

Dennis zoomed past me and flew up every curtain, bookshelf and tall lamp he could find. After his first round, he did it again … and again, at breakneck speeds even a NASCAR driver couldn’t match. Bob can’t catch him and he’s won trophies in sprint competitions.

Dennis had clearly been trained in electrical engineering. He shuts down computers with one paw. He turns on printers. He sends faxes. Dennis is … a menace!

On the day prior to what we now call D-Day, we emptied our bank account buying every kind of cat toy at PetSmart. Dennis nixed the toys and spent hours jumping in an out of the paper bag they came in.

Dennis will not nap.

Bob, exhausted, finally corralled the kitten into a huge luxurious crate, at which point Dennis let out a non-stop vocal rendition of the July 4th fireworks, and I mean the grand finale when each rapid-fire explosion can be felt throughout our whole bodies and we begin to wonder if our insurance companies cover permanent hearing damage.

Each lion-sized roar was accompanied by him banging the metal door, adding the lovely, lilting effect of bombs detonating at split second intervals.

Do you know what this ball of lightening darts to and then grabs with his sharp teeth if we’re playing in bed and I’m not wearing any top? Well, let me just say I’m sporting 2 Band-Aids.

This kitten is no bigger than a sweet potato. But I have to tell you something … he’s even sweeter than one.

This morning when I opened my eyes, I watched Bob holding Dennis in his arms. Bob didn’t know I could hear him softly singing:

I’ll love you till the bluebells forget to bloom.

I’ll love you till the clover has lost its perfume.

I’ll love you till the poets run out of rhyme.

Until the twelfth of never, and that’s a long, long time.

And then I heard him whisper, “Welcome home, Dennis.”