What I’ve been missing all my life: a kitty

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Photo Credit: Phoebe Lim

It was the summer of 1997. I visited my grandparents’ house in the quaint port town of Dover, England. On this particular evening, my sister and I had just come back from a long day of frolicking around the village and playing in the countryside.

We looked through the kitchen window overlooking the backyard and saw a neighbour’s cat scamper by. Now, I don’t recall how the exact conversation between three-year-old me and my seven-year-old sister went, but I know that within the hour, it was decided between the two of us that my new identity was a little black kitty-cat named Leaves.

Later, at dinner, I devoted myself to the role wholeheartedly by sitting on the ground throughout the entire meal and refusing to answer the verbal pleas from my mother with anything other than “Sorry, cats can’t talk” and meows. That night I ate from my sister’s hand feeding me under the table. The next day my grandmother managed to convince me to eat a full bowl of peas I had initially refused, by insisting that they were a primary part of a cat’s diet.

This event marked the dawning of my unfathomable love for cats. Unfortunately, as both my sister and father are extremely allergic to cats, my dream of having one for myself has never come to fruition. That, however, hasn’t stopped my determination of someday having a kitteh of my own to love.

I lament that this dream of mine will remain unfulfilled until I move out of my super-convenient free home, and that even then I may need to take some time to save money or find a place that allows pets. Luckily, in the meantime I can bond vicariously with my friends’ cats.

This event marked the dawning of my unfathomable love for cats.

One friend of mine has aptly named her cat Figaro, due to his resemblance to the cat in Pinocchio. I have worked hard to befriend this kitteh, and I think my endeavors have paid off. He no longer runs away when I’m close to him, and has come to sit by me to be stroked on multiple occasions. If you’re looking for a surefire way to merit validation from a kitty, worry not, I will tell you my method.

First, I got the cat used to my presence by sitting next to him and getting as many pets in as I could before he ran away. Next, I decided to make myself more relatable for Figaro by getting down on all fours and serenading him with the aria “Voi che sapete” from Le nozze di Figaro.

The song is sung in the opera by a youthful boy, suffering through the agony of continually falling in love. I feel that this song suitably resonates with my situation: I am constantly falling in love with cats, fluffy and sheared, docile and irritable, and know all too well that visceral clench in my heart that tells me this creature must be cuddled! I am sure that Figaro both understood and appreciated the parallelism and motif that underlined my tribute — make sure to take the cat’s personality into account for this step.

Finally, my most result-inspiring stratagem was to feed Figaro some Temptations (use whatever brand of treats is popular with your cat target) while returning all his possessive neck-nuzzles with some of my own. This ensures him that I am appreciative of his sign of affection, and consolidates our bond.

So if you are like me, and find yourself constantly infatuated with adorable kitties but without one of your own, do what it takes to make a connection. All it takes is ten to thirty minutes out of your day to have a meowing conversation and make a pawsible-someday friend.