From time to time in the last few months, I’ve talked about the kitten that we rescued, in the hope of eventually finding it a home. We were in for a lot of surprises. First, a month down the line, it turned out to be a male and not a female. Even the vet was surprised. (This reminds me of an old joke about a lady at the zoo who asked the chimpanzee’s keeper its gender. “That, madam” said the keeper sternly, “should be a matter of interest only to another chimpanzee.”) I agree with the sentiment, so I don’t know why we were so thrown by it turning out to be a male. Maybe because we only have daughters; and all our dogs, by chance rather than design, have been female too. We almost don’t have a word for ‘boy’ in our house, and still refer to the kitten as ‘that girl’ in moments of stress. And there are many, many of those!
Anyway, after various false starts with prospective adopters, we finally decided to keep Punkin Puss. He travels up and down between farm and city with us, objecting strenuously all the way, but quite happy in each place. ‘Happy’ in Punk’s limited vocabulary covers a lot of activities — run, bite, scratch, tumble, skid, climb, slither, burrow, wiggle through the tiniest holes, grab anything anyone is holding, escape through doors and get into gutters, ditches, dustbins and washing machines. He’s a skinny little runt who doesn’t believe in petting, and cares nothing for food (ergo, unbribable). It’s just a matter of fuelling up when the tank is low. Rarely, he’ll snuggle up on your lap for a catnap. And then it’s whizz, bang, crash! again.
Cats are weird animals. They really are wild, inscrutable, alien, independent, amoral, all the things people say about them. But they’re also fun and funny. Affectionate in their own peculiar way, and quite fascinating.
Our dog Topshe (you can read her story here) has accepted Punk.
Mostly, she watches his antics with horror; but sometimes she seems to enjoy the ridiculousness of this small creature. For us, our new life, post retirement, is one of alternate laughter and dire crises. They ought to hand out a puppy or kitten to every retiree to keep away the blues.