Fresh air definitely does a body good and every few weeks I like to open all the doors and windows in my old Victorian house while I deep clean. I use a lot of essential oils while I mop and clean and use diffusers throughout my house. I usually have a process to go throughout the house, starting at one end and winding up at the other. Room by room, I slowly accomplish all my tasks and feel like I have freshened up every space.
One Saturday afternoon I set about my deep cleaning method. I started at the back of the upstairs, working from bedroom to bedroom.
“Mom?” My son called from downstairs.
“Yes? I’m in the spare bedroom…” I called back to him.
A few seconds later I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. The bedroom door I was cleaning in flew open.
“Mom, if you were a cat what would you LOOOOOOVE to eat?” He asked, standing in the doorway.
“Umm… cat food?” I replied.
“Right,” Raff said. “But if there was no cat food around, what would you like to eat?”
I tapped my chin in thought. “Maybe fish of some sort?”
“Aha!” Raff’s face lit up and he took off into the hallway and back down the stairs.
I continued my cleaning process and eventually made my way downstairs. I opened the window above the sink when Raff called for me again.
“I’m in the kitchen!” I responded. A moment later he rounded the corner and popped his head into the kitchen.
“Mom, can other animals eat beef?”
I paused, and tried to process his question.
“What?” I asked, thoroughly confused.
“Can animals, not beefs but other animals, eat beef?”
I chuckled to myself at his question, realizing he didn’t know that cows were beef.
“Yes, I suppose they can,” I replied. Even though it was an odd question, I didn’t think much of it. My son was always coming up with the strangest ideas and questions. The inner workings of his mind have always fascinated me.
“OK! Just checking!” He said. He turned to head out of the kitchen when he paused.
“When will you be done in here?” He asked.
“Well I won’t be done in here for quite a few —” the dryer buzzer sounded off. “Well the sheets to your bed are done. I’m going to go make up your bed and then you’re going to have to start on your chore list, OK?” I rounded the corner to complete my task of making his bed when I heard him say “sure thing, mom!”
I paused. Such enthusiasm from a boy about his chores… he was definitely into mischief. I walked back into the kitchen with an arm load of sheets and pillowcases. Only his lower half was visible as his arms and head were inside the snack cabinet.
“Raff, what are you getting into?” I asked suspiciously.
“Oh. Hi mom. Just getting snacks,” he said cautiously.
“OK, but don’t be making any messes,” I warned.
I headed upstairs and toward his bedroom to make up his bed, when I heard an odd sound. I couldn’t quite place it, so I just went on into his room.
I had finished putting the sheets on his bed and had set myself to encasing his pillows when I heard the sound again. It almost sounded like a… meow. A cat? In the house? Surely not. Must be outside, I thought to myself.
I finished with his bed and headed downstairs to inspect the situation. As I made my way down the hallway to the back bathroom, Raff opened the door to the room in question. He looked very startled to see me.
“Um… Hi Mom,” he said with very round eyes.
“Raff, what are you doing in that bathroom?”
“Raff, what is that sound?”
“There it is again!”
“What sound?” Raff asked, with his eyebrows stretched high on his forehead. I raised one of mine and gave him the “you’re in trouble” look.
“THAT sound,” I said.
“Hmm… well it’s definitely not a cat in the bathroom,” Raff answered softly, looking at the floor.
I walked past him into the bathroom and instantly saw the reason for the sound. The most precious Siamese kitten with pale blue eyes was perched on the side of the bathtub. In front of the tub was a bowl of water Raff had snuck from the kitchen and beside it was a menagerie of snacks: Goldfish crackers, Finding Nemo fruit snacks, beef jerky, and a sliced up hot dog littered the plate.
“Meow.” The cat said to me.
“Awwww…. this cat is so pretty!” I sat on the side of the tub and gently lifted the kitten into my arms. I was able to feel the kitten’s ribs through its fur. I turned it over to peer at its belly, and saw lots of fleas scattering. Poor thing. Definitely a stray. I snuggled the kitty under my chin.
Raff had slowly crept into the bathroom and sat down beside me on the side of the bathtub.
“Can we keep it?” He whispered.
“Well…a pet is a lot of work,” I told him.
“I’ll take good care of it! I’ve already been feeding it! I found it this morning!”
I glanced back down at the plate on the floor and smiled. I supposed Goldfish crackers and Finding Nemo fruit snacks were the only kinds of “fish” that Raff could find in the snack cabinet.
“Well, does this kitten have a name?” I asked.
“Skye.” Raff said assuredly.
I smiled. “That’s a very fitting name.” I paused for a second and watched Raff eye the kitten with adoration.
“Oh alright, we can keep it. But we have to go to the store right now and pick up some real cat food, a few kitten toys, some flea medicine, and some kitty litter.”
“What’s ‘kitty litter’?” Raff asked.
“Well, it’s what cats go potty in.”
“Oh. Well we definitely need to get some of that because it has been pooping in the cabinet under the sink.”
“Great,” I replied sarcastically.
And so it begins.