My oldest son asked me to cat sit. He adopted a six-toed Hemingway Tabico from the shelter in early spring. He had an optimistic attitude that he could socialize the cat like others socialize a dog, nevermind that he lives alone and is a hard introvert. But, he bought a luxury cat carrier that could fit in the under-seat storage area on an airplane and grain-free, no cruelty pet foods, snacks and toys. He named her Fiadh (pronounced FEE-ah).
Gaelic for wildness.
And she looks like a ginger-haired, freckled Bonny lass on the highlands with a streak of brashness and adventure. And she’s contemplative and curious and a bit reticent. But also stubborn.
Since my son had seemed certain that she’d socialize with our other two adult cats and the dog (who is the most timid animal in the house), we brought her in and left her free-range the first night. She ended up under our king sized bed, up in the box spring. Perched. The dog sleeps on a dog-bed on my husband’s side. My Big Fat Girl, Ghibli sleeps under the ironing board and Maeve, the black cat patrol like a beat cop. The three of them pinning Fiadh under the bed all night. If I didn’t sleep with ear plugs, I would have heard the low rumbling grow from the kitten all night.
The next day, I coaxed her from beneath the bed with a flashlight and patience. I relocated her to the sought side of the house in my other son’s bedroom and the jack-and-jack bathroom the boys shared when they lived at home.
I am a cat person because cats need very little attention. I snark that dogs are co-dependent and cats have borderline personality disorders. Dogs are too needy and I just don’t want to have to pay that much attention to anything or anyone. My long-term commitments are to the two humans I gave birth to and the man I sleep with. Then to lesser degrees, the other humans to whom I am genetically related and then friends. Pets fall well below strangers. With the exceptions of the four years I lived in college dorms, I’ve always had cats. Bingo was first. Then Domino, a petite calico that lived 19 years. The Billy, brindle that waddled out from under the shelving at the Winn Dixie store. Her offspring, Pepper – a fat boy cat that died from a stroke. Then there was the blue-grey Luther and the marmalade Gumbo. After my divorce, I got Caprica and Dagney but they both got killed by a rescued dog we adopted.
That dog is now buried in the back yard FAR AWAY from the corpses of the beloved cats she slaughtered.
Like I said, I am a cat person.
At the beginning of the pandemic, before the lockdown happened, we adopted Ghibli and Maeve, two kittens from a litter of 13. And they need very little attention nor do they want much attention. Typical cats.
But this baby kitten, my son’s cat, Fiadh, I want to spent time with, snuggle, play with, pet and entertain. I want her to sit on my lap and climb onto my lap. It is a deep, echoing longing for my oldest son to be tiny and small and needing care. Fiadh is Cameron by proxy.