New Recruit

We all have to start somewhere.

And when we begin, we’re wet behind the ears. We carry the vestiges of where we were before with us: we wear difference like a badly fitting anorak.

There are the Mirandas of creation, : those who, though wet behind the ears, like Shakespeare’s Tempest heroine embrace every brave new world with wide-eyed delight.

And one of these arrived at Shrewsday Mansions late, late on Saturday evening, long after the children had given up hope that we would collect him.

We drew up at the house nestling deep in the forest as half-light fell. As we walked in with empty cat-box we could hear frantic scrabbling on the first floor, above our heads.

Furry sisters and brothers were everywhere, frenzied little vortexes of movement here and there in peripheral vision. Some had not yet departed for their new lives, some were staying anyway. But the black kitten – the one they called ‘Mike’ – he was waiting for his bus ride home.

We put him in to the cat box with a soft towel. We said hello to the other kittens and goodbye to the mum, and got in the car and drove home.

I installed the kitten in his personal room. His eyes informed me that anything could happen in the next half hour. And he padded out, and inspected his quarters and chased his tail and fell over backwards.

And I thought, Bond, I thought, (for I lost the battle to call him Clive) you’re only doing this because you’re wet behind the ears.

Because this is the only time a cat will ever allow you to see it without a perfect sense of balance; without that knowledge that every step is part of the plan, every thought premeditated. If you say something to a cat it will reply, yes, I knew that already, thank you. A cat, on its home turf, owns every comfy chair and every well-travelled route. It is master of the household routine and it balances, poised, with four velvet paws, on the minutiae of family life.

But not yet.

The new recruit has distraction down to a fine art. It has the five-second attention span sorted. It will follow anything covered with feathers or stuffed with catnip anywhere.

The agility which, later, will help it fall on its four paws, is currently occupied in Spring-Heeled-Jack leaps onto furniture. It is a ninja kitten. It would do well in those Chinese Films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It leaps in rocket-assisted bounds which leave you thinking, is that possible?

It wolfs food. And eats toes, too. And also sofas.

Totally uncharacteristic of the creature he will eventually be.

But then: he is wet behind the ears.


47 thoughts on “New Recruit

  1. Wondering about how Master Mac is taking all this in, is the interloper to be friend or foe, playmate or dinner?? It’s funny how the family dog will take in any stranger that is welcomed by the family. Welcome to our cyber world young Bond.

    1. Mac is a little subdued. We are making huge fusses of him, but Bond has been timid up till now. When the dog sees him he doesn’t quite know what to make of him. He’s very quiet, and just sniffs him. But the early indications are that the two will coexist very well. Bond will not be as spikey as Kit Kat, that’s for sure.

  2. He is adorable and, in the photo above, quite Simonesque (I hope that was only a momentary aberration). I predict that you will ALL (including Mac) be toeing the line in short order! 🙂

  3. What a sweet little kitten. My boys would love a cat, but my husband is far too allergic for us to get one. And what you said about their egos is so funny and true. But they’re easy to love anyway. 🙂

  4. I love that name Bond! It’s much better than Clive! Bond looks like he’s going to be quite a Shrewsday pistol. I hope you’ll add Bond the Cat Stories to your categories box … but you might not want to mention that to Mac.

  5. The eyes have it! Such a beautiful light slate-blue! He looks like a fiery little scrap of fur and claws. I’m sure you’ll have much fun with him. I’m dying to know what Mac will make of him… 😉

  6. Dear Kate, no one could write the way you have about Bond without spending many hours observing felines. So I want to tell you something: If you have a kindle, you can download today (9/3 and tomorrow 9/4) two cat e-books that Dulcy–the cat with whom I lived for 17 1/2 years–and I wrote together. And you can do this for FREE. That is, the books are free for those two days.

    If you’re interested, Kate, go to my website and look for “A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story” and “Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats & Their Humans.” Click and that will take you to Amazon where the book are on sale. The first book will be on sale only tomorrow (9/4) but the second book–“Twelve Habits”–is on sale both days (9/3 and 9/4).

    Sorry to sound like I’m pitching the books. It ‘s just that they are free right now and because you like cats, you might enjoy them. Peace.

  7. “His eyes informed me that anything could happen in the next half hour.” What fun you’re all in for. Please remember to inform us about Macaulay’s reaction to the interloper.

  8. You are so right! This is a rare glimpse of a kitten before the attitude kicks in! What an adorable new member of the family. How is Mac going to handle the new attention-seeking furry friend, I wonder! D

  9. Now I am not a cat person, and I am not willing to be persuaded, but young Bond does look lovely and sweet and all those things that kittens do before they become cats.
    I’m sure it already feels like he’s been around a long time 🙂

  10. Gorgeous kitty. He looks like our late Shadow who we had at the same time we had Bond … Jane Bond. (Originally, the “Jane” was “James,” then the vet informed us “he” was a “she.” She was mostly white with some light patches of calico.)
    Enjoy your furr-baby.

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