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I wrote a cheque to WAG while James signed the adoption papers. In our naivete we hadn't thought to bring a cat cage, so I clutched our new babycat on my lap while James drove home. Since he had to go back to work, I took over the parenting of Jax, or Jackson as we re-named him. Within five minutes I lost him in the couch. He crawled underneath, tore a hole in the fabric and climbed up inside. I spent hours trying to entice him out. What kind of cat parent was I? I imagined the WAG staffer making her follow-up phone call, sensing something was awry. She'd come by for a visit, demanding to see the kitten. I'd have to relate my sordid story and she'd rip apart the couch in a forensic frenzy to discover evidence of my shoddy parenting-a mummified kitten.
Around 7 p.m. James returned home and tipped over the couch and Jackson crawled out. He yawned, stretched and sniffed the air. Apparently he'd had a pleasant nap. And could someone please direct him toward his dinner?
Jackson turned out to be a good kitty. Not very bright, mind you. He was more like a dog that way. He'd fetch earplugs we tossed for hours while we watched TV in the evenings. If he spied a bird or a squirrel across the lawn he'd bound merrily over like a puppy, his ears practically flapping in the breeze. I was sure that somewhere deep inside his small brain he did have an inkling of the instincts he was supposed to display, because he once caught a pine cone, and delivered it to my lap with pride. We praised him highly. After a time James and I reconciled ourselves to the fact he wasn't going to be a genius, but he was ours, and easy to love.
Six months later I was watching WAG TV on the local cable station and a familiar-looking cat squirmed in the WAG worker's arms. "...this is one very special cat, and up for adoption."
I immediately called James at work. "Oh my God, Jackson's mother is still in jail!"
"What?" It sounded like a bike tool hit the concrete floor.
"Jackson's mom, she's still living in a cage at WAG. We have to adopt her."
"Right now. I'm going over there to get her."
I suppose James must have feared my maternal hormones were now orbiting the stratosphere, because he didn't question my uncharacteristic flash of impulsivity.