I still haven’t figured out what possessed my son to bring a cat inside the house. Unlike his siblings, he has never once clamored or cajoled for a pet. Unlike his siblings, he has never once fawned over an animal. I save photos and videos of pandas to a folder for my daughter to coo over. I routinely forward my older son articles about fish, octopus, or other sea creatures. I don’t bother saving any animal-related photos or articles for Jiminy Cricket, because I know he’s not interested.
Once I took my children to a goat farm during kidding season. The youngest and oldest were rapturous with joy as they nuzzled newborn goats. Jiminy Cricket stood off to the side with his hands jammed deep into his pockets and politely declined all offers to hold a baby goat. A couple times I took the kids to a live butterfly exhibit. The rest of us stood forlornly with outstretched hands, trying in vain to get a creature to alight on our fingers. The butterflies floated right past us and straight to JC, who stood there – a picture of suffering – his body shuddering with visceral horror and disgust as they landed all over him.
The boy has never even warmed up to any of our own pets:
When he takes the dogs out for their morning constitutional, he squeamishly wraps the torso of the one who refuses to walk down stairs in a paper towel, so his hands don’t actually have to make contact with his fur as he carries him to the yard.
So why would this boy insist on bringing a cat into the house? I can only conclude that he was overpowered by some potent feline bewitchment.
And how are things working out, you might be wondering?
Well…the words pussy whipped spring to mind.
For the first month or so after my son insisted on bringing the cat in, she didn’t budge from his bedroom. She stayed on a cat bed in the corner of his room unless she had to use the kitty litter, which he had set up right next to her bed. When I suggested moving the litter to the bathroom so it wouldn’t have to be in his bedroom, he demurred and said he didn’t think the cat would feel comfortable having to leave his room.
After she’d been with us for some time, I asked my son if she was starting to explore her surroundings a little more.
“Yes!” he replied. “Now sometimes she’ll come up to me when I’m working at my computer. At first I’ll feel her little velvet paws on my legs…and then I’ll feel her slowly sinking her claws into my flesh! Sometimes I’ll come into my room and I’ll need to sit down to do some work, but I can’t because she’ll be sitting on my chair and she just stares at me and she won’t move.”
“So do you kick her out of the chair?”
“No!” he said, clearly signaling with his tone of voice how preposterous he found that notion…”I just go away and come back a little later.”
After another few months passed, I started to hear strange thudding noises at night. Eventually, I figured out that it was the cat running back and forth, up and down the hallway. I’m convinced she’s in training…probably to murder my son while he sleeps.
“I think the cat needs to get some more exercise,” I proposed to my son. “Why don’t we try to let her outside for a little? I bet she’s really bored in your room, and would love to go out for a bit to stretch her legs!”
“I really don’t think that’s a good idea,” he replied.
One fine morning, I decided to insist. “Let’s just try to let her out for a little bit! We’ll let her right back in as soon as she wants to come back!”
“OK,” he said dubiously. He made his sister carry the cat down the stairs and to the door. He said he was afraid the cat would scratch him, but I’m pretty sure it’s because he didn’t want her to think it was his idea to make her go outside.
The minute the doors opened, the cat leapt out of my daughter’s arms and tore back upstairs to my son’s room, where she’s remained ever since. (Except of course when she trains in the hallway to murder him).
Like clockwork, the minute we sit down to dinner, the cat starts paging Jiminy from the top of the stairs.
“Oh,” he says, a guilty expression washing over his face, “Excuse me.”
He hustles up the stairs bearing food to the cat, as she continues to yowl at him the entire way. I swear to you, it sounds like: “Get. Your. Ass. Up. Here. NOW.”
He responds, “I’m coming. I’ll be right there. I’m on my way.”
In a much lower voice so she won’t hear, he mumbles: “Geez. I’m going as fast as I can. You don’t have to keep yelling at me.”
He comes back down the stairs and asks, “Mom, next time you go to the store, could you buy some more Fancy Feast, please? I like to alternate it with the Iams so she can have some variety.”
“Sure, Jiminy. Gotta keep the cat happy.”