“What’s this, Mum-mum?” Isabella wondered aloud as she walked into the lounge room, looking at a pet cage on the floor.
“That’s Crystal, Bubba,” I replied, indicating our newest family member inside. She sat still, watching her three feline siblings study her from afar.
“Crystal!” Isabella chirped at the cage. As she did so, a little furry white head turned to look at its greeter. The kitten’s unblinking, bright blue eyes fixed on the little girl. It was still trying to discern who was friend and who was foe in this unfamiliar terrain.
“Crystal scary!” Isabella laughed as she ran over to me, “blue eyes!”
Crystal danced back and forth, bouncing and pacing, studying every angle of the room from between the gaps in the cage walls. Her eyes fixing particularly on each of the three cats. They watched her, pupils large and focused, ears forward and tuned to her every movement. Our black adult cat approached the cage, sniffing the air, trying to catch the kitten’s scent from as far as possible. Isabella spotted him and jumped at the opportunity to play.
“Corey!” She cried as she ran to the cage before I could stop her. Scared and on edge from the presence of the intruder-kitten, Corey sprinted for the safety of our bedroom. In response to the fright, the long-haired and most timid of our cats – Fuzzy – followed him, eager to hide away from the unpredictable action.
“Where did Corey go?” Isabella asked, “where did Fuzzy go?”
“They’re hiding in Mum and Dad’s bedroom, Darling, leave them,” I said.
Isabella returned her attention to the blue eyes in the cage. She approached it.
“Hello Crystal!” She cried as she bent down to peer inside. Once again, Isabella ran screaming as Crystal looked at her.
“Crystal scary!” She laughed, cuddling into my leg.
“She’s just a baby cat, a kitten,” I reassured her as I stroked her smooth brown ringlets. I enjoyed this opportunity to witness her first ever meeting with her new sister-cat, a brand new experience. A kitten who I hope will appreciate Isabella’s company as much as Isabella adores hers.
“Kitten,” Isabella said, eagerly watching the cage.
Our third adult cat – the king of the household – still hadn’t moved a muscle. Focused and almost impossible to distract, his eyes trained on the kitten’s every movement. It was up to him to remain in control of his domain. The other two cats experienced this first-hand when we introduced them as kittens; they quickly learnt to mind his mood and to respect his personal space. If they weren’t careful, they risked provoking him and promptly experienced his abilities. He would pounce and secure his victim in place long before they had a chance to respond. Such swift abilities like his only came with age.
Isabella finally spotted our oldest cat; he was still glaring at the kitten, unaware of Isabella’s intentions.
“Kobe!” She cried out, but this time I discovered her plan before she had a chance to move. I picked her up and sat her on my lap.
“Leave Kobe, Bubba, he’s angry, you leave him, okay?” I explained to her, attempting to prevent an outburst of disbelief. She almost never gets to play with Kobe, but she certainly understands when he is angry.
“Okay, Mum-mum,” she grumbled, “Crystal?”.
“Yes, you can play with Crystal,” I said, putting her down, “but not Kobe.”
By this point, Crystal was now laying down, watching her oldest feline brother, but never holding his gaze for too long. To do so would mean a threat, and it seemed she already knew which battles to avoid. I put Isabella down and she toddled back to the cage.
“Crystal?” She said, crouching and peering in again. Crystal remained in place and turned only her head to look at Isabella, though this time Isabella didn’t run away. She stayed there, looking at her new little sister-cat with wonder. Emboldened, she pushed a finger between the gaps of the cage, beside Crystal’s head and Crystal licked it tenderly.
Isabella giggled, “Crystal funny,” she said, smiling back at me, “love Crystal.”