Thursday, September 3, 2009

When Jealousy Reigns

Lillie, our homegrown green-eyed monster...

How do you turn a cat - manja, accomodating and somewhat timid, scurrying helter-skelter into any hideyhole in the presence of strangers - into a ferocious, snarling feline overnight? Easy; just bring home another, even more timid, cat and the battle lines are drawn.

Peace at home was shattered for five days when 10 month-old Lillie, usually gentle if a little wary of unfamiliar faces, went into an attack mode to defend her territory from an unsuspecting 'intruder'. And to think that the latter was meant to be her playmate.

Having fostered no less than 100 cats thus far (25 all at once in the 1990s, living peacefully together too), I thought it would be good to get Lillie a friend. I didn't want her to acquire the 'only-child' syndrome; intolerant and selfish, and above all, demanding.

So much for my wish. Without me realising it, Lillie was already all of the above, and then some. Despite her humble beginnings (SPCA alumnus), our now-rotund Lillie, by my reckoning, had turned into a prissy snob.

She was obviously quite happy with her placid condo lifestyle, eating premium kibbles, relieving herself in a tubful of fragrant, clump-free litter, not to mention fortnightly trips to Dr Christine's for a foamy bath and flea shots.

Thus sweet Milo was Lillie's nightmare came true. Four-month old Milo, a pretty little thing in greyish-white fur (being half-Siamese and all) popped into our lives last week, courtesy of Nawwar's vet friend, the ever-smiling, soft-spoken Dr Aina.

A dedicated cat lover herself, Dr Aina runs a makeshift rescue transit centre at her home. Always on the lookout for suitable 'parents' to farm out her many temporary boarders, she heard of our quest for another cat to be Lillie's companion, and brought to us Milo.

Lillie's sweet disposition changed instantaneously upon seeing Milo. She hissed and growled incessantly, physically taking potshots at the already nervous and jumpy kitten. On one occasion, Milo hopped onto the windowsill in panic and on another, got herself cornered at the balcony trying to escape a fury-laden, manic Lillie.

I was so afraid she would sail into open space and perish from a 10-storey fall that I decided to have her temporarily caged for her own safety. It was as though she knew the odds, that each time I opened the cage door, she would willingly step in.

Lillie, now irate, would swing her paws through the bars. She would also purposely push her paws inside and scoop out Milo's food, messing the floor. Each time I took Milo out of the cage, she would rush in and finish Milo's food, pointedly ignoring her own in the kitchen.

To ensure Milo's safety, I had to place the cage in my study and close the door each time I let Milo out to roam. I could sense the poor kitten's nervousness, especially as Lillie could be heard pacing the floor outside, growling, waiting to sneak in should the door opened.

Milo was also nursing a surgery wound; she was spayed just a day before coming to us. I believe that was another reason why she wasn't actively fighting back. The soreness was still there and she was feeling some pain.

On the couple of occasions that we buka puasa outside, I would let Milo out, making sure both the study door and the windows were secured before leaving. Milo would then climb onto one of the open shelves and stay perched until I returned.

All these while, Lillie's frustration must have accumulated steadily. She must have been very annoyed at not being able to land a scratch or two on Milo. Dr Aina had asked for a one-week grace period; if the two still couldn't click after a week, she would take Milo back.

In the meantime, I had grown to love the nervous bundle. We had bonded well and she would readily jump into my arms. Strangely enough, Milo never meowed. Instead, she made tiny squeaky noises like those usually made by mice.

Opportunity presented itself to Lillie on Friday evening just after the news. It was an oversight on my part, with disastrous result. I forgot to close the study door and went about doing housework, and the next thing we heard was a mighty scuffle followed by howlings in the study.

I rushed in, only to see poor Milo all bloodied, her sutures ripped, her wound gaping. I quickly grabbed her and hugged her close, her blood seeping onto my caftan. By this time Lillie had slunked under my bed, probably satisfied to have caused some damage to the hapless kitten.

A horrified, tearful Nawwar placed a call to Dr Aina who turned up 30 minutes later. A quick check confirmed that the wound had to be restitched. Poor, poor Milo. We had to bid her adieu.

