Last Friday I wrote an extract from the story I want to write next – currently known as Piccolo’s Tale. The Friday Fictioneers are always kind and supportive, but this time I was really overwhelmed by how everyone rallied around the little lost cat, and by how many fellow cat lovers I have connected with through this group.
I’m not a crazy cat lady, but I am a cat lover through and through – I’ve wanted one since I was a little girl (actually, I thought I was one when I was a little girl) and finally fulfilled that dream two years ago when Pepsi and Max arrived in my life. It’s fair to say that I’m completely besotted with these two and very happy to have brought them into my family. However, it was a close call at the time, and the reason, is the real Piccolo. I’m glad I’ve begun to write a fictional story fit for him to live in now – but here is the true story of Piccolo.
When we arrived in Canada, it was always my husband’s and my intention to get a cat. In fact, it was the closest thing I made to a condition on moving out here or, indeed, marrying him in the first place! We lived at first in a small apartment in the centre of Toronto, and the move took a lot of getting used to for me. I’d gone from being a successful, highly paid lawyer, surrounded by friends and colleagues I knew and loved, to being a housewife in a strange country, with nothing to structure or focus my days. I was going stir crazy in that apartment, and we were both savvy enough to recognise it.
We were looking for houses to move to, and I was researching job options as well as starting to find people who would become my new friends, but we decided that it might make me feel better to start looking for our new kitten too. So we began to go around the city, visiting the homes of people who, for whatever reason, had kittens available.
They say you should let the cat choose you. Although we saw many adorable kittens, none of them chose us until one morning we went to see a family who had one tiny grey and white boy looking for a home. He snuggled up to me OK, but when he got on my husband’s lap he was clearly in his element – eventually falling into a purring sleep.
That afternoon, we visited another cat family. These were three siblings who had been rescued, along with their mother, from a drain by the lady who was now taking care of them. One was long-haired, something we’d agreed we didn’t want. But the other two weren’t – they were a boy and a girl, mirror twins in black and white tuxedo. The boy was playful and friendly; the girl was terrified of everyone and spent the whole time hiding, together with their mother.
We came away thinking that the decision – while hard – was made. The grey cat had clearly bonded instantly with us, and since we weren’t looking for two, the twins really weren’t right for us. After a long drawn-out discussion, we called the grey kitten’s family and agreed to take him. We’d call him Piccolo.
Now, I should mention that I am a big fan of decisions. Uncertainty is not something I deal well with, and I generally feel much better when a decision has been made. However, in the interests of full disclosure, I should also say that when faced with an impossible decision, I will toss a coin then see how the decision feels before I act on it. In this case though, we had already acted – we had called the grey kitten and once I’ve acted on a decision, I don’t go back on it. It’s just not in my nature.
But I spent that whole night in tears. I couldn’t sleep, I felt terrible, and in the morning there was really only one thing to do. I called Piccolo’s family and tearfully apologised that I couldn’t take him. I called the lady looking after the twins and we agreed to take both. The boy was already named Max by his foster carer, we named the girl Pepsi.
Piccolo was a beautiful, tiny kitten, and I know that he will have found a wonderful family to love him, but sometimes I still think of him and wonder how he’s doing. I don’t regret our final decision, but I am delighted if I can now finally share some time with Piccolo and give him both love and adventures on the page.