We've been housesitting Wine Friend's cat for just over a month. She's a long haired black cat of sixteen pounds, perhaps. And she's just lovely.
But she and Katt don't get along.
When Nimue first came, we closed off the upstairs with a pet gate. She hissed at our dog Amy when they met. Expected, I guess: dogs and cats are not necessarily natural compadres. But when Katt crept up the stairs to peer at this new kitty through the pet gate, Nimue hissed and growled. Katt slunk down the stairs. And then came back up to look again. Nimue hissed and growled and batted at the pet gate. Katt slunk off again...and then came back up.
I swear she was giggling as she repeated this several times. I finally moved the pet gate the foot of the stairs.
So, we've had an upstairs kitty and a downstairs kitty for awhile. Nimue gets to cuddle and snuggle with us in bed, and spends mostly quiet days, following the moving sunbeams, sitting in the window watching the chickens down below, and napping wherever the hell she damn pleases. Nimue is happy to play with me or with the Boy, and she doesn't dart away anymore when he chases after her, begging her to let him pet her. In that, she is considerably smarter than Katt, who just lets the Boy lug her around the house. At first, she wasn't wild that Amy comes upstairs at night, but she no longer hisses at her unless Amy comes around a corner she was preparing to round.
I swear Amy just rolls her eyes as she walks around the hissing kitty.
On sunny days, when Katt goes outside to do country cat things, I remove the pet gate and give Nimue full rein of the house. Well, I did that three times, until she discovered Katt's food dish and thought she'd try to take a nibble. I heard the sound, and started yelling at Amy, who was actually curled up asleep on her bed next to me. Nimue was banished to the upstairs that afternoon. Now, if I let her out, the first thing I do is move Katt's dish out of reach.
The two cats have decided to let Amy show herself to be the bigger animal. Nimue has learned that Amy could care less about her, and now watches with bright, interested eyes as Amy passes on her way to bed. And she is fascinated when I get on the floor and pet Amy, with the belly showing and that tail thumping the floor.
Katt has finally accepted that the only danger from Amy is that she'll steal her food. She's stopped chasing the dog around the kitchen, and only occasionally bats at her, and I think she only does that when I am watching. You see, she now SLEEPS with the dog, and Amy doesn't even run away. Katt will walk up, sniff sniff, and Amy will either lift her head and sniff back, or just turn a sleepy eye to watch her. Then Katt will perch on the edge of the dog bed and press her body against Amy's side. And they will sleep.
Now, she still takes over Amy's bed when Amy isn't there, and Amy is smart enough not to push her luck: if Katt is there, she passes up that bed for one in another room, or just does without. To deal with this, I actually bought a small dog bed that was on clearance. Katt loves it, but only if it is placed next to Amy's bed.
Pet beds are taking over the house.
So, there is a species of cat peace, as the cats have adapted to their new lives. And I realized that those kitties are not the only changed creatures.
I realized this as I was driving home one afternoon last week. The road is supposedly dirt, but that means some gravel, a lot of potholes, and several patches of mud interspersed with ice, at the moment. I was weaving left to right, carefully avoiding most of the potholes, because I know exactly where they all are. I even think of it as a driving video game: Pot Hole Dodge.
Anyway, I was driving along, zooming around the road avoiding the potholes, sometimes on the right, but sometimes all the way to the left, hugging the edge. I came over a hill and found a navy-blue Lexus ahead. I thought the car was weird as I approached, and it took me a minute to realize why I thought it looked weird.
The car was clean. Like shiny.
I slowed down as I continued my game of dodge'em. And I watched Mr. Lexus braking almost to a stop, easing into the potholes, and then picking up speed before hitting the next big patch. I smirked as I easily swung all the way to the left to avoid that big patch. I wondered if he thought I was some kind of lunatic.
And then it hit me. I knew the road, and was driving like an insider. He was driving like someone who'd never been on a country road before*. And I didn't identify with him at all at that moment.
The City Kitty has not become a country kitty, but it could be that she's adapting, too.
Survival of the fittest, baby.
*For the record, I am pretty sure Mr. Lexus must have been heading to the nearby meat boutique--local farmer selling great local meats, from animals that you may have seen wandering the farm the week before. I visited them as well before we moved out here. Kudos to Mr. Lexus for supporting local farmers, and I hope his suspension made the drive not too bumpy.