Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hangin' with My Possy

Possum helps me make the bed.

Wendy is hiding under the bed again today. She purrs when we reach in and pet her, but she's still protesting the kitten's arrival. She can hear him crying through the door and she may have glimpsed a tiny paw reaching out from under it. I wonder if she's terrified of him, rather than jealous. He is just a fraction of her size and about as intimidating as baby bunny, but Wendy is easily spooked. I'm not sure what would be best for her at this point, so I think we'll humor her for a few more days. Eventually, we'll let her have a good look at him, in hopes that she'll realize he's no threat. But we'll try to do it on her schedule. She's going to the vet with Possum on Thursday night for their annual check-up, and that will be traumatic for her. It's going to be a tough week for poor Wendy.

Possum is taking the kitten in stride, being magnanimous about the time I spend in the office. He has seen me holding the little guy and responded with just a few slow, studied blinks, which I take to be a good sign. I'm lavishing him with even more attention than usual and he enjoys it as his due. When I'm here at my desk and he's lounging in his apartment [cat carrier] beside me, we exchange looks when we hear the kitten crying. 

"It's crying again. What should we do?" I ask him.

"Don't look at me. I'm not allowed in there. This must be what purdah is like," he responds, crossing his paws and turning away. So I get up and see to the kitten, wondering how Possum learned what "purdah" is.

Possum and Wendy have polar-opposite views of life and it's been instructive for me to see how they react to the same situations in the same environment. Possum believes the world is his oyster. To him, the glass is always at least half full, of something delicious. He trusts us, and welcomes anything new that we offer him as Likely to Be Good. 

Wendy is the worrier, convinced that something bad is always about to happen to her. She has been wrong 99.9% of the time (there were those ringworm baths and bad-tasting medications three years ago). But she thinks she's under siege almost all the time. For her, the glass is at least half empty, and the liquid is Poison. Why she's even refusing her favorite treats, like turkey breast, these days is beyond me, but it's typical of her to be skittish of everything. I don't think she was traumatized before she went to her foster home as a kitten; I might be wrong. She's been nurtured and loved since she was about eight weeks old, so I believe it's just be her nature. I know people like her, after all.

We all have choices. For much of my life, I was like Wendy, too worried about the future to enjoy the moment. Invariably, I was a nervous wreck over nothing. Now I try to be more like Possum, who is no fool, but chooses to dwell on good things rather than bad. Life is so much easier for the Possums of the world. They know that bad things eventually do happen, but until then, why put a damper on the good times?

What will the new kitten be like? So far, it looks like the glass will seem overflowing to him, and it's full of the feline equivalent of a chocolate malted milkshake. We're still working on his name....

1 comment:

K said...

Hi -- just stumbled across your blog from links via Facebook and Covered in Cat Hair. Congrats on the new kitten!

I had to comment because:
(1) I'm a fellow Bostonian (well, Somerville-ian) and cat lover. And I may have a cat crush on Possum. My (pleasantly plump) boy cat loves to let it all hang out as well. He's also on a diet.

(2) Your writing -- especially about your cats -- is great. Love Wendy's list of complaints about "Evil Mom." Hilarious.

(3) My heart skipped a beat when I saw your post linking to Beau, a former visitor at the ARL in Boston. Small world! I'm a volunteer there and he was one of my all-time favorites. It was all I could do to not take him home with me. (And I really don't have a problem with wanting to take them all home.) I think you would have loved him, but his adoptive family seemed great. I don't know if we met, but I was there when he was adopted and I was thrilled he was getting so many looks. Some of the older cats stay a while.

Best of luck with integrating the new addition. I think Wendy will come around. I'll be back to read about it!