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“Come, Sit. I Promise I Won’t Bite You”
Cat under table cannot be trusted
Kina has spent much of the last year pretending to be a cat. On most mornings, she will wake me up by crawling into our bed and meowing plaintively. Her bedtime rituals are played out by her feline alter-ego, Baby Rainbow Cat. On the playground, when arguing with her friend Futura, the two of them will meow furiously back and forth. She briefly became obsessed with licking my arm, because we once mentioned that her former cat friend Gertie used to do it. Sometimes, Cat Kina crawls under the table in our living room and makes a little nest—it seems like a very cozy thing to do, and Gertie did, in fact, used to do it; to see Kina in there reminds me of when I was more compact, and would build forts that only my stuffies and I could occupy. At that age, I used to imagine what it would be like to be a cat, to have the freedom to do whatever I wanted, to sleep all day, to be worshipped by ancient Egyptians.1 A love of cats, and of cat identity, runs in the family. Gertie used to sneak up on me from her hiding places to bite my toes, which was super uncool of her, and I’ve told Kina about that once or twice. Gertie never, ever bit Kina, but she has nonetheless internalized this idea that a cat sometimes plays by nibbling at you. So it is, then, that Kina occasionally, when possessed by her cat spirit, will bite me on my leg—usually while ensconced in her nest under the table. It’s weirder than it is annoying, and more annoying than it is painful. Gertie, at least, never apologized for biting me, so this is a measurable improvement in being bitten by cats (real or feigned); as long as I don’t have to pick cat hair off myself all the time, I’m fine dealing with it. I just ask that I not be called by the school principal next year to answer for my surly cat child, that she remain snuggly in her less bitey moments, and that she finish her oatmeal before tucking into her fort. Good kitty.
Later, I watched Cats in London and got super creeped out, and have never much liked the idea of people becoming cats since.