Monday, October 19, 2009



As trite a saying as it is, you really do need to be careful what you wish for or you just might get it. Take Hedge, for instance, the formerly homeless cat. He wished for a safe, warm place to live where meals appear regularly. He got us. Stephanie, our neighbor and cat fosterer, wished for a good home for little Hedge. She got me. And then there is Carol.

From the moment we adopted Quint, the quintessential cat himself, Carol thought we should also adopt a little female kitten as a companion for him. I was resistant to the idea, since Quint seemed quite content being an only cat. We had our evenings together playing in the kitchen, the three of us together. And during the day, Quint had lots of toys to play with and lots of windows with comfortable ledges where he could sun himself and watch the world go by. It seemed to me that life was going along quite smoothly and that everyone had what they needed, even if Carol didn't have everything she wished for.

But you know how wishes are, they float around looking for a way to come true. Carol's wish was out there manipulating events, changing the course of history, causing things to happen. When we adopted Quint, Hedge hadn't even been born. Because of that one little wish, Hedge came into this world. Somehow he survived his first six months of life and made his way into our back yard. He found Stephanie to help him on his way, but ultimately he ended up in my living room on that fateful Saturday, the fulfillment of a wish made over a year before. No, he wasn't a little female kitten, but with a little salesmanship on my part, Carol tentative agreed to give it a chance. Hedge and Quint bonded immediately, and though Carol sometimes gets discouraged when Hedge runs and hides from his people, she realizes that it's going to take some time for this relationship to evolve. She's mostly okay with that.

Hedge has been with us now almost a month, I guess. Hedge and Quint play together from dawn until noon, at which time they both take a nap until around 4:30 p.m. They chase each other around until dinner time and then there is a brief lull in the activity to take care of after dinner grooming and cat napping needs. Then there is more play until bedtime. Hedge still isn't much of a people cat, though he's getting better about that each day, but he's a wonderful companion for Quint. Quint is proving to be a very good mentor for Hedge, teaching him how to be a cat and showing him that there are at least two people in the world who can be trusted. I feel very certain that before too long, Hedge will be hopping up on my lap insisting that he too needs his teeth and fur brushed, and he'll be hopping up on Carol's lap for some petting and admiration.

As for me, I just want everyone to be happy. And here I am surrounded by people whose wishes are coming true. It's kind of perfect. The only thing that could make it any better is if I could figure out some way to get paid for writing about my cat. Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might . . . .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two Steps Forward

Just Remember, I Was Here First

The relationship between Hedge and Quint continues to evolve, as does the relationship of Hedge to his humans. Hedge is becoming less and less of a scared and timid hidden presence and more and more of a playful, but still wary, little kitten-like creature. All of us have been working on our little family relations, each is his/her own way.

Carol, who usually feeds the cats, is now occasionally able to grab Hedge, sit with him and pet him for awhile in the evenings. As soon as he gets restless, she lets him go, but now, instead of running away and hiding, Hedge will just move off a few feet and attend to some grooming needs, or go and find Quint for some evening playtime. Carol wants a lap cat, to sit with her while she is reading or working at her desk. She also wanted our next cat to be female with a sweet disposition. Both the cats are very good natured, but they're also still very young, and ALL boy, so their lap sitting abilities have yet to be developed. Quint already often sits at Carol's elbow when she works at her desk, so I believe his lap-cat potential exists. At the moment, though, both cats are enjoying the novelty of playing with each other and don't have all that much time for their human companions. Still, I think our new tactic of just letting Hedge be and giving him time to adjust to his new home is beginning to work.

Quint still insists that he is Head Cat, and reminds Hedge of that fact whenever it seems appropriate to him. Hedge, however, frequently informs Quint that though, for the moment, this may be true, a kitten grows quickly and Quint's size and weight advantage may not last forever. Neither of the cats is at all vicious during the domination games they play. I've heard some minor squeaks of protest when things get too rough, but I've never heard them hiss, growl or spit at each other. As I've mentioned, Quint is inherently good-natured without a mean bone in his body, and he still has quite a lot of kitten playfulness left in him, so I think he's rather liking having a playmate of his own species. However, there are times when Quint misses the days when he was an Only Cat. Carol and I miss those days a little bit, too. It was great fun playing with Quint in the evenings and having him all to ourselves. Sharing him with Hedge means we've lost our evening playtime with Quint, since he'd rather play with a very much alive kitten than with toy mouse. I can see his point. So, we have to get our Quint time in other ways, petting and brushing and watching him play.

I've been working on teaching Hedge to play with his humans and not just with Quint. To that end, I've been seeking the perfect cat toy which will prove irresistible to a kitten, and I believe I have finally found it. It works, not just with Hedge, but also with Quint. It was simple when I finally figured it out. The solution was in a corner of the kitchen "junk" drawer all along. Have you guessed it yet? A six foot length of string has proven to be just the thing I was looking for. What cat, young or old, can resist a bit of string being dragged along the floor? I started the string training two evenings ago and we've all had fun with it. Hedge will chase it for a few feet and then Quint takes over, pounces on it and kills it, over and over again, while Hedge watches. I've also been dangling the string over their heads so that can bat at it. Quint shows Hedge how it's done. Since yesterday, when I enter a room where Hedge is playing or sleeping, instead of running away, he looks at me as if to say, "Are we gonna play now?" I'd call that progress.

We're growing, the four of us, in ways none of us could have imagined. We're getting closer, physically and emotionally, and we're learning from each other. We're laughing together, and playing together. We just have to remember that if we listen to each other and allow each other to be who we already are, we will continue to find ways to enjoy each other's company and bask in the love we have to give each other.