When I was 12 years old my family and I lived in an old house with a carport. We had a medium-sized, roly-poly, fluffy black dog named Rascal. One spring day Rascal started whimpering at the screen door that led outside near the carport. Rascal rarely whimpered. “What is it?” I asked him. Then in between his whines I heard it.
I peered through the screen door and saw, peeking up from the steps to the carport, a little black kitten face.
My heart leapt. I loved cats! Although we never had a cat of our own, I always wanted one.
I opened the screen door a crack and slid outside, blocking Rascal from charging through the door toward the poor kitten. “Hi there!” I said to the kitten in my gentlest, most sing-songy voice.
The kitten trotted right up to me. I was a goner. She (he?) was the cutest little thing. Not having had much experience with cats I was a little afraid of her claws, but I pet her hesitantly and that seemed more than enough for her. She purred and leaned all her weight into the movement of my hand. She was so soft! I could hear Rascal having a conniption fit on the other side of the screen door.
I played with the kitten and talked to the kitten until it was dinner time. By then everyone in my family knew there was a kitten outside, but the intensity of my dad’s hatred of cats was such that I didn’t even bother to ask if I could bring her inside.
The next morning when we let Rascal outside to do his business, there was the little black kitten, trotting along behind him. Rascal seemed to tolerate her.
Then I remember doing my homework up in my bedroom, my mom sitting beside me, helping me. Dad wasn’t home. We heard my brother’s voice behind us say, “Look what I have!” My mom and I turned around and there was my brother, slowly walking up the stairs with the little black kitten in his arms. He was scratching the kitten’s chin. The kitten looked as if it was in heaven.
My mom scolded, “What are you doing? The kitten is going to want inside all the time now!”
Secretly I cheered my brother.
“We can’t keep it,” my mom said gruffly. But I knew through her rough exterior she thought the kitten was to-die-for cute, too.
The next day my mom made a make-shift crate and brought the kitten to the Humane Society. I tried not to think about it.
It’s almost 30 years later and I still think about that kitten. Of course she’s long gone by now. But what would we have named her? Probably something typical like Shadow or Magic or Midnight. Would she have slept on my bed? Would my dad have warmed up to her?
I hope that Shadow/Magic/Midnight ended up in a good home and had a good life.