It happened on a typical lazy afternoon just before Christmas. My sister and I were sitting on the couch, chatting (about what I cannot remember) when we heard the car pull up in the driveway. Our cat Frodo, whose likeness I have taken as my avatar, was out of his food and she had gone to pick up some more.
The door opened and Mom entered the house, carrying in her arms a gray cat. “Frodo?” I wondered. “How did he get out? How long has he been out there?” Then the cat swiveled its head around toward us, and I saw its face.
That wasn’t Frodo. I looked at Mom’s face, and by the sheepish grin I saw there, I knew exactly what had happened.
“Mom?” I said.
“Mom…” a little more seriously.
“Mom!” I demanded an explanation while simultaneously grinning myself, along with Sarah and Mom.
Every time Mom goes to pick up Frodo’s food at the vet’s office, she stops by to see all the cats that are up for adoption. Usually, she says, she can pet them and then walk away. However, this one seemed to have struck her with its personality, sweetness, and the fact that she cried when Mom walked away from the cage.
“I honestly don’t know why I did it,” she said. “I was just so drawn to her.
“And she’s so sweet.”
Sweet, she indeed is, though at the time, she refused to let anyone pet her because she was much too busy exploring every nook and cranny of the house.
Down the hall, Dad walked by carrying a basket of laundry. He didn’t seem to notice the fact that the gray cat Mom was holding wasn’t the one we already had, but he must have noticed the odd way in which we all grinned at him, because he came back into the dining room a minute later.
“Who in the world is THIS?” he exclaimed with a chuckle.
“Are we actually going to keep her?” Sarah asked.
“I guess so,” said Dad. “That’s how they all started.”
“How could you say no to a face like that?” Mom remarked. She added that if it didn’t work out, the vet’s office would let us take her back.
Somehow I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
We eventually decided on the name Matilda, after the Roald Dahl character of the same name. So, Matilda whom all the vet techs had to come say goodbye to, Matilda who climbs wildly over everything despite having one leg shorter than the other due to a car accident, Matilda fast asleep in the recliner next to me, welcome to the family. Welcome to the zoo.