I have a meeting at the A&D clinic every week, and every week I drive past the SPCA on the way there, and past again, on the way home. Last week, I thought, well, I'll JUST look. There's no harm in looking. Ha! Right.
I signed myself into the cramped kitten cage, trying not to step on any of the frolicking little bodies. I'd seen the kitten I wanted instantly. Black with white bits and pieces, a sweet little face, huddled by herself, as if lonely. It took me awhile to reach her. A pushy little tabby half her size had pounced on me and was in my arms with his face upturned towards mine, eyelashes batting before I managed to shut the mesh door behind me.
The next day I turned up at the SPCA with a cat-sized cardboard box, carefully lined with a snuggly old sweater and a back pocket full of folded twenties. Kittens aren't cheap. Unfortunately, my cardboard box caused a frown. I had to buy the SPCA logo cardboard box for an extra ten bucks. Great. There were four ladies of varying sizes behind the desk. What they all had in common was they diligently ignored me, until I began sighing loudly and shifting foot to foot. There were a lot of things to sign. The ladies kept transferring me to each other while they'd disapear then reappear and I'd be handed back until no one knew what the hell I'd paid for, who I was or what I wanted.
Finally, the kitten. Handed to me in the approved cardboard box, I could hear him crying. I put my eye to the box and peeked in. The tabby little face widened its eyes when it saw me.
As soon as I reached my car, he was out of his box and on my lap. EXTREMELY illegal, the SPCA women had warned me. I didn't care, he wasn't crying. The kitten perched there, paws on the staring wheel with a smug expression on his face until we reached the supermarket. In typical disorganised fashion I still needed to buy him food and litter. Even with the windows cracked it would be sticky hot in the car. I took the bandana from around my neck and wrapped him tight, like moses in his swaddling get-up. Only a little whiskered face peeped out. Together, the teeny baby bundle and I went shopping.
At home, in bed, he crawled up my body to cuddle at my throat, his little face an inch from mine he very softly extended one paw and began to gently stroke the side of my face, while gazing into my eyes. Yes it was cute, but also very slightly creepy.
That was when he was still reveling in freedom from orphanhood. And thus, I guess, on best-behaviour. I think he's forgotten all about the hell that is the SPCA already. Biting my toes (hard!!), tearing up important anything, climbing up my body to my shoulders where he digs his claws in tight. He's realised how goddam cute he is, and now he's in charge.