Sunday 15 January 2017

Looking the cat out of the tree

We have this saying in Dutch, de kat uit de boom kijken. It means, literally translated, looking the cat out of the tree. I always imagine a bunch of people looking at a cat stranded in a tree, hoping it will get down on its own. Though that is not exactly the drift of the saying, it implies someone observing a pretty long while, before acting. We now have a cat that is looking herself out of the tree.

I have always wanted a cat, but since my mother was allergic I was never allowed. I swore I’d get one as an adult, but somehow never did. Between the rabbits, the chicken, the frogs and the hamster, I forgot about the cat.  Then, we had a rat infestation at the same time that Jasmijn was begging for a new pet for her birthday, and I suddenly found myself at a cat shelter. Imagine twenty cats looking at you through bars, some sleeping, some meowing neurotically, some just sitting there and staring. Where do you even start? Luckily, most were kittens, and we’d decided to go for a slightly older one, a female, as they were supposed to be better hunters. That narrowed it down a bit. I approached one pretty tree-coloured one, and stuck my hand through the bars. She woke up, stretched her back, and walked to the bars. She started nuzzling my hand, for a good few minutes, and when I retracted it, sat there and stared. Those big green eyes…

I was sold. As a formality, I looked at the other cats, which were nice enough. But they weren’t her. That weekend we came back with the family, she was allowed out for a minute, and after more admin and tough questions than were needed to deliver a baby, we were allowed (only just) to take her home.

We put her up in the small study room and she ran under the cabinet. From there, she started to look the cat out of the tree. Slowly, she comes out, if you sit next to her on the floor, and cuddles up, rubbing her head to your hands, legs, side, basically every part of your body she can reach, purring along. She will settle for nuzzling a doorpost or chair leg too. When we open the door to the living room, slowly, after much deliberation, she sets a few steps in the room. One slight noise or movement, brings her back into her safe room. Until she realises there are cuddles to be had, and she forces herself out.  After, she sits and stares. She watches, with those massive green eyes. She looks the cat out of the tree, and doles out cuddles. We all love our Mitzi already, even if she is the laziest, shyest, cuddliest cat I have ever seen. I can’t see her killing a fly. Our rats will be happy too.