Why having a kitten is like having a baby
Should you get a pet? The other week, I bought my husband a kitten. A chance detour and visit to a pet shop in Thornton Heath, South London, with my Mum, and out we walk with a four-month old kitten. Black as petrol, sweet as treacle.
From her cell-like cupboard in the pet shop, she walks up towards us and taps my Mum on her chest through the bars. We had to have her. My husband’s off work. I bring her home in a cat carrier and he falls in love with her. Instantly.
He names her Tracy (I know, I know). Her mouth curls up into smile. Her tiny bat-like features pop up everywhere we turn. At night she cuddles up with us to sleep. My husband’s so excited about this Meow-a-Trois that he wakes up and talks to Tracy every five minutes in his special cat voice (all men have a special voice for their pets, sorry to generalise). Tracy crawls on my back, the scratch marks still there.
She climbs on my head. My husband wakes me to tell me how cute she looks when she’s asleep. Two days of this and we fall into what can only be described as the baby zone. My sons and husband look after Tracy while I’m at work. I become so tired on the way home, I miss my stop and overrun train stations.
My husband is so tired he goes to pick me up at my usual train station but he forgets to take his phone with him. I ring and text him to say that I’m at the wrong station. I’m standing in the drizzle. In my blurred rush that morning I had put my tights on wrong. A seam between my little toe and my boot is rubbing and the thought of walking home fills me with angst. No husband arrives. The station is cold and offers nowhere to sit and adjust my tights or nearby cab station.
I stand on the pavement waiting, hoping that my other half will receive my message soon. But alas, his phone is back home atop the microwave. As I hang around, I remember that exactly the same thing happened when our
sons were babies and we turned from competent adults into bumbling parents. Yet the house is full of joy and everyone relaxes when she climbs on their laps.
Our kitten continues to surprise us, just like a baby would – managing to reach puberty just days after she arrived. Gawd, we have another teenager in the house… But that is a story for next week.