Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hissin' in the Pit

I've subjected numerous people to what my family affectionately calls 'Pete Hill jokes' over the years. All I remember to another one is the punchline 'hissin' in the pit' and something about baby snakes. *shrug* One day it'll come to me.

In the meantime, this phrase was running through my head yesterday as I watched my Sophia react to the presence of another four-footed furry one. I've been debating with myself about this since a bit before Memorial Day. My mom's cat had 6 kittens. She's keeping one, my brother is taking one to entertain his cat and she's looking for homes for the rest. [Want a kitty??]

My poor Sophia spends a lot of time alone, and I've considered getting another cat for a while. She was also the only cat in a cage at the shelter, and she had that bright orange caution sticker. I just have never determined whether that sticker was for people or other pets.

When my brother lived near my parents' house, I would stay with him over the holidays. I would also bring Sophia with me. His cat, Hammie, is an affectionate but timid Russian Blue. Hammie (short for hammerhead, as his friendly head-butts to the backs of your knees can send you flying) is a sack o' sand cat. Anything you want to do to him is okay by him. He is one of those cats that you hear about, that you can dress up in baby clothes and haul them around like luggage. One thing: Hammie LOVES other kitties. They aren't ever as fond of him, but he certainly tries. Think here of Peppy La Pew and his frantic cat girlfriend.

One of the funniest things I've ever seen was near Christmas a couple of years ago, while Sophia and I were at my brother's. I was cross-stitching. My cat has a string/thread fetish. Sophia was utterly intent upon my needle and thread, and the tip of her tail was twitching. Hammie was utterly intent on the tip of Sophia's tail. He came slinking along the couch, stalk stalk stalk and then POUNCE! onto her tail. My cat jumped several feet into the air, hissed like a dragon and took off running, with Hammie in hot pursuit. Poor baby - it makes me laugh just thinking about it.

At any rate, I went home for the fourth of July and was captivated by the little balls o' fuzz. So captivated, in fact, that when I returned to the Chicago area last Wednesday, I brought along a small passenger. The road trip wasn't nearly as bad as I feared - the kitten spent most of the time sprawled bonelessly across my lap, dreaming kitten dreams. I also hauled back some of my furniture, so I had a fair bit of unloading to do.

My first trip into the house, I deposited the kitten in the spare room and shut the door. Then I grabbed my cat, stuffed her in my bedroom and shut the door. This way, I could leave the sliding glass door open while I unloaded without fear of feline escape. It didn't take Sophia long at all to start complaining about her captivity, and she was in mid-yowl when the kitten also voiced her displeasure at being detained. (She has an impressive lung capacity for one so small.) Sophia's yowl died mid-stream, and she was suddenly a very quiet kitty. After I finished unloading, I freed her, and she immediately glued herself to the spare room door.

*sniff, sniff* Indignant look at me - one that clearly says, "What the hell have you done?!?" *sniff, sniff* *mutter, growl*

I scooped her up, went into the spare room, shutting the door behind me, and plopped down on the floor with my Sophia in my lap. The kitten came bounding over (as much as she could - coordination is still something of an issue), thrilled to find another cat here in the wilderness. Sophia quickly disabused her of that notion. My baby turned into a hissing, snarling demon.

So far, Sophia has been dealing with the issue by sticking to the high road. By that I mean that she's been living on top of all the furniture, and hissing anytime the kitten passes below her. The kitten resides in the spare room while I'm at work, and at night. I'll give Sophia a couple of weeks to adjust, but I'm trying hard not to get too attached to the kitten, just in case things don't work out. I already miss my Sophia - I'm on the shit list for now. Wish me luck with the adjustment period!

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