I got a new cat! And he's sitting on my lap as I type this.
His name is Kusasa (which means "tomorrow" in Siswati), and he was previously the cat of a volunteer from the group that came just before us.
- She finished her service and needed a place for Kusasa to go.
- I've desperately wanted a cat.
Sometimes the world just makes sense.
I had to come into Pretoria this weekend for other reasons, and so it was a convenient time for me to pick up Kusasa.
Keep in mind that Pretoria is about a 6 hour public taxi journey from my place of residence.
Also keep in mind that most Africans that I have met have a deep hatred/fear of cats.
Yesterday, I picked Kusasa up from a friend. Another friend was going to the same taxi rank as I was, so she was waiting in the cab while I picked him up. I had little time to make friendly with this poor cat. His first real introduction was me stuffing him into a cardboard box and taking him into a series of terrifying vehicles.
Upon entering the rank and finding the taxi to Mafikeng, I observed more than one sideways glance at the box with a ginger cat's head sticking out of it.
Boy, I tell you what- my adrenaline was pumping at that point.
I honestly did not know if I was going to be able to take this cat on the taxi with me. I didn't know what his temperament was like. If he was anything like some of the cats I've owned before, this was going to be some serious trouble.
I climbed into the taxi, and ... well, to be honest, I got about the same response as I usually do.
Apparently, a white chick with a cat on a public taxi is not a whole lot more sensational than a white chick without a cat on a public taxi. Only this time, people mostly talked about the cat instead of me being white.
I tried to keep Kusasa covered, so as to avoid any potential hysteria that his presence might induce. It is not uncommon for people to think of cats as evil, or tools of witchcraft here.
Fortunately, I ended up sitting next to a delightful old lady who thought the situation was perfectly comical. I was inclined to agree with her. We went off, and at that point no one had expressed any serious complaints about the cat being in the taxi.
During the ride, Kusasa hyperventilated some, but for the most part he was very well behaved. He was adamant about not being boxed in and being able to watch the landscape go by. That was fine by me, but it meant that he was exposed.
I believe that the taxi driver first became aware of his presence when we stopped halfway at the gas station and he saw his little head peeping out. He went off on a tangent in Setswana about how much he hated cats and how displeased he was about the situation. I apologized and explained that I had no other choice.
Another good natured older woman who was getting out of the taxi mentioned something to him in Setswana that I could only imagine was along the lines of "you know how those white people are with their pets."
Anyway, I bought the driver a coke and I think that placated him a bit.
We reached my ouse, and he acclimated to my place very quickly.
Within minutes of him being in my room, he recovered from the traumatic experience and started purring under my loving caress.
I believe Kusasa's going to fit very nicely into my world here.
We even have our litterboxes next to each other's.
I think we've got a good thing going here.