The cats are at it again. One moment you think you’ve finally figured them out and then they go and change everything. Or in this case, they’ve redefined boundaries. Now, it didn’t happen overnight and certainly not all of a sudden, yet it seems as if from one day to the other the Brothers have done some hatchet-burying and engaged in a bit of sibling-bonding. At least they don’t try to murder each other anymore when one comes within clawing distance of the others. We even caught them napping together ! Well, sort of. Close anyway. Nose-to-butt close at least. Brusque moves are still a big no-no and heavily frowned (and raked) upon, but we dare to hope they might one day meet up and won’t start a claw-fest on the spot.
The relationship between the two Brothers has always been a rather thorny one. Loup-Garou may have initiated tentative ouvertures towards Zorro when both were but kitlings, but after 9 years of suffering he has learned well enough to leave his bro’ to his evil devices. Zorro has always gravitated towards the tender care and undying friendship of Critter the Dog anyway. But when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge last year he was at a loss. Literally. Having lost his staunch ally, his shoulder to cry on, his soft and warm buddy to lean to, the hapless tuxedo-tom floundered in a veritable sea of emptiness and loneliness and his mourning threw him into the deepest depression I’ve ever had the distinct displeasure to witness.
But then Bean Sidhe happened. The Kitten From Hell is the über-socializer of the House of Chaos and has never ceased his efforts to get that big ol’ putty-tat to ease up on the inter-feline détente. Bereft of his surrogate mom old mean Zorro has no choice now but to seek solace elsewhere and our chubby cheerful coonie-mix has taken it upon his little furry shoulders to help the old grouch develop a more kind and genteel disposition. That doesn’t mean Zorro isn’t struggling with it however, but you can see him trying. At least Bean Sidhe is the only feline to my knowledge who has never been attacked by Zorro. Apart from the odd swipe maybe, but with “attack” I meant “open wounds, blood squirting if not running, a shivering wreck cowering in a corner”. None of that has happened with little sweet Bannikins yet and we have high expectations of his apparent ability to avoid Zorro’s claw-fest tendencies.
Nevertheless, you can imagine my shock and initial bout of disbelief when I observed Zorro sitting on the sisal mat next to the feeding bowls (that mat tends to migrate from the workshop to the living-room to the kitchen and back and is currently located at the feeding bowls) when Bean Sidhe sauntered over for a quiet snack and smack! planted his rather formidable behind squarely on… Zorro’s slightly less-substantial behind. Tails entwined. Backs itched. But neither feline budged so much as a hair and stoically sat there: one munching blissfully, the other staring moodily off in the distance. Had Loup-Garou done the dastardly deed the living-room would have been too small, the kitchen too. It would have been messy. But with sweet chubby Bannikins anything goes and apparently so did Zorro’s usually explosive temper. Not even a claw was hinted at. It was a marvel to behold, and a memory to treasure for telling the great-grandkids on long cold dark winter nights to come.
But yes, the times they are a-changin’. Somehow Loup-Garou and Zorro have managed to hammer out a co-existence that does no longer involve the fine art of kin-slaying. These days one can be regaled at the sight of two black-haired felines softly snoring in unison and in touching distance to boot. When they meet somewhere in the House of Chaos no longer is it “out come the talons and up goes the hair” but “wearily the antagonists observe each other from over the Iron Curtain”. A careful sniff is enacted prior to the twain disbanding again with tails held high in supreme disdain for the other. And when food is doled out we no longer have to watch out for the twofold 16-taloned buzz-saw, but just the press of lithe feline bodies trying to push each other out of the bowls.
Yet… Traces of his old grumpy self doth linger in Zorro’s nature. One can quietly observe a Loup-Garou blissfully soaking up the sun while enjoying a peaceful nap in the veranda and behold a Zorro sneaking by, reaching out with a tentative paw, and then rake his brother good and well with one swift hacking swipe before dashing off to the garden in pursuit of mischief there. Zorro is still very fond of practical jokes, the kind of jokes that end up with the first-aid-box being needed, but at least he doesn’t want to see dead bodies. No. Not killing your dearly beloved brother ensures much more fun to be had in the future, when you can repeat your cruel sibling-bashing to your heart’s content. You see… siblings can’t run away from you. They’re family.