“Sure we’ll take it!” (part 2c)

The Cat in the Hat Sock

Meanwhile, a very skinny and skittish ginger cat has been sneaking into Moonman’s house to eat his cats’ food. They call him Johnson. It takes months before Johnson is tame enough to tolerate being in the same room as humans, and even more months before he can be touched. We notice that in spite of his nervous disposition, Johnson is getting pretty fat – the domesticated life is clearly good for this previously disadvantaged individual. One day, Moonman arrives home to find Johnson in the cupboard with six kittens. And so Mrs. Johnson comes to stay. And two of her kittens stay on too – one that looks like it was patched together from little bits of left over ginger, black, striped, white, siamese and tortoiseshell fur, and the runt of the litter, who drools and smells a bit.

Surfer Dude, slightly built and sinewy, looks at his younger but bigger brother and asks, “Is he the runt of the litter?”

Some months later, the Moonman and I hop on the iron horse and head off to Caledon to visit friends. In a corner in one room, they have a wriggling pile of kittens, just a bit bigger than mice. Oh dear. You know what’s coming.

The kittens are four weeks old and had been rescued from a dump some weeks ago, their mother missing. They’d been wet-nursed by another mother cat, but this surrogate mother has now moved to another town with her humans, and the kittens are looking for homes. (I am such a sucker. I pretend I take home little animals for my kids, but let’s face it, I’m really doing it for me. I am perpetually broody – and, having decided that three human children is enough, I keep on adopting non-human babies.)

“But you’ve come on the bike…” says our hostess. “Can you take the kitten on the bike?”

“We’ll make a plan.”

Bigger than a LION

Our hosts are also halfway-housing Charlie the African Grey, while looking for a more permanent home for him. The parrot immediately takes to the Moonman (and bites my finger), and Moonman is tempted, but not quite convinced. And taking a kitten AND a parrot on the bike is not a good idea. So the parrot stays, for now.

Moonman & Charlie

When it is time to leave, my hostess lends me a sock, and the chosen kitten is inserted tail first into the sock, until only the face is showing. The sock is then put inside a little handbag, and this all goes inside my jacket. Before we reach the stop sign at the end of the road, the kitten has climbed out of the sock and the handbag, and is clawing its way up my chest. I grin and bear it – what else is there to do? We have decided, wisely, to go via Kleinmond, where my parents are on holiday. From there, my brother will bring the kitten to Stellenbosch in his car.

My mum shakes her head when she sees the kitten. She knows by now this genetic condition is incurable. I tell them about the parrot.

“I’ve always wanted a parrot…” my dad says immediately, his eyes lighting up. “Sure, we’ll take it!”


Erica Neser (c) 2012



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nel
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 08:00:26

    Your patience with having so many pets is admirable. Really. One dog was enough to keep my hands full.


  2. ericanexpress
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 12:41:57

    Hey Nel – counting pets is like counting children: One, Two, Many 🙂


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