One day a kitten said to a kitten owner, “I wish I had a tail. But unfortunately I think I’m a Manx kitten.”
Said he, “You can have a tail!”
“But I want the kind of tail that the incredibly vain dog has in one of J.K. Rowling’s favourite books. It’s like an ostrich plume and it waves like a pennant and the fine hairs scintillate in the sunlight. And [sniffle] I don’t think cats can have tails like that.”
“You can have an ostrich-plume tail! And we can say that it’s an ostrich plume that has been passed down through a long line of famous cabaret-dancing kittens.”
“Yes! But be careful. Or people might figure out that,” and his voice dropped to a dreadful whisper, “it’s not a real tail!”
It was fun being a kitten. I got to say, “Good meowning!” And “I kneow!” And the French for yum yum, which happens to be “Miam miam!”
I regret to say that I never even tried to hoist my leg in the air and wash my groin and establish unnerving eye contact from underneath. But you can express plenty of demure recalcitrance by washing your paw and stopping to stare at the kitten owner with your tongue still sticking out.
Yes, it was fun. Until it wasn’t.
One day the kitten owner stopped joking about freedom from kitten tyranny and it actually happened.
By that time, I hadn’t been a kitten for a while. Not even a sad kitten, or an indignant kitten, or the kitten who aspired greatly to maleficence. All those were possible kittens. But there was no such thing as a kitten who didn’t trust the kitten owner. Specifically, trust him to find her absolutely adorable.
So for a while there was less kitten. And then there was none.
And one day I started to wonder. Had there ever really been a kitten?
This was not like the time I found out that kittygirls were a thing and I wasn’t like the others. You mean I’m supposed to chase laser pointers? And wear ears and a tail? Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t call myself a kittygirl then. And I lifted my imaginary snout and ostrich-plume tail and enjoyed my own idiosyncratic kittenishness.
This was different. As I recovered from the breakup, I started realising just how unhappy I had been. How wonderful it was to be enjoyed by someone who wanted the mirror image of my wants.
I met people who made me feel more than I’d ever felt. I trembled. I shook. I kissed their feet and thanked them for letting me thank them. I touched my blood-pricked green bruises the next day and heard my voice involuntarily saying thank you, sir. I waited in torture for their emails and was shocked to find myself grateful because they were putting me last.
And I started to wonder.
Cats are brats. Apparently I wasn’t. Had I really wanted to be spoiled?
Maybe the kitten was me acting out because I had been so frustrated as a submissive.
Kitten tyranny, we had joked. But what if the kitten had stepped into a power vacuum?
Had there been a crying sub under all that fluffy conceit?
I’ll tell you what I concluded. But first I would love to hear if any of you have had similar identity crises?