Of the fascinating felines I’ve innerviewed, Neo Branden is the liddlest. An possibly the shyest.
Neo is a breed I’d never heard of: Singapura. So I Googled: Singapuras were duh-veloped in the 1970s far, far from here on an islund that is called SING-a-pore.
When me an my assistant arrived, a frenly lady welcomed us in. She called, “Neo! Neo! NEEE-O!” a few times. Nothing. So she motioned for me to follow her to the bedroom, and pointed to the bed. I scooched way down an peeked under it. From out of the dark, two BIG green eyes ringed with black were shining. Not blinking. Just staring. VERY mysterious. I was a liddle startled.
“Um … good afternoon,” I managed. “I am Bonzo the Columnist, here to innerview you, as scheduled.”
“Bonzo the Columnist, you say?” The voice was soft but firm. “May I see some identification?”
“Well, um, sure. Here. I have a card.” I rooted around for my card an shoved it into the darkness with my nose. Then I sat back an waited.
Finally there was a rustling sound, and an extremely small cat peeked out. “I do not normally (actually EVER) interface with dogs. You are, in fact, a dog, correct?”
“Well, yes, but …”
“I have been assured you do not plan to chase, bark at or otherwise cause me distress, and that you are only desirous of hearing about myself an my life. Is this correct?”
“Yes. Absolutely. I am a dedicated believer in peaceful inter-species communication.”
“A worthy pursuit,” he said, stepping out into the room. Neo moved like a panther, and his appearance was impressive: a mostly white front, large ears, an amazing eyes that took up most of his face. His coat was dark brown, light brown an cream, in a pattern called ‘ticked.’ He looked like a King. “I trust I won’t regret my decision to converse with you,” he said.
“I assure you, you won’t.”
“Excellent,” he said as we returned to the living room. “This is Deborah Branden. She is my Lady.” Suddenly he sprang from a complete standstill and leaped to the top of a high antique chest on which sat a glass bowl with several colorful yarn balls small enough to fit in his little mouth. He carefully selected one, then leapt down, poked around a bit in my Satchel, licked my assistant’s hand, then sat with the liddle yarn ball under his paw.
“Let’s begin,” he said. “About 6 years ago, my Lady decided she needed a cat for company. She did some cat research at the library, an came across Singapuras. When she learned we’re 4-8 pounds full grown; don’t shed; are sweet, loving, curious AN hypoallergenic, she decided Singapura was the breed for her. So she searched online, an found ME. Cuz we’re so teeny when we’re born, us Singapuras are extremely fragile an not ready for our Forever Famlies till we’re 4 or 5 months old. Plus, we favor warm climates (I was pleased when we moved here last year). When I was old enough, My Lady drove from her place in Pencil-VANE-yuh; me an my breeder drove from North Carolina; an we met in a school parking lot in D.C.”
“What was it like, starting your new life?” I asked.
“Well, I don’t like car rides. Immediately upon arrival at my new home, I dashed to the farthest corner an hid under the sofa. My Lady spent hours on her hands and knees tryin’ to entice me out. But I was like ‘NO!’ Finally, after about 3 hours, I figured what-the-meow, so I emerged, an realized my Lady had provided everything I’d ever need to be happy an comfy. Soft beds. Special dining area. An TOYS! Most of ‘em bigger than me. Back then I was the liddlest bit of fur you can imagine.”
“Do you have any favrite foodstuffs?”
“Not really. I’m not an adventurous eater. Most cat food is too big for my liddle jaws and stum-ick. I only eat a quarter-cup of food a day.”
“Whaddya do for fun?”
“I’m extremely active. Me and my Lady have 15 or 20 minutes of exercise several times a day. Tennis is one of my favorites. I shall show you.”
Neo stood on the couch an the Lady stood opposite him on the floor.
She lofted one of the tiny yarn balls to him an he swatted it back, so fast it was a blur. Time after time after time. He just didn’t miss.
“I’m also quite fond of packing paper. It’s better than toys. So crinkly. I hide in it; drag it around; pounce on it; nap in it. I sometimes pretend it’s my jungle an I’m a ferocious lion. Endless possibilities, really.
“I greatly enjoy the compny of humans. Plummers, lectricians, my Lady’s friends, all love playin’ with me. My fren Austin (he’s 17) comes over most every day an exercises with me.
“I know many human words. When my Lady says ‘Danger’, I know to stop cold in my tracks.
“Being feline, I have mastered the Art of the Nap, an do so probly 13 to 15 hours a day. In addition, when I require some Me Time, I have a Man Cave in my walk-in closet.”
The Lady brought it out: a soft-looking fabric cube about a foot square, with an opening in one side.
“Indeed,” Neo agreed. “My Lady is my VBFF! I always MUST know where she is an what she’s doing. I have no desire for a pet companion. My breed is best being an Only Cat.”
Heading home, I was thinkin’ how Cool Kibbles it’d be to have a Man Cave. Then I realized, my whole house is pretty much my Man Cave.
PS: In case you were goin’ to the Bark in the Park Jan. 9: It hadda be canceled cuzza that virus humans are getting. Soggy Dog Biscuits, but necessary.
Till next time,