Thursday, May 04, 2006
Kitten Mommy Report: Small Victories
Here we are, Day 12 into Life as Kitten Mommy....
Big Cat has decided that Kitten was not brought here to eat him. He will now tolerate her presence in his immediate vicinity without growling and hissing. I have allowed Kitten to hang outside the bathroom during the day when I'm at work, but I suspect that they each go into a bedroom and sleep most of the day, because life doesn't seem to start until Kitten Mommy returns home and wants some peace and quiet. Then, all manner of feline feels the need to bounce hysterically off the walls and hang from the proverbial rafters.
I can report progress in a two areas. First, as you can see at the picture on the right, I have managed to get them eating in the same general area. This is a considerable "win" -- while Big Cat thought Kitten might eat him, he wouldn't put his head down to eat. Hunger eventually won out, and I suppose that, faced with the prospect of being eaten by Kitten or starving to death, it became necessary to take some risks.
The other area where we have achieved a small victory is in the "play" department. Kitten has her work cut out for her. I'm told that when he was adopted as a baby, Big Cat (then not nearly so big as now) was beset upon by his sister, who was adopted with him, and attacked by her nearly daily. Is it any wonder that the sight of another very small cat-like being with an enormous head and poor fine motor movement might raise an alarm in him? It all becomes clearer. Big Cat put his guard up very early in his young life, and it's stayed there ever since. He has forgotten the fine art of "play."
Kitten's task at hand is to reteach Big Cat how to play. Then she will have a playmate all day at her disposal (did I mention the world is her oyster? right... ), even when I'm at work. She seems to understand this, because she pursues Big Cat relentlessly, batting at his tail, stalking him, peaking and poking at him from under the dust ruffle of my bed. She runs at him, and leaps up in a posture of attack, then falls to the ground on her back in a thoroughly submissive posture... "I've got you... No... Now, you've got me! Oh, clever you!!" Of course, Big Cat just sits motionless, like a basque cat statue, watching her as if she is a total idiot. (Which she kind of would be, if she weren't so pickin' cute!!!)
But every once in a while, he will reach out at her, almost as if her spell is more than he can conquer, and bat at her gently, then realize what he's doing, and stop himself. Two days ago, Kitten and I were in the bathroom (she helps me blow dry my hair every morning -- an activity which both concerns and perplexes her, yet fascinates her as well), and when I came out, I caught Big Cat red-handed playing a rousing game of mylar crunchie ball soccer on the kitchen floor by himself. He's batted at things before, but he's never actually indulged in a raucous, slide-across-the-kitchen-floor, risk-looking-like-a-fool free-for-all.
Kitten is having the effect I'd hoped she'd have on Big Cat. She's reteaching him to play. She's awakening his inner-Kitten. Soon, I hope, they will be playing together like two kittens in a litter, and Big Cat will get another crack at a happy childhood. I think everyone deserves that, no matter how old they are.