A slim teenage girl, dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, too much eyeliner and a lip ring, boarded the bus and sat across from me. Her backpack, worn backwards so that it rested against her chest, was cradled in her lap.
And then a kitten’s head popped out from the open zipper at the top of the backpack.
I smiled. She saw me and smiled too.
“How cute”, I said, unable to contain my surprise at seeing the kitten.
“I know”, she said, “he’s great too, he’s a great cat. My Mom, it didn’t take her long… she really likes him”.
And so her story unfolds.
She was at someone’s house, not a friend’s house, she wouldn’t hang on at that place, she was only there to see the kittens. Yes, she was thinking about a cat but really didn’t plan to come home with a kitten. Her mother didn’t expect her to come home with a kitten. But she did and now her mother loves him too.
I ask what his name is.
“Savage”. His name is Savage.
Of course there is a story to his name.
There were three kittens at this place. Two of the kittens were playing with a toy mouse, like soccer, hitting it back and forth to one another, cute, yes, but hardly exciting. Then she tossed the mouse to the third kitten. And, just like that, as she tells it, from a quiet sitting position he leapt into the air, caught the mouse with his teeth, did a back flip and landed solid on the floor. Then he walked away as if that wasn’t just a big deal. “Whoa, that’s savage” she exclaimed and hence his name.
She told me that he has ear mites, that place wasn’t great, the place he was before. She had to take him home. She cleans his ears now and she gave him flea medicine too. Next, she said, she is taking him to get fixed because it’s not right to not do that, you’ve gotta do that.
She takes him out of the backpack to show me his markings, grey strips and white toes, and he is completely comfortable in her hands.
He wears a harness, she is training him on being on a leash and would like for him to ride on her shoulder. He sleeps with her every night. And he purrs, he purrs all the time and he follows her around everywhere. She likes to watch him eat.
“I love him. He’s the best cat, I mean he’s so savage, right?”
“Right” I say and wished her and Savage well as they leave for home.