15 November, 2011

Bug Meet Panda

We have three cats and a bearded dragon for pets.  The cats are much more interested in each other than the bearded dragon and the disinterest is mutual.  Not much phases the bearded dragon except hawks.  He can spot a hawk before it's a dot against the sky and, when he's outside, much time is spent looking for or at hawks.

Each cat could not be more different than the others.  Best as I can explain it, they are panda, woolly rhinoceros, and stinky monkey.

Panda took it upon herself to be the babysitter from day one (maybe even the older sister).  Woolly rhino eventually worked up enough courage to smell the bug, but it hasn't got much more involved than that.  The monkey (in a good mood) will give the bug a prolonged headbutt at times with the loudest of the three purrs, but mostly we just try to keep her butt away from the baby when the monkey comes by.

Cats love the cozy softness of baby gears, but typically are put off by the erratic awkwardness of baby.


Panda, as it turns out, is rather comfortable with her ward.  This past week, the bug has become increasingly grabby.  Everything has a texture and that texture must be fully explored.  Panda has a texture.

Much to my (and panda's) delight, the bug has been watching and learning how to pet a cat.  She did really well running her tiny hand down the side of panda, who leaned in for pressure management.  There was a noticeable lift at the end of each stroke, a return to the front of the cat, and delighted squeals and coos all the way back along the side of panda.

The bug likes to grab my chin hairs and occasionally the hair on my head.  Her grip is strong, but she doesn't yank or pull much.  I mention this because I have an educated guess to what panda felt when the bug did finally grab a big handful of fur.  Panda pulled out of the baby clutches gently (losing some tufts of fur), without making a sound, and positioned herself out of reach.

The result would have been very different with rhino (who probably would have ran under the bed before the bug could fully extend her arm) or monkey.  Not surprising though as it was panda who has hung by the bug for almost five months now.

It was a big moment in our understanding of things.  For panda, the bug, and myself.

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