a cat comes home
I finally brought the new kitten home yesterday.* She is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve had a hard time taking pictures because she’s on the move all the time. She is incredibly snuggly and playful, and very brave. I’ve started her in the bedroom so that she can have a safe space away from the other pets while she acclimates, but when I accidentally left the door open yesterday she came storming out, ready to go. Then she saw the dog. Then the other cat saw her. Then it was all over.
Up until then Wynter, my other cat, had mainly been interested in the new cat tower. I told her it was a present from the kitten; figured it would start ‘em off on the right paw. I actually think Wynter is more scared of the kitten than the kitten is of Wynter. (Never been the boldest of cats, that one. Spent most of her first year with us in the bathroom.) The kitten will approach and Wynter will crouch low, bearing it for as long as she can before she hisses and runs away. Kathy, the dog, pretends she doesn’t see the kitten at all, but persists on pawing me with this look in her eyes that says, “I wasn’t enough for you. I see that now. I can be more. Tell me I’m good.”
She told me her name this morning. Said she’d been thinking about me calling her brave and adventurous. Inspired by some friends I told her about who gave their cats literary and theatrical names (shout out to Professor Moriarity and Dame Maggie Smith), she said she believes she’s named after my favorite brave and adventurous little girl Lucy Pevensie.
She’ll be called this, and a number of other things as well. All of our pets have multiple names. Kathy is also the K-Dog, Brownie McBrownerson, Brownbutt Mcbruderpants, and Snuggle Puppy, to name a few. Wynter is Wynterpuss (or WP for short), Blackie, Blackie Jo Smushface the Cat, Blackajawea, and Pootus. Lucy Pevensie is already Lucy, Pokeface, and Tootus as well.
Sometimes I wonder why we invest so much in the built-in tragedies** that are our pets. We know that they will inevitably go before we do, and it will always be too soon. We know that it will break our hearts. And still we go out and do it again. I suppose they bring enough joy into our lives to counter the pain. It’s been two years since my Syderopolou (Sydney, Greypuss, Grumpuss, Sydney Greyhame, and Sydney Stormcrow) passed away. I waited to get another cat partly because I knew I’d be moving around for a while and wanted to get settled first, and partly because I didn’t see the point. She couldn’t be replaced.
Sydney and I didn’t find each other until she was 8, and she’d been through quite a bit before that. She took her time getting to know me, feeling things out before foolishly rushing in. That’s just about how I was approaching things at that point, being 28 and dating in NYC, so we were a good match. Once she decided I was her person, though, she was hooked onto me, and I onto her.
Lucy Pevensie has no fear and no past, only her kitteny present, which she enjoys as fully as her little kitteny self can. I’m a little more that way these days, too. I guess that’s the thing about pets: they show you something about yourself in each moment as you live it, and so their lives become markers for where you were when. As a result, when they’re gone you wonder if the person they showed you might be gone, too.
The kitten did remind me of Sydney last night when, after I turned off the light, I felt her little nose gently nuzzling my face. Sydney used to lick my cheek to signal that I should lift up the covers so she could get under with me. So, just to see what would happen, I lifted the covers. She darted under and snuggled in with her body cradled in my chest, just like Syd. Before I could burst into tears, she was off on another kitteny adventure and Sydney’s spot was empty again.
But it was too late. I’d already invested in this new little tragedy.*adopted from Furrever Grateful Rescue **husband-coined phrase