“Mr. S, do you like cats?” students ask.
“No, not really,” I reply pausing before continuing my usual silly joke whenever someone asks me about my preferred pet. “They’re much to difficult to cook right, and they always end up too chewy for my preferences.”
“Oh, Mr. S! That’s horrible!” they respond on cue.
And I suppose it is horrible, but the truth is, I really have no preferences either way about animals, other than the fact that I’d prefer not own one at all. Still, it’s good for the kids, and if push comes to shove, I prefer cats: much more independent, much lower maintenance.
Our poor cat, though, is so old that she’s virtually toothless and prefers sleeping to anything else — more so than the average cat, that is. Try as she may, L can’t get our poor cat Bida (which literally means “poor little thing” in Polish — she was a rescue cat, and that was the only thing K could say about the poor cat) to play with her, and as she ages, Bida just wants to spend all her time in her little basement lair. So L has been pestering us for the last year or so for a kitten, a cat that she can raise from playful kitten to hopefully playful adult.
Today, she got her wish, and we welcomed Elsa (L provided the name from her current favorite film, Frozen) to our family. She mostly trembles and meows now. “Imagine that same thing happened to you,” we explain to a confused little girl. “She’s been taken from her mother, and she’s around strangers in a strange house. She’s absolutely terrified, so you just have to give her time.”
Tonight, when it was bed time, we put Elsa in her little bed we’ve put in her temporary abode in the cleaned out floor of L’s closet, and then we kissed our little girl goodnight and waited. Sure enough, in a few minutes L appeared at the top of the stairs. “I can’t sleep. She just keeps crying.” In the end, L made a small bed on the floor and had Elsa come over and sleep with her because she just couldn’t handle Elsa’s sad crying.
Instant bond, and reassurance for us: she’ll be a good cat servant indeed.