My other little tortoiseshell has been pretty upset with Cookie’s condition lately, but she gets a welcome respite on my lap. This is larger than usual, but holding the sketch pad out in front of me with my left hand and sketching with my right was a challenge. Just in familiar old charcoal pencil, a relaxed and purring Kelly was a sketch I could not pass up.
And I might amend that to say that Kelly has been really freaked out by Cookie’s condition and the situation. Kelly only accepted living with people conditionally, and that being that nothing ever changed in the household at all, ever, in any way. She’s sweet and affectionate and very, very talkative, but she has always bathed nervously and excessively and her insecurity is just below the surface when, at the slightest change in the day, a car pulling up outside, me dropping something loudly on the floor or a new cat in the house she simply vaporizes. She was the youngest for 11 years and though we lost kitties and there were plenty of fosters, there were no permanent new ones until Peaches. And then there was Mimi, which was fine with Kelly. But then there were the Fantastic Four, and although I very slowly introduced them and closed them away overnight much longer than I would any other foster cats, Kelly never adjusted to their presence. It was just too many new cats at once, and they all try to touch her. So she gets some time out at least twice a day, afternoon, and overnight, which has always coincided with the Senior Lunch Special and the Tortie Midnight Snack.
She’s also had her relationships first with one cat in the household, then with me. First it was Namir, who came in with her; when he died she turned to Peaches and cuddled with her regularly. After Peaches she turned to Cookie, and while both of them are friendly and affectionate, well, they are not so with each other. It’s more like tolerance. But Kelly needs her feline relationship, and I noticed odd things in Kelly before Cookie even hit her low spot on Christmas weekend.
First, Kelly started sleeping behind the books in the big entertainment center in my office. Shine a flashlight, I’d just see two eyes, just like when she first arrived in 1997, and I’d have to coax her out for meals. When Cookie needed more time and care I blocked Kelly’s access to this and she began sleeping in the box of packing and shipping boxes, as far down and even underneath them as possible. I’d put her in the bathroom for her meal, and she’d cry the whole time. She was not ever, in any way, permitted to touch the floor in any room, which made for a lot of carrying Kelly around and some interesting litter box visits..
Needless to say, this was distressing to all of us, but over the weekend Kelly figured out her role in all this was to bathe Cookie and cuddle with her, and in order to do that she must be on the floor. So she is now allowed to touch the floor and she has a job to do. We have made progress.
Because it’s quite cold, Cookie needs to stay in a warm place, and Kelly will stay with her. As I sat on the floor in the bathroom to talk to the girls and spend time, Kelly decided to take a little break from her caretaking and relax on my lap, a little bath, a big stretch, a lot of purrrrrr.
I had the time to catch some of her markings, and her toe curls and front paw air-kneading, her chin resting on my knee; her tail looks a little skimpy because you are actually seeing it foreshortened as it drapes off my leg and the end rests on the floor.
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