So for the last 14 months I’ve been trying to think of what insights and advice I could give to singers experiencing the immediate aftermath of conservatorium. Having finished my Master of Early Music in June 2016, surely I should have something to say, some advice or recommendation to give, some wisdom to impart?
Nope. No I don’t. Not yet at least.
So instead I’m going to write about my cat.
While on the unsuccessful foray across the southern border, an extremely ill-informed decision was made to adopt a cat. Despite A being so much of a dog person that he likes them better than most people, we believed that with his full time work schedule and my unpredictable travelling, taking on a cat would be a better fit for the household, due to their presumed greater independence.
Only problem is, we didn’t get a cat. We got a psycho kitten, who turned out to require 7 galaxies more work than your average dog. Her name was Croqueta, she terrorised us on a daily basis, and I adored her.
I grew up with a cat who came to our family as a rescue. However, like many indoor/outdoor cats, Floss was not an overly affectionate animal. She would tolerate us as grubby children and annoying teenagers picking her up and generally tormenting her, but I always dreamed of having a lap cat. And with Croqueta, boy did I get a lap cat!
When she wasn’t racing around the house like a toddler on an Easter egg hunt, she had to be close to a human. This could take the form of sprawling on a lap, draping herself inconveniently over an arm, napping on a chest or forehead, or if she was feeling extremely self-sufficient, sitting in an adjacent chair. She would lick a face for as long as the recipient could stand her little scratchy tongue. If someone left the room, she had to follow. She could cope with being alone at night for maximum six hours. Once that was up, she would cry on and off until she was let out of her night prison.
As you can probably guess, this was both endearing and incredibly annoying.
Another endearing yet extremely annoying trait was her ability to take perfectly normal cat food and ferment it into the vapours of hell. Yes, this tiny tiny ball of fluff could drop stink bombs that could clear a room. I complained about it once in my best French to the vet, who said something useful along the lines of “Bah, à cet âge c’est normale pour les chatons”. The next visit, Croqueta literally farted right in the vet’s face. She was prescribed some medicine after that.
That was not the only incident that made me question how innocent the flatulence truly was. I distinctly remember one afternoon I was taking a nap, and Croqueta decided that a two hours of sleep was more than enough, and it was time for me to wake up. She tried chewing my ear – no response. She tried whacking my head – no response. So she climbed up on top of the pillow, turned around, and farted in my face. I got up after that.
When A and I broke up, we had to decide what to do with the little demon. With his work and activity schedule, there was no way he could spend enough time with her. With me needing to move back to the Netherlands, and living on a friend’s couch while trying to find somewhere more permanent, I was in no position to keep her. So we found her a new home in Brussels.
Apparently she has a new name, but in my world she will be known as Croqueta in saecula saeculorum amen.
And you know what? That little devil doesn’t miss us one bit. I cried my eyes out over giving her up, I feel so guilty about having taken on a poor defenceless kitten and not being able to see the commitment through. And she couldn’t care less. She spent her first night in Brussels calmly purring on top of her new owner’s chest, and from all accounts grew out of the whole “meowing at 6am every day” phase the day we gave her away. Typical.
A, with his canine sensibilities, is insulted by this lack of loyalty, and has sworn off ever having a cat again. But for me, while it breaks my heart to be replaced so easily, I can’t help but admire the demon’s charming indifference. She is the cat that walks by herself, and as long as there is food and faces to fart on, all places are alike to her.