There are five of them altogether, staring at me with the kind of wide-eyed longing nature instills in the young as a way of tricking grown women into a lifetime of vacuuming.
The important thing is not to look into their eyes.
"No," I say firmly.
There is no easy way to come between a pack of 12-year-old girls and a litter of stray kittens they are determined to rescue. Resistance, as any member of the Justin Bieber security detail can tell you, is futile.
They scour the Internet for information on "orphaned and abandoned kittens" and scratch out supply lists. They text everyone they know. They change the screen savers on their cell phones to kittens.
They cannot possibly be expected to give them up. They are ready to devote themselves completely to the care of Milky, Stormy, Boots, Fluffers, Oreo and Sox, who were just a bad smell under a a pile of lumber scraps in the garage an hour ago.
"They are not orphaned or abandoned," I tell them. "Their mother will come back for them. "
What if she doesn't? they plead. There is no mistaking the hopefulness in their voices.
"They are not even weaned," I say. "You have no way of feeding them."
It is only a matter of seconds before www.overpricedkittenformula.com proves me wrong.
From there it is a predictably short step to the cash register at the PetsR2Expensive Superstore where two kitten-sized baby bottles and a 12-ounce container of Kitten Milk Replacer costs me $32 and the rest of the afternoon. It is, says one of the girls, "the best day ever."
And I am the best mom on the planet, or at least in the sixth grade. But only for today.