The cat we call our “little one,” CP (for Cutie Pie), has a pair of duplicate stuffed bears we collectively call Baby. We got CP when she was smaller than my palm. She was close to feral, frightened of everything. Lynn, who found her in an old shed she and her husband were about to renovate, said the kitten’s mother had been killed by coyotes. The other kittens had been dispersed.
I stayed home with CP for nearly a month, typing out stories as she nested in my lap. She’d suckle on my pinkie, on any fold of cloth. In our bed at night, she’d noisily suckle on our feet, on any bit of skin she could find. It was cute, but it also hurt.
She was loud, too. The little furball’s purr took on the sound of a roaring motorcycle.
Our kid kept stuffed animals in an old foot locker in his bedroom. The dog would grab ones she liked, pull the eyes and nose off, and then de-stuff them. Somehow, CP found what would become Baby. We found her nested beneath this white plush animal twice her size, eyes rolled into her head: in the zone.
For a while our dog would do everything she could to steal Baby from CP. We bought a back-up. Now, five years later, the kitten’s a cat and both Babies live on our bed. The dog and the other cat have come to respect what’s CP’s.
Meanwhile, CP has taken these last months of quarantine to lose the last of her feral qualities, to apparently gain a bit more trust for all us humans and other animals in her house. She’s always treated me like her third mother (after what she lost as a newborn, and Baby). Now she lets my wife pet her, even our son.
As we spend more time outdoors, eye the realities of a reopening that will eventually get us in the company of friends and workmates again, lists of the long pause’s benefits are getting made. These include family meals, phone conversations with long-forgotten friends, reading … and CP’s coming out. If only we could all have such aids as CP’s Baby.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.