When I first started dating Nick, I completely wrote off any chance of it going anywhere. It had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn’t particularly interested in a long-term relationship. Nor did it have anything to do with Nick telling me that he was not interested in being my boyfriend and had no plans of ever being anyone’s boyfriend ever again.
Nope, I never even got around to worrying about those things, because Nick was allergic to cats. He couldn’t spend more than a couple hours in my apartment before his eyes started watering and he was having difficulty breathing. That was pretty much a deal breaker.
But much like our relationship sneaked up on us gradually after months of spending increasing amounts of time together, Nick’s allergies slowly diminished. Suddenly he was able to spend entire weekends at my place without problem. Exposure to Bailey and his constantly shedding fur cured Nick of his cat allergies. And it was good timing because it was around then that Nick and I finally admitted that if we were seeing each other every single night and everyone already assumed we were in a relationship that we might as well go along with it.
Almost four years later, here we are: less than a month away from being married and living with my – now our – cat Bailey, who Nick affectionately refers to as “Mr. B” or “B Cat.” Nick has made up a voice for B and frequently shares with me the conversations they have when I’m not around. They usually involve philosophy and mixing up words like pterodactyl and polydactyl. Bailey has discovered that Nick is a much lighter sleeper than I am at 4 in the morning, and therefore an easier target for getting an early breakfast. (I guess not having testicles, and consequently not worrying about a 13-pound cat jumping on your testicles, has some advantages.)
We’d talked from time to time about bringing another cat home, but always decided to put it off. Somehow a second cat seemed to make our 2- (really, 1.5-) bedroom apartment go from being cozy to cramped. And Bailey has some special needs; he’s temperamental (even for a cat) and deals with change by peeing on things. Having grown up in a household where a third cat resulted in ruined carpets and prescriptions for tuna-flavored liquid Valium, I wasn’t too eager to face that again. So, we were happy with our little family of three.
Until Nick brought home a kitten last week.
I blame it on my sister. While Nick has a reputation for being quite the Dr. Dolittle (I’ve seen him French-kiss a cockatiel), he has never brought home a stray animal in the time I have known him. Emily on the other hand (actually, my family in general) has way of finding lost dogs or cats. We have never kept one- they always are reunited with their owners or taken to the SPCA to find a new home. Or, in one case, after reading the address on a puppy’s collar, placed back in the yard where he was found.
So I’m fairly confident that if Emily had not accompanied Nick on his bike ride through our neighborhood that he would not have ended up finding a kitten in a tree and having that kitten follow him home.
Since I wasn’t there, I’m not going to provide a third-party account of how Matilda actually made her way to our apartment. What I can tell you is that when Nick called to tell me they found a stray kitten, I immediately told myself we were not keeping her. Yet then I offered to pick up a few cans of food and some litter, and on the drive home, started to think, “Well maybe….”
And yeah, now she is ours. We’ve been keeping her separated from Bailey, letting them get used to each others’ smells and paws sticking out under the door. After a few days, we let them check each other out in person.
The first encounter:
Since then there has been a lot of running and pouncing, but fortunately no hissing or growling. I’d like to think it’s promising that Bailey is not hiding from Matilda, nor is he being aggressive. Hopefully it won’t be long before we find them snuggling together. But I’d settle for having them happily ignore each other. In the mean time, maybe all the extra running will help Bailey lose some of the weight he’s gained from conning Nick and I into double feedings.