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Meeting


With a waggle of its stubby tail and a few hops, the four-week-old kitten skidded its way along the large windows in the living room, absorbing the sunlight and warmth and atmosphere of its new family in its new home.

She shook with fear for about 10 minutes, reacting to every heavy footstep of the five of us gathered to watch her first venture into cohabitation. The Orioles game blared from the large television at the other end of the room, and every crack of the bat sent her tiny, 13.8-ounce body into new sets of frightened shakes.

I rescued Storm, literally, from a storm drain outside the McDonald's in my town. One of the managers and I pulled the grate off, and I grabbed her, right there, from the hole in the middle of the busy intersection. After a visit to the vet, a small dose of flea/lice medicine, a few days of rest and recovery in my room and a few bouts of unsuccessful protests on my part against my parents, Storm skipped and scooted with nervous energy across the living room on her maiden voyage through our house.

Aside from my mom, my dad, and my two younger brothers, another pair of eyes watched from the shadows behind a chair parked in the corner of the room.The eyes belonged to Ruby, our 10-year-old cat, the spoiled-rotten jewel of the family.

Ruby's been the ideal cat for us for a decade. She's had worms and acne. Her claws sport calluses, and most of her teeth had fallen out. But she's as loved and adored and revered as any cat has ever been or could ever be.

This afternoon, though, that charmed life saw an unexpected specter dancing its way along the windows.

Storm's dance carried her to the newspaper basket. She peeked her head around the basket, through the blinds and saw the mass of fur resting in the shadows.

The kitten unleashed a sound akin to a hydraulic contraption, a sharp brief hiss as she bolted backward. Storm, still trembling, retreated toward me, racing around my body and behind my back, seeking protection.

And then Ruby emerged.

It was a slow, clumsy amble from the shadows. The giant white cat with black spots looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man strolling through New York City in "Ghostbusters" or a curious T-Rex slinking out of its pen in "Jurassic Park."

She continued toward the 13.8 ounces of trembling fur behind me.

Ruby's slow, deliberate walk toward the kitten ended about a foot from the tiny ball. Storm poked her head toward the massive, 16-pound monster. Ruby nudged her nose, in curiosity, toward the invasive species. For a few seconds, they just smelled each other. They smelled at each other.

And then, the growl.

It wasn't a deep, threatening growl. It was a slow, curdling and slightly high-pitched drone that sank toward the end. Ruby put herself on the floor, paws stretched out in front of her, and a fattening tail springing out behind, lying parallel to the floor.

"RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR."

Storm skittered to her right, beckoning another growl form the queen of the house.

"RRRRRRRRROOOWWWWWWWWWW."

Another three or four growls chased the tiny kitten into the two inches between the carpet and the bottom of the sofa. She poked her head out as Ruby continued the growling.

Eventually, they settled down. Ruby went back into the shadows behind the chair. Storm, settling into relative comfort, chased some toys around before passing out on the chair.

The four-week-old, 13.8-ounce kitten slept against the arm of the chair, and the 10-year-old, 16-pound cat curled up in the shadows behind a leg of the same chair. Each forgot about the other's existence as they dozed off in the family room, worlds apart, yet somehow together as my mom, my dad, my brothers and I looked on.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
felixwas
Jun. 10th, 2013 06:10 pm (UTC)
That's going to be a heck of an adjustment for Ruby. Here's hoping the young one develops enough moxie to live with her big sister.

After we'd had our first cat for several years, its original owner called to see if we knew anyone who might be willing to take in one of our cat's sons. We volunteered: Mother, son, how tough could it be?

Well, mom turned into a bee-yotch once we brought her son home. He could simply be walking past her, minding his own business, and she'd reach out and cuff him. She used to chase him all over the house to pick fights, going so far as to not let him out of the litter box. They live in their own little worlds. Storm is lucky you found her.
theoldsport
Jun. 10th, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks. We always hypothesized that Ruby would welcome another animal in the house, but like you said, they're in their own little world. We had an older cat when Ruby jumped on the scene, but when the count was reduced to one, my dad vowed never to get another until something happened to Ruby ... until he saw the marble eyes of a three-week-old.

Finding and taking Storm home was quite a day, and it's going to turn into a great short story when I have an afternoon to sit and write it.</p>

Until now, though, I'm watching awkward stare downs and two frightened felines pretending the other doesn't exist. Also, I can't wait to hear more about your little ones.

callioperato
Jun. 10th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
"The giant white cat with black spots looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man strolling through New York City in 'Ghostbusters' or a curious T-Rex slinking out of its pen in 'Jurassic Park.'"

Soooo... you're saying Ruby's fat?
theoldsport
Jun. 11th, 2013 11:39 pm (UTC)
It's called poetic license. Gosh!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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