26 October 2013

For the cats

This is an homage to our two cats, who have bravely weathered in the past few years the arrival of Smalls, an over-the-Channel journey in the back of a van driven by a hideously sleep-deprived Czech (no, fortunately not L.), settling into L.'s parents' place, and a move to our new house in a village full of dogs.

They have faced all of these trying conditions with stiff upper lips (as is befitting for British cats) with minimal protest peeing.
Esme and Lily in the glories of their kittenhood

However, they are now confronted with the most terrible of tribulations: Toddler Affection.

The cats relationship with Smalls started out promisingly. They adored sitting on my bump when I was pregnant and even accepted Infant Smalls as a moderately-interesting addition to their realm. When Smalls was very tiny and suffering from colic, Lily very memorably stuck out her paw and gently tapped him on the head. This guru's touch gave us a whole half an hour of peace, and our attempts to replicate the miracle gave Lily a taste of things to come.

The Affliction of the Toddler is perhaps all the more terrible because he is sometimes remarkably gentle with them. However, this gentleness is almost always short lived, and invariably, the sheer excitement of actually getting to touch the cats overwhelms Smalls.

Smalls seems to realise this about himself, and went through a stage of leading me over to the cats and making it clear that I should pet them for him (petting by proxy). For awhile, this resulted in a great deal of home harmony. The cats were well petted, Smalls was delighted to be in close contact with the cats.

However, Smalls has developed two new interests over the past few weeks: feeding the cats and picking them up. This has resulted in poor Esme being assaulted with a spoonful of oatmeal while Smalls commanded, 'HUM! HUM!' And L. and I looked up from some work we were doing in the garden at the sound of a very concern 'mew!' to see poor Lily being hoisted by her tail.

The cats have been understandably giving Smalls a very wide berth recently.

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