I called my wife at work as soon as it became clear what was happening.
“The cat has gotten outside and found himself a kitten,” I told her. He was herding it, keeping it safe against the wall of the house. “He may not keep it. Please repeat that part back to me: He may not have a kitten.”
I had to leave, so the events that followed have been pieced together using probabilities and unreliable narrators.
Our cat returned home as soon as he was hungry—so, almost immediately—leaving his tiny discovery safely hidden between the rosebushes and wall of the building.
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That might have been the end of the story, had it not started to rain—nay, to pour—with a side order of thunder. Now, a little rain isn’t going to harm your average cat, no matter what the cat might tell you. They dry out quite nicely and some even benefit from a quick shower.
So the story might have ended here, too, except the damn thing—according to reports—started to yowl.
I have been told it yowled. We live on the second storey, and the windows were closed and there was quite the storm going on. But the story goes that his yowl was tiger enough to be heard over all that.
“No,” I would have said, had they called me. “We already have a cat. The kitten will be fine. Call a rescue service if you’re very concerned.” From a distance, you see, without fur against my fingers or purring against my thigh, I can be quite practical. Even cold, some might say.
You know what is about to happen. You are shaking your head and saying it serves me right, aren’t you?
When I returned home that evening, there was my loving family, my cat … and a few ounces of fluff.
“No,” I said, sighing onto the sofa.
“We’re calling him Boom,” they said, and placed him in my hands.
He was tiny—too tiny to be away from his mother. He weighed nothing. He was filthy, black and grungy grey instead of black and white, and on the verge of matted.
There was mucus in his nose and one of his eyes was leaky and misshapen. He was not the most beautiful of animals.
I put my face very close to his and we looked at each other for a long time, sizing each other up, determining who was the boss. After a while his head moved back the slightest bit—victory?—and he sneezed fruitfully right in my face.
It’s been five years. Boom is still the boss.