I should know better than not to be surprised by my cats.
Tucker has wanted to beat up and bully Kola since the latter arrived as a foster-cat. I attributed this to the roly poly one’s reluctance to remain on the bottom of the totem pole. He decided that Kola, being de-clawed and, as a result, shy and pacific, was defenceless. The law of the jungle dictated that this was the perfect victim. I have been letting Kola out of the parlour much of the time, but only while I am present to supervise the results.
I had been letting him out at night, too. There were a few scuffles but I was woken and swiftly separated the parties, with no harm to Kola except his nerves. Recently, however, Tucker has been coming into the parlour at night. One early morning, about two o’clock, I woke and checked on Kola, who was ill at the time. I saw not the floof-king on his heated towels, but a stouter and stubbier animal. Kola was hiding under my computer table. There were no blows struck, and Tucker was snoozing, but clearly Kola was frightened, so I evicted Tucker. Since then, Kola has been in the parlour at night, with the door closed.
Tucker still stares at Kola, intensely, and I usually talk to the sausage then to distract both his gaze and his thoughts, which probably are not about the universe at large and the various mathematical inconsistencies therein. I dislike chasing Tucker out of the parlour when it is open; it is part of his home, and he deserves to have the use of it. On the other hand, I want Kola to feel safe, and to have a refuge. As late as Saturday evening, during movie-time, Tucker came in to the parlour and, jumping up on the ottoman, lie down for a snooze. He was on one side of my feet, and Kola on the other. But the foster-cat nonetheless felt too uncomfortable at the propinquity, and got down to hide under the computer table.
Yet what happened the next day? That sunny afternoon, Tucker waddled in to the parlour, said ‘hello’ to me, then jumped up on the ottoman, ambled around Kola, who was already lying there, and set his tubular form on the heated towels, which were vacant. I started talking to the beasts, trying to keep them calm - especially the floofy one. Eventually, Kola lay his head back down, and the two remained quiet for about half an hour. The peace ended only when Tucker decided to get a drink of water, and left the room.
I have no illusions of this being the end of chases and beatings. Kola remains locked in the parlour alone when I am absent. And yet, if Tucker will curb his desire to assert his mancatliness and Kola will control his fear, something better may yet arise from this one half-hour. We may yet live in an age of wonders.