By the end of the school holidays in late January, the kitten had established that it went everywhere with Olivia. That included Saturday morning shopping where it suffered itself to occasionally be carried, waited outside shops it was not allowed to enter and seemed to regard the pet store animals with pity. Olivia told everyone that its name was Sherard.
What she actually said was that it had told her that its name was Sherard.
Catheline sighed and got on with things. It was not a name she would have given a kitten but it was clearly not her cat, so she worried about things that were her purview, like back to school shopping, instead. It wasn’t until Olivia looked at her new lunch box and asked where she was going to pack Sherard’s lunch that Catheline truly realised that there was going to be a problem.
“Olivia,” she told her daughter firmly, “kittens do not go to school.”
“But Mummy, Sherard and I go everywhere together!” It was a six almost going on seven wail.
“Well, your teacher won’t want Sherard in the class room.”
“But Sherard’s smart and he’s well behaved!”
“Animals don’t go to school with children. Besides, what if someone tried to catch him so they could look at his wings?”
Olivia’s face worked for a moment. “Do you think Connor would try to pull his feathers out?”
“Maybe,” allowed her mother. “Hang on, why Connor?”
“He does that sort of thing,” Olivia shrugged. “That’s why no-one plays with him at school and why he wasn’t on the roster to take the classroom guinea pig home last year.”
With that, Catheline thought the subject was closed. Olivia waved Sherard goodbye every morning and if Sherard disappeared to curl up asleep for the rest of the day, that wasn’t a problem. At least not until Mrs Butch turned up on the front door with her seven year old son, Connor.
Jody Butch didn’t say, “Hello,” when Catheline opened the door but launched straight into, “Your daughter’s cat frightened my son. It’s dangerous and you have to get rid of it.”
Catheline asked, “Where did your son meet my daughter’s cat?”
“In the school playground at recess,” the other woman spat out. “You not only don’t lock it up, you let your daughter take it to school.”
“We do not allow our daughter to take her familiar to school,” Catheline felt rage taking over. A cold, icy rage. “So, how does a five month old kitten scare a seven year old boy?”
Connor piped up, “He scratched me so I let go of the lizard and told me that if he caught me doing that to anyone or anything again, he’d claw my eyes out.”
“Perhaps, Mrs Butch, you should find out exactly what your son was doing to that lizard,” and Catheline shut the door in their faces.