That night as Christine lie in bed, memories of Maude flooded through her mind. She remembered the day her father brought home a young stray tabby cat that had tried to move into his medical centre. The practice manager was not a cat person and would not entertain the idea of the staff adopting her as the office cat. By the end of the day almost everyone had refused to give the cat a home, so the practice manager said she would call the RSPCA. When he heard this, Daniel offered to take the cat home, in the hope that it would be a good opportunity for Christine to take on the responsibility of looking after it.
When he arrived home, he left the cat in the car, remembering to lower the window for air, while he announced the news and prepared the family for the first addition to the family since Kevin’s arrival eight years earlier.
Jenny was uncertain about giving a ten year old that responsibility, but Christine was overjoyed with the idea. Kevin said “What use is a cat, it can’t catch a ball or fetch a stick. It’s only use might be as a snack for the neighbours Great Dane.”
“Yeah, a typical boy’s answer; what else would I expect from you.” replied Christine.
“Just saying, don’t blame me when she meets a violent death.”
Jenny stepped in “Enough you two. Now Chris are you sure you can look after the animal. You’ll have to feed her twice a day and train her to do whoopsies in the right place as well as groom her occasionally?”
“Of course Mum, and as Dad says it will teach me responsibility.”
“Responsibility!” added Kevin “You can’t even clean your own hair from the shower, or put the top back on the toothpaste and you sometimes use my towel as a floor mat. Is that responsible behaviour?”
“Oh well you too have some less than desirable bathroom habits.”
“Oh yeah, like what?”
“Always leaving the toilet seat up and sometimes you miss the bowel. That’s why I use your towel for a floor mat.”
“You disgusting pig.”
“You’re the one who has the manners of a pig.”
Before the argument could continue Jason arrived home from gymnastics class and said “Look what I found on the front step.”
“She’s supposed to be in the car.” replied Daniel.
“Looks like it knows how to get out of the car, and why did you have a cat in the car Dad?”
“She’s a surprise for Christine. Well the whole family really.”
“What a great idea, we haven’t had a pet since poor old Bert chased his last car.”
“And that’s another thing Dan, having pets is fine but when they meet their demise it can affect their owners badly.”
“I think we’re all old enough to accept that death is part of life Jen; even the kids.”
“Yeah Dad, I won’t be too upset when this one goes to cat heaven.”
“Kevin, what an unkind thing to say. The poor animal hasn’t even moved in yet and you’re already talking like that.” replied Jenny.
“Just being honest; isn’t that what you taught me to be?”
“There’s honesty and then there’s spitefulness.”
“Ok, let the creature move in, but I won’t be feeding it, or picking up what comes out the other end.”
“No one’s asked you to.” retorted Christine.
“How do you feel about having a pet around the house Jason?” Kevin asked.
“It’s Ok with me, especially if Chris looks after it.”
“Now we’ve all had our say, we need to think about a name. What do you think we should call her Chris?” asked Daniel.
“How about Puss?” suggested Kevin.
“What a lack of imagination.” offered Christine.
“Just trying to be helpful; I think it’s quite clever.”
“Mum, remember when Great Grandma died last year, we said we would plant a tree or make a memorial garden to remember her?” asked Christine.
“Yes Chris, but we didn’t.”
“How about we call the cat Maude after Great Grandma?”
“Fine with me, I think it’s a nice way to remember her.”
“That’s just creepy, the thought of GG Maude wandering the house late at night... Then again, maybe it is a good idea. It’ll be like having our own ghost. Yeah, I like it, but she should be all white.” concluded Kevin.
“Trust you to spoil everything.” replied Christine.
“What do I have to do around here to impress you? Even when I agree, you still complain.”
“Ok, I suppose you’re trying.”
Daniel then suggested “So we’re all agreed, the cat shall henceforth be known as Maude.”
“Welcome to the family, Maude.” Jason said as he put the cat down to explore her new home.