COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
I don’t know where she got that name but my eleven year old girl named our cat, Tiffany. But Tass doesn’t call the feline by that name but instead “Tipan,” yet seldom uses it. But the two are always a sight of pure delight and joy.
Tiffany was born upstairs, right at my father’s room. For a while, it stayed upstairs while being nursed by its mother, the old cat in residence. It turned out to be more beautiful than the previous kittens, with hair of white dotted by a few spots of gold.
When Tiffany grew big enough to move down the stairs, it stayed most of the time downstairs where it had easy access to the yard and the kitchen. Besides, the ground floor is the busiest place in the house.
The beautiful kitten became my young girl’s playmate, bringing her sheer fun and laughter. Tass used to tie a small toy at the end of a long thread and suspend the string at the post for Tiffany to catch, grab, and hold. Tass would then pull the string prompting the cat to jump, tumble, and fall. The exercise was not only a form of play but became a test at Tiffany’s jumping skill. The two would spend long hours, day after day, in that kind of frolic.
Sometimes I’m scared Tass might fall while seated on top of the bookshelf just to avoid Tiffany’s random jumps. Other times, Tass would simply drag the string around the house and out to the yard and the two would have a chase.
All the while, I keep wondering how happiness cannot be bought or even planned. Seeing the joyous two not only showed me the simple pleasures of childhood but nature at play—man and animal in a harmonious whole.
Each passing day, Tass would excitingly announce to me Tiffany’s new antics—how it caught birds, at one time a chick, and the rodents. One time I really tried to observe Tiffany’s catching skills and to my surprise, it hissed like a snake while preying on a lizard.
Sometime last year, Tass asked: Why doesn’t Tiffany cry? For her friend did not seem to mind at the death of its mother. The old cat had lived its years and one day laid dead on the floor upstairs. That was when my young girl’s conscientiousness was pricked when I dug a hole in the yard and buried the dead cat.
During the past holidays, Tass was sad for Tiffany for not having a mother at Christmas. She lamented not only once or twice how she pitied her friend for its mother’s absence.
These days however, Tass is learning how to have Tiffany lie on her lap. Even though how the two can have fun, Tass is still scared of being scratched by Tiffany and is careful with her touch. Since I’m the one who is more exposed to animals, I let Tass watch how I have Tiffany cuddle on my lap, stroke its head and body, and put the cat to sleep. I told my girl that when I was a young girl like her, my cat would lie down beside me to sleep.
As days pass by, with Tass growing a little taller and Tiffany a little bigger, time inside the house has become irreplaceable with those two innocent creatures bringing life’s little wonders and joys.