And the cat's in the cradle with a silver spoon...
Kung Pao is my cat. He adopted me about six years ago and has been my faithful companion ever since. I first met this reincarnated Taoist entity when I was a student at
It was late in the quarter and if she didn’t do well on her final paper she was going to fail the class. I didn’t think there was much I could do to help her and was going to politely turn her aside. She managed to persuade me to change my mind when she offered to provide homemade dinners as long as we worked on her paper. At the time I was a bachelor living with a house full of roommates and the promise of food served in containers that weren’t Styrofoam or cardboard was a real deal maker.
Sherri stepped out of the back door carrying a plate of steaks and a pitcher of iced-tea. She started to say something and then gasped in surprise.
“What’s the matter?”
“I’ve been feeding that cat for six months and he won’t even come up on the deck until I’m back in the house and the door is closed. How did you manage to get him to sit in your lap?”
“He just walked up here and got in my lap, I didn’t do anything. I thought he was your cat.”
For the next three weeks Sherri and I repeated our dinner and study sessions. The weather continued to be idyllic for early spring and we enjoyed sitting out on the deck and soaking up the sunshine. Kung Pao always joined us and it was if he looked forward to my visits and waited anxiously for the weekend when he knew I would be coming over to study. I think Sherri was a little miffed by the rejection of Kung Pao in favor of me but she never said much about it. Every now and then a tiny frown would flash across her face and she’d shake her head in consternation as if to say, “you bastard.”
The quarter was coming to a close and Sherri was preparing to return home to
“I’m making my final stop before leaving. I don’t have much time so I’ll make this brief. This cat knows where he’s supposed to be even if you don’t know it yet. He loves you and I think he’d be miserable if he never saw you again.” With that said she walked into my house, set the litter box down in the kitchen and filled it with cat litter. When she opened the pet carrier Kung Pao walked out and promptly put the new box to immediate use. When he finished he walked down the hallway, jumped up into my bed and laid down as if he’d been doing so his entire life and began grooming himself.
Sherri left and I never saw her again. Kung Pao never left and remains one of my best friends to this day. I wasn’t looking for a cat when I met Kung Pao and I certainly wasn’t looking for a spiritual teacher. I thought I was figuring things out just fine all by myself. He knew better and decided to take me under his metaphorical wing. I didn’t think I was capable of taking care of anyone besides myself. Kung Pao taught me otherwise.
When Felicia and I decided to move in together I was worried about what to do with Kung Pao. Felicia is a dog lover and not to fond of those of the feline persuasion. She already had one dog, Mina and they had been living together since she was a puppy. I finally convinced her to give Kung Pao a chance. I promised her that if things didn’t work out, we’d figure out something to do.
Now he sits on Felicia’s lap and soaks up the loving. I think it is his way of saying, “I knew where you were heading all along and I wasn’t going to miss this for the world.” At times when he is nestled comfortably upon my wife’s pregnant belly looking much like a guard on duty I can’t help but smile and wonder; what lessons he is waiting to teach my son.