Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
I know what you’re thinking. Aww, what a cute little kitty! or Wow! What a cool looking cat! Well, I’m hear to tell you his name is Whiskers (or Whiskey, or Whiskey Biscuits or FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP MEOWING!) and he is cute and he is cool looking, but he is also the devil incarnate. No joke.
When we decided to move to the house we live in now, I promised Mason he could get a kitten. He had these dreams of having a sweet cuddly pet that would sleep in his room and snuggle up with him and hang out with him and play. I had these dreams of having a sweet cuddly pet that would teach my kid lessons about giving and responsibility and caring for a little creature and having a life long friend. He waited a long time. And talked about it a lot. My sis and brother-in-law and I decided together to get the kids a kitten – one for each family. A sister and a brother kitten (I know. Again, aww!). We planned and researched and found these really beautiful and cool cats called Devon Rex. So we waited for them to be ready and I drove through a terrifying storm and tornado warning to pick them up and deliver them to our kiddos. They were in shock and immediately heads over heels in love (pretty sure my niece literally floated on air and talked unintelligibly for an hour she was so thrilled). Mason was immediately protective and didn’t want to leave the kitten alone. Ever. Those were the good old days.
It wasn’t long before my fantasies met harsh reality. Whisky was a holy terror. First and foremost, he follows me everywhere and is very vocal about it. It’s reminiscent of the days when Mason was a toddler and would follow me into the bathroom, not missing a beat and chatting all the way. Whiskers TEARS up the stairs and into the bathroom, piling rugs into heaps, knocking every last item off counters and clanging and clawing his way up to the very top of the bathroom cabinet where he stares and calls at me whenever I go to the bathroom, put on my make-up, dry my hair, take a shower. Meeeeeeeooooowww. Meeeeeeeooooowww. Meeeeeeeooooowww?? He climbs walls, shreds curtains, shatters lamps, bites the sweet neighbor girls who talk to him in a baby voice, terrorizes the babysitter and makes my kid cry once a week on average. He’s a jerk. We love him anyway, but there’s no way around it. Total jerk. Mason has still not given up on his dream of having a BFF pet. He’s still protective of him and still tries and tries to snuggle and pet him. Until he bites, or pounces on his face.
My dreams of getting a pet to teach my kid lessons about friendship and compassion and responsibility have shifted. Mason’s learned responsibility. He’s learned to be compassionate and giving. And I’ve learned that the lessons you set out to teach your kid aren’t always the ones they end up learning. Mason’s also learned how to handle a bully – he now has a very carefully considered strategy for getting dressed every morning based on the fact that apparently naked kids who are in the process of getting dressed make Whiskers NUTS and send him into maniacal super-attack mode. He’s also learned that really, really cute looking things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t judge a book by its cover? Check! Stand your ground? Check! Watch your back? Check! Love unconditionally? Check!
Onward we go. As much as this cat makes me insane I’m oddly grateful to him for the most important thing I’ve seen Mason learn through their relationship and that is – no matter what, family is family. Like ’em, love ’em, hate ’em, they’re family and we are – at the end of the day – forgiving, accepting, protective and loving of one another. Even when sometimes we want to punch them in the face.