Two weeks ago, I got a text from Tara.
So…what are your thoughts on getting a kitten?
This question came from out of the blue. Tara has always been a dog person. She puts up with our calico, Sydney, but if push came to shove, I know she’d rather have a canine. So I was a bit surprised that she would even ask, and thought nothing more of it.
Until I came home a few days later and nearly tripped over a little gray bullet racing around the living room like hell on wheels.
“Surprise!” Tara said.
Understatement of the year.
She wanted to do something special for Audrey, who loves animals and has long expressed a desire to have a kitten. And I guess because I am a cat fan (not to mention a big softie), I had no problem with this. I mean, come on – look at that face. Who can resist?
The first order of business was naming her. It took a couple of days, with each suggestion eighty-sixed by one person or another in the household. I thought I’d struck gold with Lucy, but it didn’t fly. Neither did Daphne, Sophie, Phoebe, or Zoey. Ditto Cashmere. My brother called me, letting me know he “has a knack for naming pets.” Take your best shot, I told him.
His best shot was Conrad. Wrong sex, for one thing, and even if the kitten was a male…no. Not Conrad. Because Sydney is a reference to the city in Australia (and also Lost, which I was super into at the time), he suggested we stick with the Down Under theme and came up with Victoria. “You can call her Vicky for short,” he said.
And then he came up with Vegemite (“Lil’ Veggie for short!”) and I knew it was time to gently let him know that under no circumstances would he be naming our cat. “Esther thinks she looks like a Mia,” he said finally, and what do you know? We all agreed she does look like a Mia. So, Mia it was.
Mia, I might point out, is All Kitten. Which means she is a whirling dervish of energy who makes Sydney, now 9 years old, look fat, slow, and lazy. I get worn out just watching her zip around the room.
As for Syd, who has been the sole house animal for the better part of eight years now (minus one thankfully-brief period when Audrey’s mom let her have a rat that she toted back and forth between houses every week) and does not get along very well with other cats? She’s learning to tolerate Mia, which basically means ignoring her for the most part. There’s a little hissing here and there and she might swat at her with her paw, but in all fairness Mia – being a rambunctious kitten – instigates a lot of this. For the most part, they are able to coexist peacefully. And Audrey is happy, which is what matters most.
Multiple pet owners: how do your animals get along? Any spats between cats? Dogs having a ruff time with other dogs? Ruffled feathers amongst birds who share cage space? Turtles shellshocked over the very presence of other turtles? How did you overcome the squabbling? And how many puns did you think I’d trot out before quitting?