When you are an only child and spend a year in your house because of a pandemic, you start talking frequently with your cat and your dog. You build alliances, which fracture and dissolve and are built again. You have a buddy one day who is a frenemy the next. This week Owen is pro-Maple and anti-Plum.
Plum, about to turn 16, is an old man who likes his sleep. He does NOT like when people tread past him repeatedly and noisily. He’ll put up with one or two times, three or four perhaps, but the fifth time he will be forced to show you how rude you are being. He will puff his tail up and start marching angrily towards Owen, upon which Owen will get treed on the couch and call out, “Mom! Plum is trying to attack me!” And I – I admit – will giggle a bit before going to Owen’s rescue. I’ll walk in the living room and find Owen backed into a corner on the couch, while Plum lectures him on all he is doing wrong, before going in for the slap. (In Plum’s defense, he doesn’t just pick on the child: he’ll do the same thing to Sean when it is a rainy day and Sean is trying to get his steps in. Plum will attempt to cut Sean off at the pass, upon which they’ll have a mock boxing match which ends up in a purr and cuddle.)
Owen’s relationship with Maple is more of a competition. I’ve learned, while out on a walk, that the easiest way to get Owen to speed it up a little is to have Maple walk beside him while I remark, “She’s ahead by a nose!” Instantly Owen breaks into a trot!
Owen cannot pass up the chance to mansplain something to Maple, and this morning I overheard him telling Maple that the reason why Plum always had food in his bowl and Maple does not is that Maple does not understand the meaning of the phrase “save for later.” Indeed she does not, as Owen continued, “know what the phrase means when used in a sentence.” Owen is always happy, though, to take Maple out into the yard to putter. I’ll check outside frequently and find them playing sometimes together and sometimes apart, and problems only arise when they both want to play with the same stick. And even then, it is a skirmish that ends in zoomies, so all’s well that ends well.