For a while now, I have gently
nagged encouraged my mother
to consider getting a cat. She (metaphorically) put all four paws in the
ground, wasn't sure she was up for having another animal, didn't know if she
could take care of it, blah, blah, blah. Then a friend of hers came stay for a
day, bringing along her own cat and my mother was sold. Over the next several
weeks, we spend an inordinate amount of time on the adoption area of the Toronto Humane Society website (be careful – clicking on that link may cause cat fever). Although we
looked at an awful lot of very cute cats, none of them really jumped out at her.
And then one day, we saw this face
And my mother knew. This was the one. We promptly sent The Boy and his sister – good sports, both - to visit the Victoria Park storefront and they came back with a positive report. Muffin, as the wee beastie was called - named by her past owner, who had died - was good-natured, calm and tolerated getting mangled, although she didn't like her belly rubbed. Two days later, we all packed into a van and went.
Imagine the scene: four people enter a strip mall location of the local Humane Society, one in which numerous cats wander around freely. We quickly spot Muffin halfway down the room. My mother bends down, making come-hither noises and the cat comes up to her, sniffs her hand and plops over on her back, wanting bellyrubs.
We like to say that this was the moment where Muffin adopted my mother. There were some formalities to complete, however. My mother sat down on the couch and Muffin lay down in front of her, on guard. This previously good-natured cat then proceeded to hiss at any other cat that came within 10 feet of my mother. No doubt about it. Muffin had found her person. She proceeded to actively discouraging any other feline in the vicinity from entertaining any thoughts whatsoever about ingratiating themselves with the woman on the couch.
Half an hour later, it was official: Janne and I had a new sister. We both felt that Muffin was a bit of a ridiculous name for a cat and had suggested finding another moniker. Then we met the wee creature and realized that Muffin is very much a Muffin.
It has been five months since Muffin found her new home and it didn't take her long to settle in. Which is code for taking over. You see, Muffin is a bit of a diva. Perhaps that's a misnomer - being a diva is, like pregnancy, a binary state. You either are or you are not. And Muffin most decidedly is. She is the personification of Cat: she wants what she wants when she wants it. If my mother doesn't hop to and provide what Muffin wants when she wants it, Madame sits pointedly at my mother - yes, we have found another cat who communicates through posture - and that usually does the trick. Her Majesty likes a certain kind of food and won't eat unless this is what she gets. She also likes pawing the comforter like a horse at 6 AM asking my mother for more of this food. The keyboard tray on the computer table is now the place where Her Illuminated Loveliness sleeps, necessitating buying a wireless keyboard which can be removed to make room for her divine body (previously, she nudged the keyboard down the back. Numerous times). And throughout it all, she keeps up a running commentary on what's going on. Muffin is very chatty.
I thought Lucy had a lot to say, but I was wrong. Muffin has a lot to say. She has opinions about food (what, when and in which quantities), about waking up, when it's time to play, the state of the world, grumbles about the phone ringing when she was sleeping and when it's time to put a cup of water on the bathroom counter so she can drink from it. She has very decided opinions about the activities in which my mother engage that do not include her and she very much has opinions about being brushed and getting rubs. She likes to inform us when they should happen and while they are happening, she tells us how wonderful they are and where to move your hand, usually while undulating wildly on a horizontal surface
This cat has mind and personality to spare, but she is also beautiful. She is completely different from Lucy's tall and elongated frame, Siamese-narrow face and rather coarse coat. Muffin is short and compact, standing solidly on this earth, with a face as broad as a tomcat’s. Her eyes are ever alert and communicating her thoughts and wishes - because this cat has thoughts. Lots of them. We are all in love with her coloring and her fur is like velour, so inviting for your hands. Which she frequently opines should be touching her, so it works out for both parties. In these and so many other ways, Muffin has proven that she is the Mistress of her territory and whatever minions may at any time dwell therein
Muffin may only have been part of the family for five months, but it feels like more than that. She and my mother knew each other from the start and have only become more of a unit since. Every now and again, you are lucky enough to meet an animal who is truly yours and where you are truly their person. An animal who belongs. When you do, it is nothing but joy.