Edgar was turning into a real pain in the ass. Phil was at work all night and I was busy during the day, so he had no one to play with and was getting bored. He was meowing at shelves, getting on the counter, eating more hair-ties than usual, and being an all-around pest.
He needed a buddy.
Gavin and Monique’s cat, Eartha, had popped out another litter and I went over to look at them. There were only two kittens this time--both with white bellies and feet—and I decided on the one with the white mustache. We set a date for me to take the kitten home and that was that.
I already had a name for her: Elephi. It’s from a children’s book of the same name by Jean Stafford about a cat who is bored and lonely. I thought it would be a suitable name for a cat whose sole purpose was to keep the other cat busy.
So, one Saturday afternoon, I went and picked up the kitten from the Gavin/Monique collective and took her straight to the vet’s. I had already made the appointment in advance: basic shots, de-worm, de-mite, get something for fleas, all that good stuff.
And that kitten howled in the car on the way over there. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a howler in the car. Edgar doesn’t make a lot of noise when he’s riding around. We just put him in his harness and he rides on the floorboard of the passenger seat. He’s very well behaved in public because he’s too damn scared to act out. Elephi, on the other hand, deals with fear differently. Namely, by jumping out of the milk-crate and wandering around inside the car making a ruckus. She calmed down by the time we got to the vet’s, so transporting her from the car to the office was a snap, but she started up again on the ride back.
And apparently, no one at the vet’s had ever seen a kitten that young before. Everyone who saw her talked about how cute she was, and what a little sweetie she was, and all that. Elephi took it in stride, for a kitten, but it started to get on my nerves after a bit. I mean, they take the kitten’s temperature and all four legs spin up like they were on gears. "Oh, what a sweet little cry," the vet said. What a sweet little cry, indeed. That little kitty’s never been outside the apartment she was born in and on her first trip out, she’s violated by a cold glass tube. I can’t blame her for crying out.
I bet grays don’t sit around saying "What a sweet little cry," when they probe humans.
Then I had to take Elephi back over to Gavin and Monique’s because I had a game going on over at my place and I didn’t want to put that much stress on Edgar. He was having enough trouble with an apartment full of people and I didn’t want to aggravate the situation with a kitten. I would just bring her over after everyone left.
Which was for the best, considering how he first reacted to her.
The first 24-hours were spent growling and hissing and taking swats at humans. Elephi was taking this time to catch up on a lot of sleeping. It had been a pretty exciting day for her—with the trip to the vet’s and the three car rides—now she was in a strange environment with a big angry retarded kid.
At one point, Elephi ran under our computer kiosk and Edgar took a swing at her. Now, he’s a 16-lb cat and he never had to hit anything with any sort of accuracy—just people. But Elephi got a huge AC bonus due to her small size, so when Edgar took a swing at her, he missed and hit one of the crossbeams for the kiosk. There was a loud "BONG" and Elephi came dashing out with Edgar limping afterwards.
The next day, Edgar actually managed to get a hit in on her. If he had hit her sideways, she would have flown across the room; but as it turns out, he just smacked her down two inches rather quickly. I think he knocked the wind out of her because she just lay there for a bit, staring around the room but not moving. Edgar has never hit something small that mattered, and he honestly looked surprised when she hit the ground. She came out of it okay, and was looking around for Edgar, but Phil had already chased him into the bathroom for being a bully.
By the next day Edgar was giving Elephi a bath. They were playing together (sometimes a little too rough for her) and they could eat side-by-side without incident for the most part.
Sometimes Edgar will do things to piss her off…and I know he’s doing them on purpose; you can see it in his eyes. For example, we originally had Elephi’s food bowl on the floor and Edgar’s on his bathroom counter because she was too small to jump up there. This wasn’t much of a problem, except that Edgar was proving himself to be lazy and was eating her food. One morning, Phil and I were lying in bed and we heard this awful commotion from downstairs. Phil went to "check on the kids" and it turned out Edgar has his face buried in Elephi’s bowl and she was bitching about it. Well, she was wrapped around his head, kicking his shoulder and chewing on his ear while howling. I consider that bitching.
Or there was the time Elephi discovered sunlight. I guess she had never seen it at Gavin and Monique’s, but she found a patch of it while running around in the living room one morning and started rolling around in it—complete abandon. Edgar came by and saw this, made a little huff, and then jumped into the window. Then, while watching her, stretched until his shadow covered her. She stopped playing and mewed at him. He huffed again and jumped out of the window.
She’s so little. She’s only a two-pound kitten and Edgar is a sixteen-pound cat. It really shows when the two of them start playing "Morpheus and Neo", a game of their own invention where Elephi jumps into the air—aimed at Edgar’s head—and he bats her out of the air. Most of their wrestling matches start with her jumping at his head.
He’s already trying to teach her all the things he knows he’s not supposed to do. This includes:
Which I trained her to not do by locking her in the bathroom for five minutes after catching her in the act. Time-out would never work with Edgar because he lived in a parking lot by himself for a few weeks. But a time-out like that really means something to Elephi because she’s never been on her own. There have always been cats or humans around for her to interact with, so taking that away is a punishment she remembers.
Case in point, Edgar was playing with a cardboard box and got underneath it like a turtle. He doesn’t care if he’s under a box or a sheet or locked in a closet—it usually means he’s going to go to sleep. But Elephi started to panic because she couldn’t see Edgar. She jumped up on the box, clawed at the box, and tried to push the box over with her head. She was desperate to get him out of the box. Eventually, she just curled up next to it, mewing rather helplessly, until Edgar came back out from under it. She was so relieved to see him, she started bathing his head and purring.
Maybe he was testing her—who knows?
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