I’m talking about Ducati, a kitten my sister and I decided to adopt. (We’ve yet to agree who gets to be the mum, as opposed to the dad.) I met the little guy on Monday, a charming fellow who sat on my lap and let me stroke him into insensibility. My heart just melted when they put him by the sink and turned on the tap–he batted at the stream of water with gleeful abandon, and when I thought he’d maxed out his adoable-quotient, he went and stuck his entire head under the water.
Yep, I’m completely smitten.
Animals always have this kind of effect on me. They give you unconditional, unbounded love. They doesn’t care about who you are or what you have or haven’t done. (Granted, with cats, the love may be conditionally based on how well you pamper on demand.) They’ll snuggle with you when you feel like the worst person in the world, or when you feel on top of the world. They allow you to come out from behind the guarded face you put up for everyone else.
But with great love comes great responsibility. I admit, I’m also nervous about everything a new kitten entails. Will the curtains and furniture remain intact? Will it take to its new environment, especially the litterbox? (Please don’t take a shine to the laundry basket!) Will it need more attention than we can give? How much are the vet bills going to be? What do you mean, if it gets worms they can burrow into my brain? (So asks the vermiphobe.)
It’s scary to realise that this is a long-term commitment–there have been cats that lived into their thirties! Unlike other common pets such as fish or hamsters, my sister and I can’t simply pass Ducati on to another person without a second thought if we find ourselves struggling to cope.
It’s a good kind of fear, though. It’s the kind that pushes the boundaries of your love, daring you to go farther and deeper than you ever thought possible. Unlike an adult human, he’ll struggle to survive if abandoned. It’s a fear that, when faced, strips you down to your core and asks how much love you’re willing to give others. I suspect it’s somewhat akin to being faced with a human child.
I can’t wait to face this new challenge of feline motherhood. And I can’t wait to give Ducati a home where he’ll be loved for the rest of his life.
Leanne Yong is an aspiring Aussie author who is working on her second young adult novel, when she’s not trying to do everything herself. Check out her blog at Clouded Memories for more information and a journal chronicling her latest foray into novel writing.