Saturday night. The sixth Saturday night of Spain’s lockdown. But, don’t worry, we’re keeping busy over here.
Débora has started watching snail documentaries. Her interest was piqued by the army of snails who invade our hillside community every night, especially after a good rain. Débora tells me they aren’t just attracted by the dry food we leave out for the cats – they’re attracted to each other.
Every night they latch on to each other in a mad, orgiastic, lovemaking frenzy. This solves the mystery of the slimy cat bowls I retrieve in the morning, so slippery I struggle not to drop them.
How I wish I were a snail right now. And how I wish I had a sewing kit. Two things I never thought I’d say six weeks ago.
You see, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of making cat toys from my favourite sweater I washed on hot by mistake.
Obsessions come in all forms during lockdown, I’m learning, and it’s probably best not to judge them.
Not only did I shrink my sweater, I mixed whites and colours, turning it from pink champagne to the perfect shade of mouse grey. Destiny.
All my adult life I’ve had one of those emergency sewing kits knocking about, the one with that mysterious medallion-shaped piece of foil, wisps of multi-coloured thread, and faerie-sized scissors. This kit has travelled with me, unused, all over the world. Until Spain.
This time the kit just didn’t make the cut – all part of my attempt to let go.
But now that I finally have time to take up sewing and make cute little shrunken-wool mouse toys for my foster kitten, how I long for needle and thread. Unfortunately, such things aren’t sold at GADIS.
Luckily, the kitten (whose adopted family plans to call Black but I’m just calling her “Kitten”) understands. She’s delighted to play with any object she finds on her path – hair tie, Kleenex box, reading glasses, electrical cord.
It’s almost as if she knows she could have met a much worse fate than being stuck here during lockdown with certified crazy cat lady who kisses her head dozens of times a day, saying, “I love you to bits and pieces,” and other, more embarrassing, terms of endearment.
Instead, Kitten could have been thrown in a dumpster, sealed up in a box, buried alive, fed rat poison or ground-up glass – all fates met by other kittens of this nation, and, I’m sure, many other nations.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” said Mahatma Gandhi, though not everyone agrees he ever said such a thing.
Despite her species’ misfortunes, Kitten seems to forgive us. She drapes her warm little body across my neck, and purrs. She looks at me with celadon-coloured eyes, telling me it’s okay, go ahead and kiss my head again. She lets me bury my nose in her soft fur, inhaling that one-of-a-kind kitten smell so hard to define – corn husk? Sun-baked earth?
More importantly, now that waking up has become less and less appealing, she inspires me every morning to see the world with fresh eyes. She runs at full tilt up and down the hallway as though there’s somewhere worth going to, even worth getting dressed for.
She pounces, jumps, and swats with such vigour – such unadulterated zest for this world – you forget her less-than-15-centimetre high stature. You admire this potent little package of a being, and her disregard for lockdowns and the affairs of humans. I am Kitten, she says, Hear me roar.