It was early in the morning. I was cramming for a chemistry quiz as my brother drove me to class, and my head was down.
“Look at that kitten,” my brother said.
It wasn’t really a command or anything – more of a suggestion, really. He said it the way someone might say “I’m done with the sports section.”
I craned my neck over his head to see, and there she was, all by herself, on the corner. There was an unmistakable tranquility about her. She wasn’t playing or hunting or even moving. She just sat there, still and quiet, like a content sphinx made of white chocolate and Earl Grey tea.
“Let’s pick her up,” I said.
My brother stopped the car. I scanned the surroundings for any sign that the kitty’s mom might be around, and then, my conscience clear that I wasn’t committing a kidnapping, I carried the little ball of fur to our car. Immediately, she cozied up into the nook of my arm and started purring. I was smitten. And just like that, we had a new kitty.
I named her Rory – partially because I love Gilmore Girls and mostly because I have this idea that all of my kids are going to have androgynous names, and those who are born in the same year will have names starting with the same letter, and since Riley and Rory were both- Wait. I just realized they weren’t born in the same year. Goes to show how much thought I really put into her name.
Truth is, I was just so in love with her, I immediately starting thinking of her as Riley’s feline little sister. That’s kind of strange, I know, but what’s even more strange is that she had that kind of effect on me at all. I’m really more of a dog person.
Right away, Rory felt at home with us. She got along well with my brother’s cat, Syrus, and loved to cuddle with whomever was around. Soon, Riley was playing with her, petting her, kissing her, and sharing his food and toys with her. Rob and I would light up and laugh whenever Riley carried his stuffed animals to Rory. She would bat at their arms and legs, and satisfied, Riley would smile at her and then look to us for praise. “Very good, Riley!” Rob and I would both say. “You’re such a good boy. You like to share with Rory.”
But of course there have also been times when Rory would rather sleep than play with Riley, and Riley got upset and hit Rory on the head, and Rob and I scolded Riley and put him in time-out. And the times when Riley rolled over Rory in his sleep, and almost crushed her. And the times when Riley played too rough with Rory. All of these times, Rob and I stood nearby, waiting to intervene, and all of these times, Rory just lay there with the discipline of Ghandi. She seemed to know that we’d protect her, and that Riley didn’t know any better, and that the best thing to do was to not do anything.
My son loves this cat, and so do I.