Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Zoë Moonshadow (Feline) Settles In

It's been a while since we've had a new cat in the household. As I've mentioned in one spot or another, Oliver Littlechap's death in 2019 ended a feline era stretching back to 1997 when Christine and I adopted Daisy and her brother, Cleo.

All of our cats lived out their lives with us, and in later years, they craved warm laps and companionship. Mostly warm laps. 

Zoë Moonshadow is about five and still has those bursts of energy that send her streaking across the living room up the stairs, around the second floor and back again in a heartbeat, with a thunder of footfalls that sound like a herd of wildebeest. She sits on laps but briefly before she's off on other business.

She's settling in with us and seems to like us. There is a bit of unwinding yet to do, though. One two many strokes of her head and coat results in a warning bite. Not too hard, but not a play bite either.

The humane society noted she'd been terrified of large dogs in her second household. Christine likens her situation now to PTSD. I've noticed Zoë's muscles tense as she cocks an ear to an unrecognized sound, as if a dog's approach might be imminent. 

Daisy never knew that kind of fear, but she had her own agenda early on, cuddling was a small part of it. You took affection when it came your way and let her move on when she announced the time for new business.

I'm reminded now of that time. 

I suspect in time we'll get longer, lazy lap sits, but there's no need to rush that. We can spend time in play and hijinks.

Christine read somewhere that Russian Blues like feathered toys, so we grabbed a card of those when we bought her a bed and scratching post. They proved so popular they quickly disappeared. Tucked away in a summer shoe or some other hiding place found and forgotten. 

I bought a few more and a feathered toy on a stick that proves a joy. She chases, nabs if lobbed in the air and if a toy misbehaves enough it gets a pummeling with the hind feet.

In the absence of toys, she likes to hop on the bed and paw wrinkles in the blanket. They seem alive to her and in needed of subduing. 

 "I'm so glad we got her," Christine said one Saturday morning as wrinkles were trapped beneath paws. 

I was reminded that cat ownership often involves sharing the world as much as immediate bonding, watching habits and instincts at work. Coping with a fearful moment if a dog strays too close to a window. Supplying food of course. Seeking to mute some instincts, of course.

With the world made small by pandemic, limited to the walls of home more than ever, having a friend sharing the space expands the universe. 

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