We once took a family roadtrip in the Highlands and we were all fidgety, bored, and irritated after being in the car for hours and running out of car games. Then right in the middle of the road, were a group of cows. And not just the standard black and white cows you see on milk cartons and milk commercials. These had horns.
It’s not winter yet but it already feels like it is. And I hate the cold. The gale force winds threaten to blow me away into nothingness, the rain peppers me with more chills and shivers, and the long dark days send me spiralling downward into an endless pit of gloom and despair. If there was snow, it would be worth getting wet and frozen to build a snow city with miniature snow citizens. But there is no potential for fun outdoors. I just want to stay in bed. Under the warmth and comfort of my beloved duvet.
I want to hibernate.
But no, instead I am sitting in the car, in the rain, wishing I was sun-bathing on an exotic island in the tropics. I thought I should make the most of my situation, so I whipped out my camera.
Nothing but a bus to add colour to the bleak picture. Somewhat artistic. I like this picture. It was worth going out in the rain after all.
We used to have a cat in our previous house. He’s called Scottie. Well, technically, he wasn’t ours because he belonged to the neighbour. We just adopted him as our own because he ate and slept in our house everyday. He definitely loved us better by periodically bringing us gifts of dead birds and mice. Apparently that’s how cats tell you they love you. Why they think you would like the carcasses of dead animals I have no idea. Sometimes he plays with his food when he brings in live mice and that’s when we scream in horror.
And no, he doesn’t get his stock of live mice from anywhere in our house if that’s what you’re thinking. He’s an outdoor cat, wild but domesticated. And he eats too much.
He was big, he was fat, he was Scottie the fat cat. My dad doesn’t like pets so my sister and I were delighted to have him. And we loved him. We even called him Scottie Moh. But I’m not really here to talk about him. Onwards to my story.
I was once asked by a lady to give her very lovable 5 year-old son some English tutoring. Having starred as the son, Tam, in Aberdeen’s production of Miss Saigon, I knew that he was an extremely bright and intelligent boy. Almost too smart for me but I was so proud to teach him. I was now imparting wisdom to our younger generation, our next world leaders, our top experts in technology and innovation, the future of society as we know it! I’m getting ahead of myself.
In any case, he saw Scottie one day and was bridled with pressing questions. The conversation went something as follows:
“When is your cat going to lay eggs?”
I could barely contain myself from exploding with laughter at the cuteness that is the inquisitive mind of a 5 year-old.
“Well, cats don’t lay eggs. They have baby cats called kittens.”
“So when is your cat going to have baby cats?”
“Scottie can’t have baby cats sweetie; he’s a daddy cat. Only mommy cats can have baby cats.”
“So then when will Scottie have a mommy cat?”
“I don’t know, I suppose when he finds one. Though I think he’s quite happy on his own just now. But let’s finish up that page you’re on and we can take a short break, alright?”
(After a few minutes)
“Sharon?” *frowns with a quizzical look on his face*
Uh oh. “Yes? Are you stuck on something?”
“How does the mommy cat make baby cats?”
My mind froze. I wanted to defect to Haiti. Or participate in an expedition to catch the world’s biggest spiders. I would rather measure the rectal temperature of a cow. Well, not really. But I was not ready to talk about the “birds and the bees”, even if it is in reference to cats.
“The mommy cat’s tummy gets big, then eventually the kittens come out. Now finish your spelling and you’ll get your favourite jelly beans. Sound good?”
So I managed to wiggle my way out, even if it was with a dumb answer and candy temptation. The question was never repeated and I could breathe again. Whew. Who knew an innocent question about cats laying eggs could lead to a where-do-babies-come-from scenario. I should have told him to ask his mom. I will have my guards up next time, I will be better prepared. What am I saying, there will be no next time.
If my kids ever ventured to ask anything of the sort, their daddy can take their questions. While I sit and watch in glee as he squirms to answer them. With a big tub of popcorn.
And all this would never have happened if it wasn’t for the one and only Scottie. I still love you. And you are still the world’s best cat.