June 10, 2009 § Leave a comment
The little one is more at home now. She trots like a puppy, pokes her pointed head into my hand, sleeks her weasel body down low under my caress. Her fur is softer and shinier; she’s eating well. Her belly is taut and warm. Her motor thrums.
It makes Fitzroy angry. He stalks off to lie on the floor at a distance. I can’t blame him. It’s when he seems to forget the new regime and comes to me in the old way, eyes soft with cat-love and I receive him with delight, stroke the white feathery triangle under his chin and tell him he’s the most beautiful of cats, my best-beloved, that she eagerly arrives, purr already louder than his, to demand more than her share.
She’s a classic younger sister. The pair reminds me of my nieces. (I could say, my sister and myself, but I was a child then and saw things differently.) He certainly abuses her enough to fuel any kind of sibling war, pounding after her and heaving his bulk upon her scrap of a body, attempting impossible mating. It’s not clear if she knows what he’s after. It’s easy to see now that feminist attempts to either separate or conflate sex and aggression are hopeless.
She yowls and wails. She hisses like a snake. She steals his windowsill, his food, his place in my heart. No, not the last. But I can understand that he’d see it that way. I can understand how it might make itself true, if he continues to chill. I worry that I should have stopped at one, kept up that unbalanced romance, at the price of his loneliness.
Since I got him to ease my own loneliness, which had moved far into the red zone, to the place where sanity begins to melt like a soft metal, I couldn’t ignore his. The danger of anthropomorphism has always seemed to me less than the danger of using an animal as an object, paying no attention to obvious signs of distress.
He’s not lonely now, just angry. Dissatisfied in a different way. When she wreathes around my hand, having successfully evicted him from my bed, he hunches over the dry food bowl, crunching the chicken-lamb-rice-dried beet pulp morsels.
All his body language is different. His tail smacks the floor; he walks away when I caress him. I never see him perched on the top of the couch—in plain sight, in the middle of things, Cat to my Woman. Now he’s a just a cat. There are millions of them.
When I came home the other night and he was amorous in the old way, rubbing his cheeks against me and gently biting my chin, and she was nowhere in sight and didn’t appear, which is unusual, and this went on for awhile, I wondered if he’d killed her. Then I wondered how I’d feel if he had.
My passion surged darkly. I’d forgive him. He’s my firstborn.
Philip was shocked when I told him this. But Philip was too squeamish to read Sophie’s Choice. And in truth I’d be very disturbed if Fitzroy killed Mouchette. It’s out of character. He hasn’t hurt her. All he wants is to be dominant.
But she’s a wildling.