Monday, April 20, 2015

The Homecoming:

Bonnie (calico) & Clyde

Last year I posted "Bonnie & Clyde" (3/10/14) about how my husband and I found ourselves the surprising new owners of a pair of kittens while I was working as a nurse at The Otsego Manor.  I promised I would someday post the rest of the story, so here it is.  Nothing too deep, nothing sad, just a little fun for a rainy Monday morning.  Bonnie & Clyde II, The Homecoming:

          Bonnie & Clyde, my newly adopted kittens, were on their way home.  I loaded them both into the cat carrier with room to spare and then headed off my unit at the nursing home. As I walked toward the elevators I heard one of the patients call my name. I stopped to chat with her before I left the floor. She commented, “If you already have a male cat at home you need to be careful. He may try to attack and kill the kittens” What? I was flabbergasted. I never heard such a thing. I thought of Boo, my senior, deaf, resident male cat. He wouldn’t try to kill anything. He was old and rickety and lucky to get up off the couch.  I smiled and thanked her for the advice, then headed out the door.
Several minutes later I was home and brought in the kittens to meet my family. I let them out of the carrier, my husband held our dog tight by the collar and we let the kittens explore.  Suddenly we heard a loud wail followed by fierce growling.  It sounded like something between a Banshee and a tribal war cry.  Boo. Quick as lighting he was in the room racing toward the kittens. We scrambled to catch them and fortunately got them before Boo did.  Boo continued his howling while the humans in the room looked at each other bewildered. The kittens went back into the cat carrier, and I went straight to the computer to search for answers online. I looked up “kittens and male cats” and found multiple entries and warnings. I definitely had to rethink our introduction of Bonnie and Clyde to Boo.
For the next two weeks we kept the kittens in our spare bedroom. We followed the online advice and gradually introduced their scents to Boo while keeping them physically apart. Amazingly it worked! By the end of their two-week quarantine the kittens became friends with Boo, and Boo seemed to like it! At first he appeared annoyed, but quickly learned they were helpful, liked to play, and groomed his fur. Boo had his own set of mini-minions.
Our dog, Angel, however, did not share Boo’s opinion. Although not a threat at first, she grew jealous and did not appreciate sharing attention with the kittens. Bonnie and Clyde were oblivious; after all, they were nursed and raised by a dog. They followed Angel around. They wanted to play. They wanted to snuggle. Although Angel never hurt them, her glares, stares and sighing expressed her long-suffering. The kittens were relentless. They continued to pester her. 
Then it happened. Clyde snuck up on Angel and did an Evil Knievel leap onto her back. Angel’s eyes bulged with alarm, and I thought Clyde was going to lose all of his nine lives in one swift moment. Before I could intervene Angel reached her head back, grabbed Clyde in her mouth, and launched him into the air and across the room. When Clyde hit the ground Angel was already standing over him, pinning him with her nose. I was sure Clyde’s days were done, but when I finally reached him he was flattened to the floor but fully intact and breathing. I extracted him from Angel’s vice hold. Clyde learned an important lesson that day: never, ever, jump on the dog. Something he never forgot or repeated.
Now years later Angel still bemoans the fact that she has to share her house with cats. She has warmed up a bit to Clyde. Sometimes I see them sitting side by side on the porch, staring out at the neighbor dogs, Clyde mimicking Angels movements as if to say, “Yeah. We’re bad.” He and Bonnie both like to follow Angel on her walks. They follow so closely that strangers have stopped and commented, “Are your cats following you? I’ve never seen cats go on walks.” Angel is humiliated, her torment continued, hoping that somehow the other neighborhood dogs haven’t witnessed the spectacle.
But Bonnie and Clyde are happy. They have a good home, doting friends, a human entourage, and their very own dog.

Playing with the dog's toys

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