MISTER WINKY

words SARA HOTCHKISS

Neighboring friends who have a farm called to tell me they had an orphan kitten, and asked could I take it? I said I would meet the kitty to see if I liked him and then decide, which is about as ridiculous a statement as I’ve ever made. Me not fall in love with a 3-week-old kitten? So, yes, he came home with me.

I kept him warm on my chest, curled up in a knitted hat pinned to my sweater. A tiny purring ball of fluff with a shy meow. Besides needing to be kept warm, kittens need to be fed every two hours. It’s messy, especially when you’re half asleep. We spent a lot of time covered in kitten formula. He made me laugh, it was all so silly.

Because he was so young when I got him, I got to see all the phases of kitten development. He figured out stuff on his own—he was Einstein! I remember the first time he discovered his little legs would move him across the floor. Oh, my gosh. He teetered and waddled and bumped into things making his way across the floor balanced by his quivering rat tail. The best part? I could feel his joy, his excitement. We shared Mister Winky’s big day!

That was 12 years ago and here he is now. I had just taken this rug off the loom and was about to sew the bound edge when he did what he usually does with a new rug, which is to snuggle the rug like it’s the most important thing he has ever seen. You can see he’s very serious about this job! Sewing? Not so much; better left to me.

And see that bit of fluffy tummy? He’s a bit shy about showing his tummy, but I’ll let you in on his secret: He has big leopard spots down there. Cat royalty!

He’s just the sweetest guy. I think maybe he really likes me. He thinks like a cat, but he loves like today is his best day. My late kitty Nutting Bumpus and I used to refer to him as Mister Love, spoken in my very best deep, dramatic voice. Doing this would make Nutty’s eyes roll, but Mister Winky would stand up, torque his little butt and poke his nose a tiny bit in the air.

sarahotchkiss.com

Previous StoryNext Story