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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

"After scolding one's cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for reference."- Charlotte Gray

No, not the kids.

I often hear dog lovers expound the virtues of one particular dog; it is rarer amongst cat lovers but I have owned that cat.  Not Gyver, who should have been mine ~ & was meant to be mine~ rescued & deflea~ed & loved passionately by everyone in the house & who was always so very grateful to have this home but understood he was  a family cat, to be loved indiscriminately & to love indiscriminately. No, that privilege goes to the cat who was one cat too many & was not originally mine but Dino's: Issi.

Iss was always my cat, from the moment he was allowed to stay.  Who knows why.  When we lost Gyver, who was a cream with ginger points part Siamese & who should have been an indoor cat only but rescued too late for that, it was Issi who slunk into my lap & squirmed up my chest to lay his head over my heart & grieve with me.  Dino was a little put out to find the kitten he'd picked out of the litter as being very male & for whom he had chosen a strong,  manly name preferred the comforts of his alpha women & being a rather large & adored woos.

The fact that I already owned cats bothered Issi not at all.  Issi was insistent that he too was worth loving & while he was attentive to everyone in the house  [as a good cat should be] he made it plain I was his person & to be lavished with love, protected & adored.  Once in a lifetime, perhaps, you are privileged to get an animal like Issi.  The strength of the bond means I have grieved Issi long & hard but a house is not a home without cats & so we acquired the present feline residents of our home.

Marlow & Kirby are brothers & although they are both adorable they had a long wait in a care situation until they came to us.  Consequentially separation makes them extremely anxious.  What is more concerning is that they say animals become like their owners & we inevitably acquire cats that are both clever & deeply neurotic.  We have had to be patient & very gentle with both cats.  Kirby, who loves being outside, is also my biggest cuddler, getting up under my chin for smooches & making repeated attempts to *groom* me to his satisfaction.  Marlow, while not as outright cuddly, is inevitably to be found under my feet no matter where I move.  They divided their territory equitably between them:  Kirby took outside, Marlow inside.  There was only one problem with this: the food is inside!  Then it got cold!

Now the warmest place in the house once the heater gets turned off at night is on someone's bed.  The place at the end of my bed has always been Marlow's because in the warmer weather Kirby preferred to sleep elsewhere.  Foolishly I thought Marlow would raise no objections to sharing that space with his brother.  How wrong could I be?!

I tried the turn & turn about thing but inevitably the cat whose turn it wasn't got upset.  We have attempted bed sharing ~ with an all out war erupting over the top of us & one or other cat inevitably departing in a huff.  Somewhere along the way as the cold deepened & the nights grew longer & more bitter they reached a sort of truce but I tend to end up with Kirby perched on top of me declaring proud ownership & male superiority. This puts Marlow's nose out of joint & in the early hours of the morning he rustles his brother out of the bed & lays sole ownership to my person.  There are five people in this house & at least that many beds to share but it is mine the cats want to squabble over. 

Then the other night as I made my usual I'm getting ready for bed  now noises both cats eyeballed me.  Both cats started following me about anxiously.  Both cats tangled round my ankles.  Both cats chirruped at me neurotically: Take me! Take me to bed.  I scooped up both cats, tucked one under each arm, & marched us all up the stairs to bed.  It was not a night for anyone to be left downstairs in the cold.  As I fell asleep the boys were still disputing whether or not Kirby could tuck his rump against Marlow's spine for extra warmth but I was lovely & toasty!

My kids eventually outgrew the sibling rivalry.  What odds on the cats?


Bonnie said...

What a gorgeous post! I love cats, but married a dog person. I love dogs too, but someday I will have a cat again. Right now my little hot water bottle is a 1.5 kg long haired Chihuahua, named Kitty (oddly enough). She sleeps under the blankets and always snuggles with me. It makes DH jealous. I love it!

Ganeida said...

lol Bonnie. Dearest thought he was a dog person but after 30 odd years with me he has converted over. I don't do well with a dog's pack mentality but our cat's display so much intelligence & wit Dearest is convinced he missed out for years! ☺ Sneaking suspicion they were laughing at him!

Jo said...

I have been away this last week and my kitty has been very upset. Today she has stuck by me all day just incase I left her again.

Ganeida said...

JO: yes, my mum's cat is just the same. MIne are so awful we haven't retried the experiment after the first time. ☺ And how was Sydney?

siblings rivalry said...

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