That’s how long it was from walking past the pet section in Kmart until we were leaving our local RSPCA with a new family member.
Which, now I think about, it is more pre-thought than we put into deciding if we should have most of the kids.
Rather than weighing up the pros and cons as we barrelled down the highway, keeping an eye on the dashboard readout, worried if we didn’t get there today we might not be of the same mind tomorrow, we instead focused on the most importantest consideration of cat ownership.
“Butternuts,” I suggested. “Or Mrs Norris.”
“Grumblebum. d’Artagnan. An Addams. Schrodinger,” I went on. “Donkey.”
This continued the whole hour until we arrived. Tracey, sensibly, confined herself to rejecting my suggestions, having worked out long ago I’m better at naming children and animals than she is.
Or, to hear her put it, if I don’t get to do this I sulk.
“The Godfather. Mother. Bootlicker. Munster. Grumblebum.”
“You’ve already said that one.”
“Yeah, but I like it.”
Without having made a final decision – well, at this point it was Grumblebum but Tracey wasn’t aware of that yet – we arrived, and after introducing ourselves to every cat and kitten in the building a staff member, who possibly just wanted to go home for the evening, asked a few questions then, with the loving gentleness of a midwife, lifted our little sweetheart onto Tracey’s chest.
“He was found around Rainbow Beach. He was a bag of bones and very skittish. But now,” she said proudly, as I tried but failed not to snatch so I could have a play, “now he’s a real snuggle bunny. Very affectionate.”
At which point the cat buried its head into my crook of my arm and purred contentedly as I scratched the spots any cat person (oh gawd, am I a cat person now?) knows they love.
“Awwww,” said Tracey melting. Not at the cat. “Look at your face! You love him already!”
Not sure I was at that point yet, but I had decided this was the cat for us.
And it had very little to do with the instant rapport, nor even the fact this cat had the biggest, most hilarious ass I’ve ever seen on a feline, or that he had a mouth straight out of a Festival of the Dead parade, or even that his colours were extremely close to our previous cat, Minion’s.
It was his name.
The moment the lady had uttered it I knew even if I left with torn sleeves and blood in my hair he was coming home with us.
“You know Kit is short for Christopher,” I told Tracey as we left with a big box of contentment on my lap.
Chriss was a good friend we lost a few years ago. I knew this would make Tracey and the kids happy.
“There’s more,” I said. “Kit Walker is the name of the Phantom.”
My Dad’s favourite superhero, although he’d never have used that term. Every birthday and Christmas we would buy him a comic. Family tradition.
I’d been ticking these reasons off on my fingers while Tracey’s face contorted into even more of a ‘gonna cry’ expression.
“And thirdly,” I went on quickly before she couldn’t see the road and hit a tree, three fingers now occupying the space between us, “Kitt was the name of the car Michael Knight drove.”
I grinned as all chance of tears evaporated and Tracey graced me with an odd expression.
While either of the first two reasons would have done as good enough to bring Kit home to meet the family, THIS was why my thighs were warming up under the weight of a contented, boxed pussycat.
“Kitt was the name of the black T-Top Trans Am,” I went on quickly because I’d been dying to get this out since I saw the name on the cage tag, “with artificial intelligence who used to fight crime with Michael Knight, played by David Hasselhoff – you know the singer – in a show I loved when I was a kid.”
Tracey’s odd expression became a bit more WTF so I knew she’d heard, if not understood, every word.
“Wha-?” she started.
“Meaning I shall henceforth insist on being known as…” I went on, getting to the main point with a flourish which drew strongly on my inner Fozzie Bear, “Knight Rider.”
“You can’t be ser-“
“In the bedroom.”
I half suspected Tracey to do a U-turn and head back for a refund.
“So you’re not changing his name? You’re not…,” she fumbled around in her head for the right way of putting it, “…changing Kit’s name?”
“Of course I am,” I said, with an admonishing grin. I’m nothing if not a traditionalist. “I’m adding the second ‘t’.”
raising a family on little more than laughs