I had been thinking for a whle about getting a cat. Or more precisely: getting Alfie a cat. Alfie loves cats, (when we go to my friend Kate's house, where there are two golden retrievers, Alfie ignores the goldens and runs upstairs looking for Amelia, the 16-year-old cat) and I thought that a cat would be company for him when I have to be gone from the house...he's been missing Martin, I think.
So I had paid two visits to the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter in Fryeburg, Maine, which is a wonderful clean and happy place. But as I explained to the people there, I needed to be certain that any cat I took home would be okay with a dog. They pointed out that most of their cats are strays; they have no idea whether they are dog friendly. And no, they couldn't let me take one home for a trial, nor would they let me bring Alfie in for a private introduction. They suggested that my best bet would be to get a kitten, which would not have had time to learn to be hostile to dogs.
So yesterday I took my visiting grandsons, 12 and 10, to the shelter. I told them their task was to choose a kitten, and they should base their choice not on beauty or cuteness but on temperament. We needed a mellow, laid-back kitten; and I said a female, becaise I read someplace that females are better mousers than males. Here in the country there are always mice to deal with.
So the boys held, and talked to, and played with, a variety of kittens and then chose a 3-month-old female. On the 10-mile drive home, with small meows coming fron the carrier, we discussed names...flower names, since it is garden season. Lily? Rosie? Daisy? Lacey, for Queen-Anne's Lace? Holly, for Hollyhock? Daffodil. Lilac.
Remembering Miss Rumphius, we settled on Lupine, and began to call the kitten Lulu.
As anticpated, Alfie was thrilled and curious and fascinated, when we got Lulu home.
(The reason Lulu is looking UP in these photos is not that she was praying for heavenly deliverance from this dog...but because she was fascinated by the ceiling fan).
Late in the day, the boys left, and I was on my own with the menagerie. All went well, though I had forgtten the laments of Writer Friends with Cats who find their manuscripts interrupted by phrases like wenc194uc-1uv7632exnpew as a cat walks across the keyboard unexpectedly, something a dog never does. And I realized that a kitten is certanly a source of entertainment. Last night I was watching the Red Sox game but at the same time watching Lulu leap and twirl and dance as she tried to catch a moth.
And I even slept fine, after I adjusted to the loud purring and the occasional pouncing-on-toes.
But now it is Morning #1 of Life-with-Cat-and-Dog, and here is the first unanticipated problem. Alfie refuses to go outside. He wants to be beside Lulu at every second, and there is no way I am sending a tiny kitten into the outside rural world of hawks and owls and porcupines. Right now the two of them are curled up at my feet. One has politely and fastidiously used her litter box. The other...well, the other has done nothing since he woke up this AM except stare besottedly at his cat.
I suppose this will sort itself out after a while.