It's back to peace and quiet on the homefront. Lillie's reverted to her old self but I shed a silent tear for a sweet kitten that got mauled whilst under my care....


mamasita said...

O sedihnyer! Garangnyer Lillie! I hope Milo will get well quickly..what a pity..kesian kesian..

Mujurlah Lady Yoda took about a week to overcome her unfriendly attitude towards our Momo..

Now they are the best of pals!

Kak Teh said...

oh no! i can just imagine the scene. Poor Milo but cats are like that - except for our arwah Jasper who walked head high and sniffed at the new arrivals when we took in other cats. You could almost feel his disdain for the younger ones. Jasper was quite a character. The neighbours still talked about him.
Hope Milo survives this nightmare and you'll get her back.

Superfluous_Babe said...

kak puteri,
sedih nye dengar Milo kena 'pukul' ....

i experienced this kind of 'unwelcoming' treatment from our cat (Bella) when we brought home new cats too.

but reading on the net, there are ways to introduce new kitten/cat to the existing ones.

we tried.. it took a while to get Bella biasakan with the new cats. and jenuh jugak lah to get them biasa with each other's presence. skarang dah ok... alhamdulillah.

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Lillie, janganlah garang sangat
Mari, Pak Malim beri pengat
Kita makan sambil bersantai
Sambil lepak2, di tepi pantai

pakmat said...

..cats will always be cattish..but I am a cat lover myself..and have been through that before..should be alrlight after a week or two..

Typhoon Sue said...

oh dear,... sian milo... cats are like that lah. very territorial.. it wd take at least a week for them to get used to each other. keeping milo in separate room wd be best, letting lillie get used to the smell and sound of another cat, before coming into actual contact with her. hope u'll get milo back.

i was looking for someone to adopt kitties. didn't know u were lookin. my sis have 6 motherless kitties. Kucing biasa aje, but cute, as all kitties are. See pic:

Kama said...

Mamasita - Tu la.I read about Lady Yoda and Momo and I was wondering how come Lillie & Milo couldn't click at all..

Kak Teh - Indeed she has Jasper's markings but none of his class (sighh)..

SB - Seems like other people's cats, Bella for example, are so accomodating. Mine ni hamprak sikit.. hehehe..

Ray -
If only raya ada
tolong piak Lillie yg dah mengada
I pun kekadang rasa nak lepuk
tapi tengok muka teruih semput

Pakmat - tq for visiting. Mak dia Dr Aina dah ambik balik. I don't think she would return Milo to us...

Sue - I ni didn't even know the proper cara to introduce cats despite bela banyak. anyway, nanti I ask around kot-kot ada yang nak kittens...

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Puteri,
Poor Milo! and poor Lillie too....err....perhaps you should consider getting a boycat to be Lillie's companion instead of another girlcat? Trust me, I'm a cat!

Pp said...

waduh....kucing juga tahu pahitnya 'bermadu!'.

lilie has character lah! i like her already...

Pi Bani said...

Looks like you've got a spoiled brat there... any chances of you slow-talk kat dia... suruh dia ingat sikit asal-usul dia? :)

Kama said...

CiS- That was what Dr Aina said.. get a boycat. Perhaps..

Pp- A perfect example of betapa pahitnya bermadu eh.. hehehe

Pi- The other day I gave her a logn lecture pasai how lupa diri she was.. dia terkebil2 aja Pi, agaknya wondering apalak songel this old

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Puteri,

I supposed that why cats are more like females & dogs are more like males, more loyal, friendlier, caring & sharing, albeit the occasional 'kencing kat tiang' misdemeanour. Ooops, now I'd put myself in an off side position again with all u lovely ladies, not the first time & will not be the last too :( Conduct unbecoming??

Selamat berpuasa to the Abu clan.


Kama said...

You're not far off mark, Tommy. Given half the chance, I wouldn't mind keeping dogs; the only troublesome part is their dribbles and their fur when wet, that's all.

anasalwa said...

I'm sorry to hear about Milo, but Lillie is sure a one jealous cat. I wonder where the jealousy and anger come from, besides a normal territorial cat behavior.

Kama said...

anasalwa - maybe it's in the genes, kot. any which way pun, we'll keep her. mabe she's got the 'loner' genes.. hehehe