About eight weeks ago, whilst we were driving somewhere, Ma glanced over at me and said, “Hey, Loops. I’m thinking of getting my dad a kitten for Father’s Day.”
I looked at her incredulously for a second. “You’re thinking of what?” I howled.
“Well,” she grew defensive. “The Major-General’s cat’s had a surprise litter of kittens under the bed two days ago, so now she’s got four kittens that’ll be ready for homing around Father’s Day.”
“So you thought you’d get Gramps a kitten?”
“He loves cats, and he’s sad Polly no longer goes to visit him.”*
“Huh.” I sat back in my seat and thought about it. “What about vet visits?”
“I have to take Polly, I’d take the kitten as well.”
“What about when Grandpa d-i-e-s or gets poorly and can’t look after it?”
“We’d have it.”
“Dad will kill you. There is no way he’ll let you get another cat after Polly. It took him fifteen years to warm up to her!”
“Of course he will. He’ll think it’s a great idea.”
Now, anyone who has met my father will know that he was unlikely to think getting a kitten for Grandpa was anywhere in the vicinity of ‘a great idea’. In fact, my father would think it a better idea to pour petrol on his pubic hair and set it alight, than to obtain a kitten for my grandfather, knowing it might end up living with him and Ma eventually.
“Well,” says Mum, “he’ll certainly get used to it. Do you think it’s a good idea?”
In fact, that afternoon, I decide to pop round and see Grandpa to say hello. As I’m leaving, I spot Polly, sprawled as usual on the special fleecy blanket on the sofa, and think, “I’ll take her round to see Gramps.” I attempt to pick her up. This goes down with Polly about as well as a bunch of lead ballons.
Fourteen lacerations later, and having nearly lost an eye, I leave Polly on the sofa, and stagger round to Gramps’ to make my visit. I explain I tried to bring the cat, but couldn’t, because, well, clawed half-to-death.
At this, Gramps looks sad, and says, “Yes, she never comes to see us anymore.”
This leads into a conversation about cats, and what wonderful creatures they are. Gramps, it turns out, loves cats, thinks they’re marvellous creatures. I’m in agreement with him; although I am fond of dogs, and their bouncy excitability, I am much more of a cat person myself – enjoying the arrogance of a creature that thinks you exist solely for its service, care and appreciation.
At the end of the afternoon, when I’ve made it home, I text Ma.
Gramps loves cats and is sad Polly doesn’t visit anymore. I therefore think the kitten is an excellent idea. Operation Sneaky Kitty is a go. Over and out, Roger.
AwesomeMa texts back a smiley face. And that’s the end of it – Grandpa is getting a kitten, and DaddyDearest is going to have weeks, rather than years, to get used to it.
~to be continued….~
*Polly is Ma and Pa’s cat, a slinky queen of all she surveys, who has recently been very poorly and had to go to cat hospital for a week. From being a majestic goddess with a knack for hunting, the old girl is now blind in one eye, limps a bit and spends a lot of time sleeping. Prior to her nasty poorliness, she would go next door to the grandparents’ house and visit Gramps, a) because he fed her tasty treats, the likes of which she never gets at home, and b) because the grandparents keep their house nice and warm. Since being poorly, she has pretty much lain prostrate on a sofa, whilst every human who comes into contact with her dances attendance on her and tries to make her comfortable.