My family has an important announcement to make: our previous existence as non-pet people is about to be shattered. The wandering calico that adopted us last year is going to be a proud mama.
My ten year old daughter is ecstatic. She is, bless her heart, at this very moment in time, making blankets for the kittens. That’s right. Blankets. Out of scraps of fleece. For the kittens.
Please allow me this moment in time to love her to bursting and don’t you dare tease her.
We have been cat-less for 7 or 8 years, ever since our previous cat – an indoor calico named Fernie – decided that biting interfering children was worth the scolding and took to doing so at every opportunity.
We had her for several years, though we should have known better than to keep her from day one. Of all the cats at the farm where we got her, she was the only one of the liter who RAN AWAY from people. She would hide beneath the stairs going up to the hay mow and hiss at anyone who came near. For some inexplicable reason, this intrigued my husband and she was the one he wanted.
We brought her home and after a day or two of getting used to us, she took to running and LEAPING on our backs whenever we were vulnerable. Bending down to retrieve a pan from a cupboard: LEAP. Reaching down to water the Christmas tree: LEAP. Tucking in the corners of the sheets: LEAP. Yes, she had all her claws.
As time when on she settled down, though she never was a kind creature. Proof of the fact: When our son was small and learning to talk, you’d ask him, “What does a cat say?” And he, in all sincerity and innocence, would reply with a guttural, “Hissssss!”
She also would hiss at the mail-lady, though she never did bite her, thankfully. One day, out of the blue, there was a determined knock on our door and there the mail-lady stood, a postal-worker-about-to-go-postal expression on her face.
“If that cat of yours bites me, I’ll sue you.”
“Excuse me?” I responded, amazed at her vehemence.
“I had a bad experience with a cat once,” she insisted. “You keep her away from me.”
This is the same postal worker who, when she moved to our town, knocked on our door and asked about renting out the upstairs of our house. We had had a friend rent it from us but she had recently moved away and we had since taken over our whole house just for ourselves.
“I hear you have an apartment to rent out.”
“No, sorry, we don’t.”
“But someone just moved out. You have a vacancy.”
“Someone just moved out, but we aren’t renting it out; we’re moving in to it.”
“So what about where you lived? Are you renting that?”
“No, we’re living in the entire house now.”
“But someone just moved out. They said so at the post office.”
“Yes, but it’s full now. WE are in the whole house.”
“We,” I said indicating myself and my invisible family, “are living in the ENTIRE,” I said with waving arm motions, indicating the whole, complete, total home, “house”.
“So you aren’t renting the upstairs?”
“That is correct. We live there.”
“They said at the office…”
“Sorry about that, but they had no right to suggest that…”
She turned and stomped off. I really should have seen the threat of suing-over-the-imaginary-cat-bite coming.
Two children plus an angry postal worker proved to be too much for Fernie to take and so we were pet-less for all these years. But then, early last fall, what to our wondering eyes should appear but another calico, almost identical to Fernie, only with a pleasant disposition and a very hungry tummy.
We’re fairly certain that she was dumped. In other words, some ignorant people decided that they could no longer care for her and thought that ditching their house cat in the country would be a good alternative. How do we know this? For starters, she had a collar. Also, she is very friendly and used to humans and clearly not wild. She also was fairly skinny as if she’d been living a rough life for a few days or possibly weeks.
And so…she adopted us. It was, apparently, our fate.
She has, to date, destroyed the screen door by climbing up it, killed at least one rabbit and one bird and untold mice. She runs into the house at any opportunity (she lives mostly in the garage) and sometimes she chooses to ignore the litter box simply to prove to us that she can.
My daughter loves her. She feeds her twice a day and cleans up after her and even goes out in the frigid temps without complaining
And that, I suppose, is what having a pet is all about. Love. Responsibility. And someone to come running the second they see or hear you.
Her name, Copernicus, is quite apropos. She has proven that the earth is not the center of the universe: she is.