No, the title is not a reference to the classic Val Lewton horror film, but to us: the Chase family.
Yes, we are now officially "cat people".
It all started with my brother-in-law, Iuli. He had bought a cat for his office. Actually, he did not buy it. He had gone to the hypermarket (yes, that is a word here in Europe) REAL, which has a small pet shop attached, Zoo Mania. Zoo Mania has got a pretty good racket going, whereby it accepts unwanted cats, vaccinates them, de-worms them, etc. and then gives them away for free with the purchase of X amount of cat-related products.
So Iuli left REAL one day with a bag full of cat stuff and a (free) orange tabby kitten. He brought the cat (named Flexi, after Adobe's Flex program) to his office, where it lived for a number of months. But then as Christmas approached, Raluca - who had been working at Iuli's office on a regular basis - decided that it would be cruel to allow the cat to stay there alone over the vacation, so she insisted that we house it for the holiday.
And so, Flexi came to live with us, despite the misgivings of Raluca's mother and my insistence that I did not want to have to take care of a cat. The kids were delighted of course, since they have been asking to have pets since they learned to speak (I don't think our chickens really counted as pets). I kept reminding them that the cat was only staying for a short while, but as Christmas became New Year became mid-January and Flexi was still there, it became increasingly clear that the cat wasn't going anywhere.
Then last week, Raluca finally convinced her mother to agree to allow the cat to stay for good. That very day we took a walk as a family to REAL to buy kitty litter for Flexi. While shopping in Zoo Mania, we found a beautiful young Siamese kitten looking terribly frightened. The kids (and Raluca) immediately decided that we had to take him home, too. And since we were buying kitty litter anyways, if we just bought a few more things we could get him for free! (I told you they had a good racket going.)
After a quick call home to make sure we wouldn't be disowned if we brought home another animal, we soon left Zoo Mania with a bag off kitty accessories and a cat tucked snugly in my coat.
It was a few days before we could finally agree on a name for the new boy (he had previously been called Pufuleti), but yesterday we finally settled on Smoki.
So, what's my point in talking about our cats here in our ministry blog? More than just signifying that we finally broke down and got our children the pets they have wanted for so long, the decision to adopt not just one but two cats indicates - to us and to others - that we are here to stay.
We returned to Romania in November with the idea that we were going to try to settle here permanently, but there was a bit of doubt about whether or not that would actually happen. Right now it seems very clear to us that this is where we are meant to be and it seems certain that we will be able to remain here indefinitely. Which is not to say that we won't be coming back to the US at all; both Raluca and I have a number of freelance jobs lined up this summer and fall in America. However, it seems very unlikely that we will be moving our family back to the States anytime soon.
Which is why we could allow ourselves to become cat people.