May 17th, 2014


Cat dynamics

So, some of you may be wondering how Miette and Bella are getting on, particularly in the years since Yitzak died. The answer is "Well enough, I guess."

In the weeks immediately following Yitzak's death, Bella needed a LOT of comforting snuggles. She would spend a lot of time cuddling with me, and Miette, normally very jealous of her Flewtime, would give Bella all the space she needed. Also, she would sometimes snuggle Bella herself, which I had never seen her do before.

But, that did not last. Since then, they have settled into a more typical level of affection for their prior relationship, which is to say, none whatsoever. You're familiar with the "love/hate relationship"? This is more of a "tolerate/hate relationship".

Normally, Miette will growl whenever Bella gets too close to her. What defines "too close" depends on the vagaries of Miette's mood, and can vary between "a few inches" and "in the same room or even in view at all". What defines Miette's mood depends on how much sleep she's had, where she is sitting, whether or not she is eating or using the litter box, the time of day, phase of the moon, tidal forces from Jupiter, and the current air pressure inside Miette's skull.

Bella, for her part, is not intimidated by Miette, but generally gives her her space out of, well, if not respect, at least a lack of desire to deal with her growly, whiny fussing. Usually, if this means Miette chases Bella away from me so that she can take over snuggling duties, Bella just leaves; sometimes, however, Bella gets tired of it, bites Miette on the ass, and then runs away as Miette furiously chases after her, hissing and growling. I imagine Bella making the Curly Howard "whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop!" noise as she runs off.

Every so often, though, something will get into Miette's head (probably dust) that convinces her to be nice, and I will find the two of them cuddling together. Usually this happens when I wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and find them curled up together on the couch.

While adorable, this never ends well. Inevitably, what will happen is this: Bella will decide "We snuggled, this means we are friends now, this means we can PLAAAAAAY!" She will then gleefully pounce on Miette. Miette, who does not do "play" or "roughhousing" or "movement in general", will interpret this as an attack and engage in furious howling and hissing, and then run away as fast as she can. The end result will be Bella looking very confused and slightly sad, and Miette hunching over in a corner defensively with a "DON'T YOU FUCKING TOUCH ME!" look on her face.

On the bright side, they don't try to injure each other, and they share food and space willingly enough, as long as they're separated from each other. So it's usually a kind of uneasy detente, much like the Cold War, but with less nuclear weapons and slightly more hissing.