Saturday, December 19, 2009
In February, I got a roommate, and no, it was not one of the psycho, samahon-brewing landlady's relatives . . . I got a kitten! One of my ninth graders, Ella, gave him to me. It was nice to have something living in my apartment that was not yelling at me in Ukrainian for not making my bed. An all-white, long-haired "fancy cat," as the locals say, I decided to name him Snizhka, which is Ukrainian for snowball.
Snizhka doing a few of his favorite things . . .
"helping" wash the dishes
drinking water out of my reserve bucket, instead of his dish
stalking about on my snazzy carpet
sleeping on my stomach
Generally, I'm not a cat person, but Ukrainian winters are long and lonely, so I figured I'd try it out. Snizhka definitely had the personality of a dog, more than a cat. He followed me all over the apartment, like a shadow, and slept with me at night. I had to close the door to my room or it would get too cold, so he was basically locked in. He either slept under the covers or on my head. I preferred the under the covers version.
In my heat-less apartment, one of Snizhka's favorite places to be was on my laptop
I didn't actually bother to tell Lesia about the cat because my move appeared to be imminent at that point. When she did discover him, on one of her many unannounced visits, she seemed to really like him. She even made him meat and mashed potatoes for dinner, scoffing at the bowl of cat food I'd set out for him. Later, of course, she changed her mind and decided that the cat had to go.
Proof positive that bucket baths do nothing for your appearance
One of my fellow volunteers had been dying for a cat, so I offered her Snizhka, wanting him to go to a good home. I took Snizhka, and all of his paraphernalia (the amount of stuff my mom bought, and then shipped for the cat is ridiculous), on a four hour bus ride to another village. Livestock, chickens, cats, and the occasional goat are really not that uncommon on buses in Ukraine, and no one paid much attention to me and the cat. Unfortunately, while walking around and changing buses, I had to keep him contained. I didn't have a cat-carrier, and there certainly wasn't anywhere to buy them in my town, so I cut holes in the top of a baba bag and carried him that way. Snizhka was not amused. We got to the other village intact, although slightly traumatized. Snizhka enjoyed his new home and his new baby sister, Pechevo (which means cookie in Ukrainian). I enjoyed not being woken up at night anymore by the cat pouncing on my head.
Snizhka and Pechevo sleeping