What’s beef?

01.05.05 | Comment?

My sister recently began working as a flight attendant, and when she left home, her cat remained there with our parents. After the holiday visit, my husband and I, along with Chief*, brought Kiddn five hours south to live with us. Fortunately both pets are seasoned travelers, and the 300-mile journey was uneventful.

Upon her arrival, Guinevere “Kiddn” Motley scoped out her new digs, finding solace in a few familiar pieces of furniture from my parents’ house and from our house in college. Then she met Sophie.

Sophie is, without question, the sweetest cat I’ve ever known. She cuddles in our laps, grooms our hair while we sleep, and purrs profusely whenever we’re near. But when she saw the intruding white fluffball, out came the claws. Hissing, spitting, growling – this was not our precious little princess. Her castle had been invaded, and hell hath no fury like this kitty scorned.

This was a clashing of worlds. Kiddn is a ripe ten years old; Sophie is a mere ten months. Kiddn is part manx, pure white with a bobtail; Sophie is what Joel’s Mom calls a “tabico” – part tabby, part calico. Sophie has spent the last two months indoors, and perhaps she could sense Kiddn’s street smarts by the divots in her ears. The face-off began.

Chief stood by, mouth full of tennis ball, oblivious to all except his desire to play fetch.

They’re fair fights – both cats have their claws, and while Sophie has youth on her side, Kiddn is a spectacular hunter. They have only come to blows a handful of times, and I’ve seen just one episode of actual fur-flying. Most of it is just smack-talking and intense staring.

Tonight my husband and I watched as they gave each other the evil eye across our bedroom. His observation: “They’re like women. There can only be one.” Not only are they catty (please forgive the obvious pun) to each other, but each is campaigning for our exclusive affections. We keep telling them, and I’m sure they understand, that each is beautiful and loved, and each will be fed and have a comfortable home for as long as possible. And they have the opportunity to make it harmonious as well. Perhaps they could bond over shared distaste of Chief’s frequent “drive-by lickings” as my Dad calls them. Whatever it takes, I hope they choose to like each other, because having a sister is the best.

Tomorrow marks a week since Kiddn joined our happy family, and I have complete confidence that eventually she and Sophie will be friends. As with every change, there will be a period of adjustment. In the meantime, there is plenty of space for them to be in their own corners.

Kiddn, Chief, and Sophie

*For those of you who may not know, Chieftain Licky is our three-year-old, 100-pound yellow lab mix who loves car trips, as long as there is a tennis ball in tow.

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