Saturday, April 9, 2011

Marco Polo

For the better part of a year K. and I toyed with the idea of getting chickens. We live in a semi-rural neighborhood, and it would teach the kids responsibility, and the more K. read about food production, the more it sounded nice to get eggs from chickens that weren't living in misery. We went down to the state fairgrounds to look at actual chickens and attend seminars on breeds, coops and feed, and were starting to warm to the idea when we learned that we would need a full acre just to keep three. So much for that. So the next weekend we got a cat.

The morning before General Conference we took the kids to the pet store to look at strays, and the choice came down to a black, white-booted scamp called Battlestar Galacticat, and a gray and black tabby called Roadster. The aptly named Battlestar was adorably combative but, knowing how rough our kids can be, we finally settled on Roadster for evidencing a more mellow, patient disposition. So far, he has been quietly playful yet devoid of most of the normal cat neuroses, so any lingering doubts about our choice have been dispelled. After some brainstorming, we decided "Marco!" "Polo!" would be funny way to call out to a cat, so Marco Polo he shall be.

It's been two years since we buried Curio under our maple tree, and I like having an animal in the house again. Cats are only nominally domesticated, and their primal immediacy is a welcome counterpoint to the affairs of men. Aslan, we are reminded, is not a tame lion, and that is seen as one of his virtues.

Still, sharing our home with a feral cat will take some getting used to. Like the other night, Marco was darting down the basement stairs, then tearing back up, then dashing down again. Then he would do weird things like jump into the bathtub and pace around. At bedtime I caught him pawing the bottom of the downstairs bathtub, the same way a cat will scratch around in the litter box and, sure enough, he had peed in the tub. It's hard to get mad at a kitten, but later we went down to the basement and saw that the door leading to his litter box had been closed. He had tried and tried to use the litter box, and finally relieved himself in the tidiest way he could think of. Good kitty, good kitty.