Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The cat's paw

The cat was pretty damn horrified when we brought the Boy home.

I, to be fair, wasn't great with the cat. I had promised myself and her that I'd still have time to rub her tummy every day, and this didn't work. At all.

But, over time, the family dynamic has readjusted itself. The cat knows exactly how fascinating she is to the Boy, and used to sit just out of his reach, or dart past him. He'd try to grab her and would sometimes laugh and her in delight as she walked in front of him.

Ah, but the rules change all the time. The Boy can now crawl forward... which means the cat is going through another rapid period of readjustment.

The worst time for her was probably the very first time the Boy crawled - he made a beeline for her basket, then picked it up and waved it around. She'd been trying to hide behind it and was clearly appalled by this new and unexpected development. So, for most of the past week, whenever the Boy has begun to maraud around the flat, the cat has made herself scarce.

She seems to have gotten the hang of things over the past couple of days, though, and now actively courts the Boy's attention. Today, she sat of the table, easily within reach. As the Boy tried to grab her, she gently batted his hand with her paw, and he giggled. They both seemed to be enjoying the game.

Then, he grabbed her tail and she must have pushed him less gently on the forehead. He looked startled and let out a couple of sobs, but the cat kept her claws sheathed and there was no harm done (the whole incident from tail pull to paw push was so rapid that my husband, who was right next to them, couldn't react quick enough to move the Boy away).

The only other time he's managed to pull her tail before we or she stopped him, the cat hissed at the Boy. And he immediately stopped and burst into tears; her wrath is evidently worse than ours. I did wonder how he automatically knew the cat was angry and that he should be frightened, as she'd never shown any real signs of irritation at him before that, but I guess it must be instinctive, somehow. I also wonder how the cat knows not to hurt him; I have a feeling I'd be treated much less gently if I grabbed her tail!

I did feel bad for the cat at first, and the pair of them are going to need close supervision as, although the cat has been amazingly patient so far, I don't want either of them to hurt each other. As he grows, it's lovely to see them developing their own relationship; hopefully the Boy will stop showing his affection by grabbing, and he'll entertain the cat as much as she entertains him.