When I told G we were moving, the first words out of her mouth were not "Where to?" or "Are we bringing my toys?" or "Will I go to the same school?"
They were "Can I have a cat?"
I said yes. And it's a good thing I meant it, because G seized on the promise like a fruit bat on a ripe papaya. At each complex we toured, she turned to me in the leasing office and asked very seriously, "Is it pet-friendly?" Now that we have, in fact, secured a pet-friendly place to live, her excitement knows no bounds. She talks about her future kitty every day, and tonight she coaxed me into putting a Tupperware dish of milk outside our front door in hopes of luring one of the neighborhood cats for her to "practice" on. I'm sure one of the 40-pound raccoons that lurk around our trash cans is out there right now, enjoying a free drink on us.
The thing is, since G has never had a cat, she has unrealistic expectations of what they're like. Here are a few of the things she plans to do with her hapless pet:
• Dress it in little outfits
• Train it to walk on its hind legs and push a baby carriage (she saw this at the circus last weekend)
• Buy four tiny tap shoes and teach it to dance
As a veteran cat person, I've tried to prepare her by explaining that while (most) cats like to sit on your lap and be petted, they don't generally do tricks or tolerate dressing up. In fact, they do pretty much whatever they please, whenever they please, and don't appreciate having their plans altered. I have the feeling that G will end up getting scratched a few times before that truth really sinks in. She loves animals and would never do anything to hurt one, so there's no need to worry about the cat's safety. She just seems to think that a cat is more like a dog or a baby than, well, a cat.