Monday, December 13, 2010

Meet the Micio

He arrived by surprise...a furry, orange, stripey ball of fur with a purr-motor that wouldn't turn off.  We have seen plenty of cute kitties around the streets of Lucanella, but hadn't expected to have a kitten of our own; however, a friend decided otherwise.  On Thanskgiving, Antonio was bursting with excitement and I couldn't figure out why.  Surely the turkey couldn't elicit such child-like glee, but with 27 other guests and cooking and serving to do, I didn't ask him.

Finally, he couldn't stand it anymore and, like a kid who can't keep a Christmas secret, he motioned me over in the Italian way of flipping his hand downward to signal come here, I want to tell you somethingVa bene, che c'e?  "We have a surprise for you.  My sister brought it from Napoli.  Wanna guess?" He and his two kids were glowing.  The sister had already presented me with a gorgeous, enormous baba', a decadent liquor-soaked sponge cake, so it couldn't be that.  "It's a kitten!" he exclaimed.  "The brother of Gino."  They had seen us go ga-ga for Gino, their kitten, procured from his sister's garden, and asked her to bring Gino's brother.  He was the runt of the litter; a little on the skinny side and shyer than the others.

Maria, upon seeing him burst the secret wide open, rolled her eyes in exasperation and chided them, "You told her?  What do you think sorpresa means?  Mamma mia!"  No problem, Bryan doesn't know yet.  We'll keep it a secret from him. 

The next day we found an excuse to find ourselves at Antonio's house so he could present the purry present.  Bryan was definitely surprised, and while he cuddled the kitty, wasn't sure if we could take him.  The house is piccolina; we'll be traveling over the holidays; other little excuses that Antonio immediately disputed one by one: Cats don't have to be always in the house; you live in the most cat-friendly part of town with no cars to worry about him getting hit.  I'll take him for the holidays.  He can sleep in your cantina. 

A few days later we brought him home and he's become a very grateful (and spoiled!) little boy every since.  He went from a garden in Napoli to a garden and garage at Antonio's, to a couch-and-cantina trade-off here.  He developed a rather nasty cold so he spent more time inside the house than initially planned on, and got rather comfy with the living arrangements.  He doesn't venture too far from the door or the cantina (which he can enter and leave freely through a special hole built in the stone just for cats!) and now that he has recovered from the cold, he's rambuctious and playful.

We learned that Lucanella has a traveling vet; he comes to town about once a week or so.  Imagine...a vet that makes house calls!  And while he came to check on Lucano (or Luca for short), gave him an inoculation and did a generaly once-over on him, Mr. Traveling Vet didn't charge us anything.  "Pay me next time, or when we neuter him.  Whenever."  That was more of a surprise than the kitten's arrival!

He has a pretty collar so people don't think he's a street cat.  Our local supermercato owner procured it just for Lucano.  In fact, he  bought it himself while in Potenza, and brought three colors because he wasn't sure which I'd prefer.  (Spoiled kitten, indeed!)

Lucano is on my lap sleeping while I type this.  He still purrs up a blue streak and all the neighbor say he is "molto bello".  He has made himself very much at home here in Lucanella...and in our hearts.