Saturday, June 05, 2004

Making Friends

We took the Radish to get his booster shots today. He was very well-behaved in his carrier, and didn't seem too traumatized by the shot (in fact, he seemed not to notice it at all, while Boy and I were both thinking Aaaahh!! Needles near our perfect kitten!), or by his very first subway ride (the nice people who run the shelter gave us a ride home when we got him).

On the train home, there was a little boy of about seven sitting across from us, and before we'd even sat down he said "I like your cat!" We thanked him politely and tried not to make eye contact. "Cats don't like me," he said. "This one time, we had a cat, and it scratched me right on the face!"

"Well, I can understand that impulse," I said. Okay, no I didn't, but I thought it.

The child was missing several baby teeth and had one astonishingly large and crooked front tooth in, and the speech impediment that created, combined with the fact that he didn't stop talking once, and started every sentence with either "This one time..." or "And then..." gave me the sense that I was watching an adult playing a child on a bad sketch comedy show instead of a real one.

He was with his older sister (who, he informed us, has a slutty bird at home...don't ask, I'm still confused by it myself), and she seemed appropriately embarrassed, but she was also taken with Radish (Well who wouldn't be? That cat has powers.) and tried only half-heartedly to stop the boy as he went on in an endless stream of contradictions about how he doesn't like cats, they don't like him, his dad had chased the mean cat under the couch when it scratched him, and birds without mates laying eggs like "one of those city birds."

Sister also wasn't terribly good at paying attention, as she'd missed the announcement that our train would be running express, and told her brother to get up because "this is our stop," even though the train was clearly on the middle track and nowhere near the platform. But once they were up, they didn't sit back down, and now they were on our side of the car. The Beaver, with great chutzpah, stuck his grubby little finger right into Radish's carrier and said, "I think this cat is in love with me!"

Radish, who'd been curled in a ball for most of the trip, scooted over and nuzzled the small finger. No biting or scratching, not so much as a hiss.

Clearly, we've not been training him properly.

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