Archive for January, 2010

Puk and Sammie

The lives of my two 12 week-old kittens are completely void of anything remotely unhappy. A comfortable cycle of sleep-eat-play endlessly repeats itself, only to be interrupted by the interesting act of visiting the cat’s box now and then. Their food and drinks magically appear and their endless cuteness ensures a steady inflow of caresses and love. Only recently have they become aware of the rest of their territory outside of my room because the newly acquired skill of walking the stairs. Suddenly, their world has become four times larger. The bathroom (which they dislike because of the wetness), the kitchen, and my two roommates’ rooms. Packed with excitement they sit on my bed each morning demanding I open the door and let them explore these new worlds. Their little heads tilt sideways, meowing, and I have no other choice but to do it and watch them running down the stairs. Every time I do this, a feeling of loss, of melancholia erupts in my chest. Why?

I am, by nature, a dog person, and I cannot help but to feel unloved and rejected by these creatures. They remind me of unanswered love. Like a beautiful girl you’re in love with, but she uses you, aware of the effect she has on you. These creatures of seduction are intend on keeping me enthralled, but never satisfying my feelings for them. Every time I see them eager to leave the safety of my room to explore the rest of the house I think about the day they realize there is EVEN MORE to explore outside the house… My friends tell me not to worry. “Lots of cats go outside, and most of them return to their houses and owners…” True. But most cat-owners do not live in the Amsterdam red-light district.

When these creatures of pure goodness will be exposed to all that is outside, who knows what will happen? Perhaps a drunken British tourist will take one of my cats for a football and kick it? Or even worse: What if one of the “ladies” working across from our house will see them walking around and open her all-glass door to let them in? Surely they will be used for gross sexual acts with sweaty germans. And let us not forget one of the oldest Chinatowns in the world, just around the corner. They could end up in one of those delicious stews I have each weekend. With baby bamboo and red curry. The dangers are endless and everywhere: stepped upon, stolen, drowned in the canal, or simply disappear. I must add that I did not worry so much about all this until a few days ago. I was looking out the window, and for the first time (maybe it’s because I am a cat owner myself now) I saw a cat on the streets. Walking around, all alone. It was black and white, and it moved around like a miniature panther. Always on the lookout, paranoid. It glanced up for a moment, and I looked the beast straight in the eyes. That look I will never forget. How different it was from my sweethearts! This streetwise cat was a survivor. It had scars on it’s face from fighting other street-creatures, its maw wide open, ready for a kill, and its body pressed against a tree. Shocked, right there and right then, I swore never to let my cats out on the street. If this is what “de Wallen” does to cats, I will protect their innocence no matter what.

And thus, I am intent on preserving their cuteness and winning their everlasting love (and fidelity) by building them the greatest indoor cat paradise known to man. My ceiling is high enough, so I plan to create a mini-universe with endless places to hide and play. Never will they wonder what that strange thing on the other side of window is, never will they feel the urge to kill another animal, except perhaps the mice in the kitchen.

When I informed my landlord I had gotten kittens, he told me not to get my hopes up, because it was unlikely the city of Amsterdam was going to let me build a cat’s entrance in my front door, because of the historical value of our house. I faked my disappointment.