I have never liked cats in my whole life. Actually I am scared of them. Firstly it is something to do with their eyes, always so deep and mysterious, and the way they stare at you is like they are ready to attack you anytime. Then it is their screaming, have you ever heard cats screaming in the middle of the night like a baby crying? That really makes my hair all stand. My fear of cat was little helped by the myth I heard in my childhood from folks in my hometown, they said if a cat jumps over a dead body, the dead body will get up and walk. I have never seen a dead body walk, but I have kept away from cat ever since.
I didn't allow my own dislike of cats stop Kah Yen getting to know them though. In fact as to most babies, cat was one of the first animals Kah Yen got to know and one of the first words she spoke, because it frequently appeared in picture books like "Goodnight Moon" and "The Napping House" and more. Also, if you live in a typical old neighborhood in Singapore, you know how many stray cats there are. Every time we go out of our house, we will surely meet one or two. Every time we pass by it, Kah Yen will point and call "Mao mao" excitedly and will generously blow a few kisses. Sometimes I will let her walk close to them but always with a safe distance in between them, for I am afraid she may touch the cats and they may attack her suddenly, for hygiene reason too, but mostly it's the attacking part.
I never told her to stay away from cats because "They are scary" or "They are dirty" though. I don't want to instill such adult stereotype to a young child. Cats are lovely to her, and so be it.
So now she is more mobile, she is not satisfied with just saying "Hello" to a cat from a distance. She will go all the way to show friendliness to her little friend.
Yesterday we were walking in the neighborhood park. When she saw a cat far away, she quickly ran across the field towards it. From the photo you can see how far she has run away from where I stand.
Then she squatted down when she was near to it, just to say hello I presume.
The cat was sleeping and did not respond to her. So she walked a little nearer.
And bent a little lower, hopefully the cat can hear her this time. Meanwhile, afraid of any impending danger, I quickly came after her, in a standby distance.
Okay, there was still no response from the cat. Mummy said we should look at people face-to-face when we talk. So let's do it. "Hello!"
And maybe even eye-to-eye. "Hello!!!!"
With that, the cat opened its eyes suddenly and instinctively stretched its legs, towards the direction of Kah Yen. And I swear she actually thought the cat wants to shake hand with her. She was almost going to touch its claw when I jumped forward and grabbed her hand. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest and I held her hand so tight so that she won't feel mine trembling.
That's how enthusiastically Kah Yen says hello to a cat and that's how scared of cat I am!