The Daughter Chronicles

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Norah and Zoe

We have had our cat, Zoe, for about eight years. We have had our other cat, Smokey, for about six. When Mia was born, many people told us we had to get rid of the cats. The reasons ranged from "allergies" to "the cat will fall asleep on the baby's head" to "the cat will be entranced by the baby's pulse in her neck and will attack it!" (that's my favorite; it comes from Krys's grandmother, who is the very definition of an old wife). We said we would keep our cats, thank you very much, and just make sure to watch the kid around them. Smokey is very easy-going, and allows Mia to pet him and even tug on his tail (although whenever she does that, we're quick to stop her), but Zoe is a different matter. Zoe is high-strung and weirdly affectionate, in that she likes to come up to you, rub your leg (she's doing it as I type this!), and sit next to you and allow you to pet her (she is, after all, the Queen). If you pet her too long (and no one knows exactly how "too long" is, because it's based on her fancy - the Queen, remember?), however, she grabs you with her claws or bites you. The bites aren't bad - they're more like nips - but the claws are nasty and can give you some nice scratches. So we have, more or less, kept Mia and her wildly grasping hands away from Zoe, and for her part, Zoe has pretty much stayed away from the crazy thing who is always flailing at her. Zoe did claw Mia once, but recently, all has been well.

Now there's Norah, and we have to go through the whole thing again. Unfortunately, Zoe seems more affectionate than usual over the past few months. We're sure it's because there are now TWO crying things to vie for attention from the humans, so she's trying to get her share. This makes it more difficult to keep her away from Norah, however, because she always seems to be lurking.

Zoe's latest thing is to jump up on the arm of the chair I sit in and lie down. She then does a half-roll so that she is rubbing against my arm. This is very cute and I pet her when I don't have a kid, but these days, one kid or another is my usual accessory, so then I ignore her. She also likes to check things out when Krys is sitting on the sofa with one kid or another. So a few days ago Krys was sitting with Norah on the sofa, and Zoe got on her back legs and peered up at them from the floor. Without warning, she reached out and swatted Norah, breaking skin and drawing blood. It's unusual for her to do something like that if people are ignoring her, but that day she was just pissy, I guess. Norah, unsurprisingly, freaked out. Krys had to put a band-aid on her. The next day I was holding Norah in my chair, and Zoe was on the arm. She appeared to be cat-napping, but when I moved Norah onto my knee to chat with her (she likes chatting), Zoe took another swipe at her. This was less severe, and I was able to keep Norah from crying (she got "the pout" look on her face, but I smiled and laughed and bounced her a bit, and she quickly recovered). We're trying to keep Zoe away from Norah, but she's getting more brazen.

We have no plans to get rid of Zoe, but we have told her many times that she really shouldn't make us choose between the kids and her. Yes, whenever the roving band of gypsies comes through town we think about selling one or both of the kids to them, but it's more of a wistful desire. So now we have to be doubly diligent and kick Zoe off the arm of the chair if we sit down with a kid, or push her off the sofa, or just generally be pains in the butt with her. Soon Norah will be able to grab Zoe, and then the fun will really begin. We don't have two kids, we have four. And they're all terribly immature.

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