He sits on the couch, cuddling the little kitten in his great big hands. The kids would be home soon, and this will probably be the only time, ever, that he’d get to snuggle the small fuzzy animal.
The little ball of fluff purrs even though he didn’t even pet it yet. That’s one of the reasons he’d got it from the rescue; it was just so darn happy all the time. It – or rather she – would start purring for no reason and then next thing you knew you were petting her. As if somehow she knew you were going to pet her. Or, by purring, she convinced you to pet her. Either way, she was one smart cookie.
He puts his hand on the top of her head and runs it down the length of her little body. Only a short way for him because his hands were so huge. Petting her was only a small flick of the wrist for him, but she seemed to enjoy it so much. She does the classic arch into his hand and pushes her butt up into the air with her tail high up. She kneads his lap, and though her little baby claws were sharp, he really doesn’t mind. Her cuteness outweighs any hatred you could have toward her.
He changes tactics and scratches her head instead, just for variety. She pushes her head up into his hand and steers his hand toward the back of her neck, apparently preferring to be scratched there. He obliged only wanting to make the little thing happy at that moment.
After a bit of scratching, she grows bored and begins to look around her environment. She finds a string dangling from the cuff of his threadbare work shirt and begins to bat it about. Smiling, he holds his wrist up for her, letting her play to her heart’s content. It keeps her interest for a few moments, but then she starts looking around again. She poises herself to jump off his lap, but he’s afraid that it may be too far for her. He scoops her up before she can make the treacherous leap and sets her gently on the floor. Slowly taking a few tentative steps, she seems unsure of what to do with the sudden freedom. He smiles – she reminds him of his own children and their newfound individual freedoms. The initial caution, the uncertainty, and then the explosion of boldness when confidence is gained.
As if hearing his thoughts, the kitten leaps and jumps across the floor in a dance only describable as pure joy. Her body bounces as if on springs, and he is reminded of an old song from an old story from when he was just a boy. Inspiration strikes, and suddenly, he knows her name.
Just as he is deciding what to name her, the door to the small apartment flings open and two middle school children come blustering in. They are noisy and loud but without care or worry. They are arguing and eventually turn to their dad to mediate the argument. It’s at that moment they notice the kitten on the carpet.
At first, no one moves. The father is grinning from ear to ear, happy at his surprise. The children simply stare, their mouths agape. Then the realization sinks in, and they squeal loud and long as they remove their shoes and run over to the kitten. They pet her gently, turning to the father to confirm that they’re keeping her. With his confirmation, there’s a new round of squealing. One of the children starts to cry, proclaiming their love for the kitten and the father. The children ask if they can name the kitten and the father says she already has a name, one that he has chosen especially for her.
“Tigger,” he says.