On the day we brought Baby home, the cats met us at the door. They were partially curious about the screaming creature who could be heard from outside, but mostly hungry from eating every last crunchy nugget left out by the cat-sitter and anxious to have their bowls refilled.
While the cats tried to understand what it was that we brought into their previously harmonious sanctuary, Baby continued to wail. It was no wonder as to the reason for his displeasure, he had just encountered the coldest and most blustery day of winter and was only three days old. It was a cruel change from his most recent very warm and cozy living situation of the last nine months.
His tiny, still wrinkled face was red as he continued to express his disappointment with the world as a whole. I felt mostly responsible being the one who grew him, only to evict him in the middle of an Indiana winter. Sorry baby Hoosier, it won’t get much better for a few months, I thought.
Meanwhile, the older cat quickly figured out what was happening, she was being replaced, yet again. She hissed at us with yellow teeth before making her retreat into a secret, not-so-secret, hiding place under an overstuffed chair. This left the younger cat, a fat tiger girl, alone to fight or flee from the new foe.
She incorrectly opted to fight and stand her ground. This was her first go around with Replacement and it was as painful and confusing as anything else experienced up that point of her four years. Hissing and baring her strong white teeth, she tensed her 14-pound body, ready to attack. She was not about to welcome the mostly hairless and screaming creature into her home, let alone allow it to stay.
Unfortunately, this caused Baby to wail even louder. His screams reached a new level that was surely audible throughout the hood, which also happened to be at the perfect pitch to level the cat’s ears back flat before sending her into hiding, next to the older cat under the chair. The two were unified at last with trembling whiskers and broken hearts.