Life hasn’t been that joyful in our house lately. I have become the queen of making ragged ends meet, and am trying to buck myself up in the wake of a job search that just seems to stretch forever with no relief. I fight with myself daily to get myself to write anything. I’m telling you this because I’d like to talk about the kitten, and I think that’s key to understanding my obsession for this little bit of black and orange fluff. And it’s definitely an obsession.
Her name is JennyAnydots, (I say like the song), but I have a penchant for yelling “FLOOF!” at her that Brian has started to imitate. If I catch Dots unexpectedly, she’ll actually respond to that. And then immediately pretend that she didn’t, of course. She is The Night, and she responds to nothing.
She follows me around the house so much that I’ve taken to calling her my familiar.
Dots is not only extraordinarily destructive, she’s the joy of my life. Brian and I were pondering this last night. I mean, she really is a terror, to the point that you would think she would be unlovable. She’s mean to the other cats. She sharpens her claws on the rugs, the new dining room chairs, even the mattress sometimes. She has been known to climb curtains. She broke the ancestral depression glass, and the glass pot lid to my only stew-pot. She eats the sponges and gets into the trash. I was woken up at 3 am the other day by a bite to the big toe (which is why she’s not allowed into the bedroom at night anymore). I was attacked repeatedly this morning from under the new dust ruffle. She is nearly always in motion.
“What happened to all our glass measuring cups?” Brian asked me the other day.
“What do you mean?” I said, pointing to the two in the cabinet. “They’re right there.”
“Yes, but didn’t we have, like, a ton of them?”
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “But we don’t anymore because Dots.”
I’ve lost a few glass bread pans, too. She’s her own force of nature, and SO BAD.
The truth is that none of the above bothers me a whit. The more she gets into and breaks, the more I laugh and the more I love that kitten. She’s so darn happy in her destruction. She purrs when ripping things to shreds. She snuffles around in the kitchen, and if I jump at her she will disappear, fluffy black tail trailing behind, into one of the cabinets, peeking her nose out at intervals. She runs at break-neck speed toward loud noises so as not to miss anything. You can tell when she climbs the curtains that she’s awfully proud of how high she managed to get. She cuddles so sweetly, if you can manage to convince her to settle down. The hours she spends scrabbling in the bathtub after the chain on the rubber plug are the joy of my morning. Who needs pot lids and measuring cups, anyway? All I need is that deep-throated purr when I rub her chin, or for her to bury her way under the covers so she can sleep next to me.
Sometimes I worry about what this will mean for my future parenting skills. Sometimes, I worry what this means now for my sanity. Until I met Dots, I was not the indulgent type. But even if I didn’t witness the purfull strewing about of trash, or the munching of the sponge, or the shredding of the stash of paper towels, I don’t mind picking up after it. I’ll even encourage it.
Here is the conclusion I came to the other night: Someone in this house should practice unbridled joy. Neither Brian nor I are managing it lately, but that kitten sure does. On my crankiest days, she reminds me that there is a state of mind where silliness is all that matters. That is well worth worrying about the state of the rug, cleaning up her trash stash, and stretching the budget to afford the small fortune in sponges she eats. It’s worth sweeping up another pile of glass from the kitchen floor. Heck, it’s even worth bites to the toes at 3 am.
The other two cats will live on in our hearts as the cuddly lumps they are, but Dots will go down, well loved, in infamy.
FLOOF! (I think it’s a new rallying cry).