During the hour and a half drive home to Santurce the children debated the name for the kitten. Marlena, the eldest, wanted to name the kitten ‘Princess’ because she was beautiful, but Cristina, enchanted by the brilliant blue of her eyes, suggested calling her ‘Blue.’ In the end it was Jessica, the youngest, who named her ‘Blueberry Muffin.’ Jessica, who loved her Strawberry Shortcake doll, had decided that all great things should be named after fruit. We called her Muffin for short after my suggestions for Muffie or even Muff-Muff were shot down by derisive laughter.
Once home, Muffin’s arrival caused a huge stir; the children’s father objected. He pointed out that we already had two cats, a silver, mini poodle and we were due to pick up my new German shepherd puppy next week in New York. The word ‘zoo’ was prominent in his objections, followed by smelly. I told him that if he felt so strongly, he would have to be the one to take the kitten away from his daughter; the argument was closed.
Marlena had been asking for a pet of her own for weeks. This kitten was everything a child could ask for: playful, loving, beautiful (after a flea bath and brushing) and possessed a princess-like strut when she walked.
My mother, however, was convinced that the arrival of the blue-eyed kitten was an evil omen. To reenforce her claim, she pointed to the other pets in the household who kept their distance from the new comer. For the remainder of their lives, the older cats, Kitty and Coco, hissed, screamed and growled when Muffin was near. We thought they would grow accustomed to Muffin after a while, but that never happened. They made it clear that living out-of-doors was preferable to sharing the house with her. Ringo, the poodle, eventually learned to tolerate her presence, but by then Muffin did not want him near her and she let him know it.
Only Kim, the new German shepherd puppy from New York, forged a strong bond with the kitten from Guayama; the two grew up together and for as long as Kim lived, where one was, the other was only inches away. The mismatched pair ate out of the same bowl and, if not in snuggled in Marlena’s bed, Muffin slept curled up against Kim’s belly or between the huge paws of the oversized dog.
A year after Muffin moved in the older cats disappeared. We moved back to Bay Shore, New York. More time passed. My mother became ill and passed away. The children grew up and left to go to college; the marriage ended. For a while Kim, Ringo, Muffin and I shared a large and quiet house that only came alive when the children came home to visit on weekends. Then one sad night, it was just Muffin and me.
If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed?