By popular demand, here is the story on Yoda, the new kitten.
Two weeks ago, we had five cats and I was quite firm that five was enough. Not only is it enough from a space standpoint, but, with only me working, I didn’t think we could afford a sixth cat. I love cats, but I was determined not to add to our kitty family.
Being a woman, I’m quite used to window shopping. I do it with clothes and I can do it with cats. I like to go to the pound or Petsmart and play with the kitties. No matter how adorable they are, I’m able to walk away. I suppose it has to do with my ancestral gathering behavior. Mike, however, is a man. He’s a hunter and he does not browse. It is quite against his nature to look at something nice to have and to hold and then walk away. Silly me, I led him into temptation over and over without realizing he would break.
One Saturday, almost two weeks ago, we left the house to run some errands and ended up driving out to the Tri-County mall. As is our habit, we stopped at Petsmart to look at the cats. We played with the kittens, and walked away. On the way home, we stopped at the Colerain Avenue Petsmart to look at the cats again. While I was busy playing “paws” with a feisty (but full-grown) Manx, Mike was falling in love with a little tabby. The Petsmart employee let the kitten out of his cage and Mike was a goner. With the employee and an assistant from the adjoining veterinary clinic as an audience, he wheedled until I gave in, with the caveat that it would be HIS cat.
We paid $50 for the kitten. He was on loan from the Dearborne County Animal Shelter, a “kill” shelter. Mike likes to remind the kitten that if I had my way, and we walked away kitten-less again, he would be dead. I’m such a villain.
The kitten was named Skeeter on the adoption tag. We debated over a new name. The best part about having pets is that you can saddle them with names you wouldn’t dare give a child. We initially called him Boss Hogg, but, after a day decided on Yoda, following my sister Sabrina’s lead in naming cats after Star Wars characters. (She has a Leia and Lando, but they are both female, which really confuses me.) The best part about Yoda’s name is that when people ask me to spell it, I can sing the Weird Al spoof of “Lola”: “Yoda, Y-O-D-A, Yoda.”
Like all new cats, he spent his first few days hiding from us and there was much hissing and growling (by the cats, not me and Mike). Mr. Tibbs and Yoda are now fast friends. They play “Yoda in a Box” for hours on end. They thrill in popping out of the nylon boxes at each other or trying to claw their way through the solid faces. In the last few days, they’ve progressed to wrestling. I have to admire Yoda’s temerity for daring to wrestle a cat that outweighs him five times. Tibbs, as is his wont, also enjoys holding down Yoda and giving him a good tongue lashing. They are nearly inseparable. Yoda and Zoro are not yet as comfortable, but they do play chase. Bear tolerates Yoda’s batting of his always twitching tail. Mimi hisses (then again, she hisses at all the cats) and Cleo refuses to come inside the house at all.
Physically, Yoda is unremarkable. He doesn’t have the long, beautiful coats that my other three boys (Tibbs, Zoro, and Bear) have. His tail is ordinary – not a pom-pom like Mr. Tibbs or full squirrel brushes like Zoro and Bear. He does have a unique way of carrying his tail. He lifts it so high that it arches over his back and the tip actually brushes his neck. It gives him a proud presence and conceals nothing of his “business.” My favorite part of Yoda’s body is his stomach. It is white, except for a small, off-center patch of tan with black spots. His tummy looks like vanilla ice cream, studded with a single chunk of chocolate-chip cookie dough. When he rolls on his back, I crave Ben and Jerry’s.
Yoda’s most endearing trait is his love of “head snuggles.” He likes to sleep on the top of Mike’s chair, in contact with his head, or curled around our noggins in the bed at night. With the degree of thrashing Mike does in his sleep, the pillow is probably the safest place for Yoda to rest.
We haven’t even had Yoda for two weeks yet, so we still have a lot of “getting to know each other” to do. While I am not convinced that Yoda would have ended up in the kitty graveyard had we not adopted him, I’m glad he’s around. I’ve even managed to choke down my embarrassment when confessing to people that we now have six, six, six cats at once!