When we sat the defenseless 1.5 pound ball of fluff on the floor for Smokey the 20 pound "only" cat to look at for the first time we stayed within rescue distance. We need not have worried. On Smokey's part it was love at first sight.
He would have scooped the kitten up and cuddled it immediately but the kitten took one look at his new monster-sized brother and turned fierce, arching his back, tail straight up and puffed, spitting and hissing like a teakettle.
Smokey is quiet, calm, and patient. He simply turned his back, lay down and looked the other way. The little one hid under the leg of the table, but by day two was too curious to ignore the mound of grey fur, and he was missing his mama and siblings awfully.
|Hobbes at about 12 weeks, snoozing on Smokey's back|
He wondered. Does that big cat have titties? Which is how patient and loving Smokey came to have scabs around his nipples for the first few weeks. He would let the baby suckle his tiny nubs of nipple, before it curled into his bulk and slept.
We tried to call the "little one" Salvadore Too, but he never took to it. After seven months he still ignored being called by name. It was obvious he wanted no part of being the second anything. So Sal2, renamed Hobbes (which he took to immediately) will be nine months old on the 18th. He weighs about nine pounds. Time for a visit to the vet. I'll have to take them both, Smokey needs his boosters, and I'm not sure how he'll react to leaving his baby behind for surgery. There cannot be a closed door between them. If Hobbes wakes and doesn't see Smokey immediately there is such a screaming as you wouldn't believe could come from such a small body.
To say they are bonded would be the grossest understatement. Smokey has, from the first, let Hobbes eat first. Smokey will only eat tuna and Hobbes will only eat chicken, but every time we feed them Smokey stands back for Hobbes to check out the tuna bowl before he eats.
Hobbes has long, extremely powerful back legs, and even as a 10 week old kitten was jumping higher than the cobby Smokey is able to jump. Smokey was afraid to jump on the bed, would stand and look into the tub, but couldn't jump into it. Somewhere he missed that lesson. Hobbes taught him how to jump and now the two of them hurtle like furry missiles over every obstacle in the house. I've even caught Smokey on the kitchen counter a couple of times.
Hobbes has taught Smokey how to scratch the furniture. (sigh) He *never* scratched the furniture before. He's taught him to yodel, and to purr, and how to be brave.
Smokey is terrified of the vacuum. Any time he saw me taking it from the closet he would run to the bedroom and hide under the bed until hunger or the need for the litter box forced him out, four or five hours later. Hobbes is not afraid of the vacuum. He plays with it, and now Smokey will jump on the bed and watch me vacuum past.
Last week a section of the front walk had to be removed, with a jackhammer, before new concrete was poured. Smokey was just overwhelmed with fear at the noise, which was right below our balcony. He was soon so stressed he was panting and crying. I took him out into the hallway for a walk, away from the noise for a few minutes, but he soon ran back to our door, where Hobbes was waiting. Hobbes comforted him, kissing his face, rubbing along his sides and intertwining their tails and within minutes the two of them were curled together sleeping, Smokey unconcerned with the noise.
Maybe Hobbes will teach him not to be afraid of thunder, but I doubt it. We have had several spectacular thunder and lightening storms in the last week. While Smokey hid under my chair, as far from the windows as he could get, Hobbes was standing in the big patio window watching the light show with great interest and excitement.
As soon as the lights go out each night a great rumpus starts, but after 10-15 minutes of hard play both will join us in bed. Smokey wouldn't sleep with us before Hobbes came. I think he must have been punished as a kitten for getting on the bed, and we couldn't convince him we wanted him there with us. Hobbes did that. From the first night, when he slept sprawled on my chest, he's taught Smokey that a lot of things are pretty okay. You think it's the older that teach the young, and Smokey has taught Hobbes things too, but it's surprising how much the older has learned from the young.