For years, my son Matt begged for a brother or sister. It took a cat to change his mindby Cathy Rentzenbrink / April 5, 2019 / Leave a comment
Someone asked me recently if I felt worried about my son being an only child. “Yes,” I said. “And we’ve got fleas as a result.”
For years, Matt has been asking for a little brother or sister, as though it would simply be a case of picking one up from the baby shop. The older I get, the less I feel capable of everything that growing a human entails so a few months ago I convinced him that a cat would be just as good. Erwyn, my husband, wasn’t that keen, but he too succumbed to the picture that I painted of how delightful life would be with a cat around the place cheering us up.
We went off to the sanctuary and filled in lots of forms. They wouldn’t give us a young cat because we live near a big road. There was only one we could take home that day. She’d been abandoned, was nearly dead when she was brought in, and they were amazed she had survived. She was about 12 years old, they thought. They had named her Arabella, but we could change it if we liked.
“Please can we have her,” said Matt.
I looked at his eyes and at her eyes, both full of pleading. It seemed like an opportunity to do a modest good deed and we took Arabella home, lauding the bravery of her survival, and pledging to make sure that the last years of her life were wonderful. I thought her name was a bit stupidly posh. “Maybe we should call her Lazarus,” I said, “as she rose from the dead so many times.”
But no, Matt liked Arabella so Arabella she stayed. And she was lovely to have around the place. She had an air of not quite being able to believe her luck at having a sofa to sit on and enough to eat. She tolerated Matt’s enthusiasm for her very well—at first he was a bit inclined to treat her like a cuddly toy—and took to Erwyn. When I went away for work she slept next to him on my side of the bed and then looked a bit peeved when I came back.
It wasn’t all larks. Matt fed her but somehow I’d ended up…