Limited Engagement

As I pitch about for topics, I notice my cat Cowboy, entranced with the space beneath the bathroom door. Why? Then I realize there’s another paw creeping toward him from the darkness. These cats are playing footsies.

The cat snaking her paw from the dark of the bathroom is my son’s cat, beckoning my very-much-indoor cat to engage. Jeff, the recent émigré from New Orleans, is a feisty feline, used to the rough-and-tumble city life. Her parents are settling in a more rural spot, but for her this bodes badly: coyotes, cougars, birds of prey that could make a quick snack of this newcomer. Her roaming days abruptly curtailed, she’s not happy.

These two have had their loud and brief confrontations in the nocturnal space between heavy napping, more bluster than substance, yowls and some showy pussy-footing around. The cacophony of two cats facing off, defending their turf, can rouse the deepest sleeper; it sounds much worse than it actually is.

Now all paws are still and retracted; the cats have retired to their respective corners. In this detente, I see only one side (though I’m cheering for both to become buddies eventually—extended paws seem like a good start!). I watch my patient critter sitting on the door mat, eyes firmly fixed on the narrow rectangle of black beneath the door, waiting for another round of engagement.

I’m hoping for, at the very least, benign indifference—a peaceful coexistence.

6 thoughts on “Limited Engagement”

  1. It is interesting to watch as two cats become acquainted. Who bill come out as dominant and who will be submissive? Will the pecking order change depending on circumstances? I can just imaging how hard hard it would be for a roamer to now be confined.

  2. I like your description of the the ongoing face off and do hope it will become more amicable. It must be very hard for the incoming cat who’s been used to more freedom to now be contained and hope he can adjust accordingly. Cats will always do their own thing and be unpredictable!

  3. I have a house full of former roamers, and lots of playtime plus windows to watch (and if possible a screened porch!) have helped them adjust. Such strong word choice throughout this slice–I especially loved detente and benign indifference.

  4. Thanks for the language observation—I was framing this as a strategic, almost-military encounter. I know you love cats, so…

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