Friday, September 25, 2009
Quint never ceases to amaze me. Hedge, the little black kitten we adopted last Saturday, was a scared and reclusive little critter when he first arrived here. Not even a week has passed and the two cats have already bonded. I got up to see what they were up to a few moments ago and discovered them both asleep together under the shelf in the living room where Hedge has been hiding out.
I attribute this rapid progress to Quint's basic good nature. From the first day, he just made himself at home here. He was ours and we were his from the very beginning. Now, he's not just accepted a strange new kitten into his house, but he's taken on a mentoring role and is teaching Hedge, by example, how to be a cat. Or maybe Hedge is just learning by example. Whichever it is, Hedge has been following Quint around and doing pretty much whatever Quint does. Left own their own, I'm convinced that they'd be running all over the house together exploring and playing. The only reason they don't is that Hedge is afraid of people and hides whenever Carol or I get within six or eight feet of him. If we just stand or sit and watch him he's fine, but as soon as we move toward him, he's off to one of his hideaways, either behind the futon in my office, or behind the couch in the living room.
I'm working on remedying that sort of behavior. At dinnertime, I find Hedge, wherever he might be hiding, pick him up and carry him over to his food dish. He'll eat with me hovering over him, now, so we've made some progress. After he's finished his dinner, I grab him before he can return to the hideout, carry him into the dining room, sit down in my chair with the kitten in my lap and proceed to brush his teeth and then his fur. All the tooth brushing practice I've had with Quint is paying off with Hedge. I can do it quickly and easily so it's not traumatic for him. He likes having his fur brushed and will sit still for a few moments, and then, being a kitten, he wants to get down and play. Usually he'll go a find Quint and the two of them will play for awhile. Both Carol and I have been enticing Hedge with cat toys on strings, and he is getting more accustomed to our presence every day, so I think there's some hope.
There's a downside to having a new kitten, though, at least there is right now. By the time dinner is over, dishes are washed, and Carol and I have time to play with Quint, he's worn out from playing with the kitten all day and isn't much interested in playing with Carol and I. We're determined not to let that get us down and instead hope to get both of them playing with us sometime soon. For right now, though, the dynamics of our little group have changed. I think Quint is less bored. I know that Hedge is happier having a safe, warm place to stay where there are regular, nutritious meals and friendly people to take care of him. Carol and I will just have to work with both of them so that her and I get included in the new cat group as playmates. In the meantime, it is truly delightful to watch Quint and Hedge as they learn to live and play together.