After her helmet-breaking incident a couple months ago, Charlotte gave up her bike and her scooter for two weeks. The only way I was able to convince her to give wheeled objects a whirl again was to let her pick out her replacement helmet by herself.
She picked a cat helmet.
As soon as we were home from the store, she eagerly snapped it on and hopped on her bike and told me we needed to show her grandparents.
“Grandpa!” she said when she saw my dad. “Grandpa! If I just had a tail and fur and four legs and whiskers and pointy ears and claws and sharp teeth, I WOULD BE JUST LIKE A CAT!”
It was adorable, but I digress. The really awesome part of the story turns out to have nothing to do with my parents and everything to do with their neighbor’s cat.
To understand this, I have to backtrack a little and explain something: my dad was never a cat person. NEVER. I’m pretty sure that he spent my childhood hating cats. But one day about five years ago, a scrawny starving little tomcat showed up on my parents’ porch and changed everything.
My dad ignored him, of course, but the tomcat turned up the next day too. And the day after that. And the day after that. Until finally my father picked up a small bag of cat food at the pet store and put it out on the porch for him.
That scrawny little feline was Cat. When my dad put out the food for him that night, I think he expected that he would feed Cat and Cat would leave, but that’s not how it went. He fed Cat and Cat stayed. In fact, he fed Cat and Cat became a bit of a stalker. When my dad’s alarm clock went off in the morning, Cat would immediately start yowling outside of his bedroom window. And Cat would wait on the steps for my father to come home from work at night. It got to the point where Dad would avoid turning lights on in the evening because if Cat knew he was up, he would start yowling for attention – and Dad was worried that coyotes would get him.
After Cat came Cat Two. Then Little Cat. And Cat Four. And Target. And Cat’s Girlfriend. And Boomerang.
At one point, there was a mystery cat that only came by to eat cat food at night. My dad called him Cat Five. One night he heard Cat Five on the porch, so he carefully peeked out to see what he looked like.
Cat Five was a skunk.
The cat food started being picked up at night.
Even so, ever since Cat first trained my father to put food out in the morning, cats have flocked to my parents’ yard. And around the same time that Charlotte crashed on her scooter, a small grey kitten joined the ranks.
After a few days the people across the street from my parents adopted him and named him Silver, but the small grey kitten still spends hours and hours roaming through my parents’ yard.
When Charlotte got her new cat helmet, she went everywhere with it pretending to be a cat. She took to calling me “Momma Cat” and referring to herself as “Baby Cat.” She even started greeting neighbors with a meow instead of a hello. (Surprisingly, most people meowed right back.) (My neighbors kick ass, that’s all I have to say about that.)
So when Silver turned up in her grandparents’ yard, Charlotte thought it was only fitting that she don her cat helmet and meow at him too.
HOLY AWESOMESAUCE, world, if you want to see something hilarious, do this. Go put on a cat helmet with gigantic green eyes, spin suddenly around so that you come face-to-face with a tiny feeble little unsuspecting kitten, and release the most terrifying meow you can muster.
It. Was. Epic.
And that is why Silver will never ever trust a little girl again for as long as he lives, the end.
(Also, from a distance, with the sun behind her, it makes her look like Batman. Which is pretty cool.)