We named the stray kitten ‘Whiskers’ because she didn’t have any. There was dirt stuck in her unkempt fur, she was mewing non-stop and Boxer didn’t like her one bit. However, apart from hissing he didn’t act overly aggressive nor did he chase the kitten away even on that first day.
Throughout the first week, someone had to watch over them while they ate because Whiskers was fond of leaving her food and going for Boxer’s. Then Boxer would stop eating and not even fight for his share.
A few days ago, Boxer kept a wary eye on the little kitten whose dish was on his right and several feet away from his bowl. On his left two birds were scavenging for food among the grass. These attracted Boxer’s attention. I could see that he was raring to go after the birds. But he probably didn’t want Whiskers to take his food too. He looked at the birds, then at the kitten. The birds won.
When the coast was clear Whiskers, who had already gobbled down her food, stole out of her hiding place and went straight for Boxer’s bowl. She caught me looking at her but that didn’t bother her at all.
It has been more two weeks since Whiskers joined the family. Boxer has accepted her and they’re good playmates now. Meal times aren’t a hassle anymore although Boxer is still reluctant to share his bowl with Whiskers. Having a four-footed friend has reduced his need for human company and he doesn’t bother me too much these days. The requests for tummy rubs and to be petted have grown fewer. He has stopped following me around and getting in the way. He can even afford to ignore me when I call.
Writing those last two lines made me suddenly realize they could apply to Sonny! Kids, like pet cats, grow up. They may seem distant and don’t need you anymore. They have their own friends, do their own things, they live their own lives. Ironically, while all their growing-up years we, parents, teach them how to stand on their own feet, when they’re finally ready to leave the nest, we wish they’d stay longer. Don’t you agree that our children, whatever their ages, will always be our babies?