Andy and I both grew up in two-cat homes. I know the structure of the American family unit is shifting, but we are traditionalists. We’re proud of our values, and we don’t care who knows it. This summer, it was time to put our money where our mouths are.
As soon as we saw this face at our local SPCA shelter, we knew he was the missing piece to our family puzzle.
We call him Rupert, after Rupert Giles and because having two cats with fussy British names is pretty funny.
The integration has been essentially painless. It wasn’t love at first sight, but Sebastian is tolerant and gentle toward his new brother. Rupert, on the other hand, adores Sebastian with unbridled enthusiasm. He stays locked in our office when we aren’t home and during the night. When he is let out of his room, he rushes straight to Sebastian and throws his tiny arms around his big brother. It has only been a few days and Sebastian is still alternately bewildered and curious, but he is teetering on the edge of acceptance. Mostly, I’ve been amazed at his generosity. He isn’t going to scoot over, but he’ll let Rupert join him on the window sill. Luckily, the kitten doesn’t take up much room.
Rupert is as good-natured as his older brother, and they’re already very good at reading each other’s cues. They wrestle and tumble, but when either of them needs a break, the other one walks away. I’m sure as Rupert grows, playtime will get less gentle. Right now, Sebastian seems to be taking real care not to hurt Rupert. It’s very sweet. This encounter was far softer than it looks.
We didn’t intend to get such a tiny kitten, but the heart acts without regard for the head’s intentions. Rupert is only two months old, and the size difference is such that Sebastian could hurt Rupert without meaning to so we don’t leave them alone together. Rupert is a good eater, though, and he’ll be bigger in no time.
It’s only Tuesday, and outside my house, it has already been a crazy week. There is turmoil all over the place. Under normal circumstances, my instinct would be to hole up here and shut out the rest of the world. Under these circumstances, that impulse is even stronger. It’s late morning, and all three of us are in the bedroom. The cats are playing. Sometimes they run across the bed, right over my legs as if I’m not even here. The sound of their scuffling legs is the background music I’ve been dreaming of. I can’t believe my good fortune. I have the smug, self-satisfied grin of someone whose plans are succeeding beyond her wildest dreams.