Yeah, I know, they look angelic, like butter would melt in their mouths. Much of the time that’s true, but not always. Not lately. It seems that Sundance (ginger tabby) and Bartlett (grey/white) are at war; and I’m pretty sure it’s over me.
Bear with me while I go back to the beginning.
I had Sundance first. Well, I had him before Bartlett joined our little family, but I adopted Zazu (who has since passed on) about three months before I got a call from a cat rescue to tell me about Sundance. Which makes Sundance the “middle child.”
My concerns about Zazu and Sundance taking to each other were unfounded. Within a few hours she was grooming him, showing him the ropes and bossing him around. I was the happy mother of two fur babies for about 10, 12 months when an email of Bartlett — a much younger Bartlett than in this photo — showed up in my inbox at work.
Bartlett and two siblings had been found in a dumpster by a kind-hearted man who worked in a furniture factory. Thank god, because when I think of what might have happened, if he hadn’t happened by that dumpster and heard faint mewling sounds I get the chills.
Because the kind man had a son with asthma he couldn’t take the wee kittens home, so he took them to work, where he cared for them until they were about four weeks old. He knew he couldn’t keep them in the factory forever and set about trying to find good and loving homes for them.
How he connected with a cat-loving friend of mine I can’t remember. All that matters is I took one look at that teensy-tiny little face and my heart melted.
He literally fit into the palm of my hand. I was terrified Zazu and Sundance would massacre him. So, crazy as I am, I moved into my guest room with him for a month. I also took a week off work so he could get used to his new surroundings while I was around. He’d had such a traumatic start to his life, poor baby.
A sweet little thing he was. He’d sleep curled up under my chin, purring madly away. I really did become his mother, the only mother he ever really knew.
So no wonder he doesn’t like to share me, right?
Very possessive he is.
Eventually I let him out of the spare room and he, his brother and sister met and got to know each other. Sundance was okay with him, but Zazu was far from pleased. When I was around they tolerated each other — at least much of the time — but when I went to the office — who knows.
There were peaceful moments, there were skirmishes, they’d fight from time to time, they’d ignore each other and then, suddenly, they’d be cuddling. Typical.
Until a few years in and Zazu starting peeing in the sink and also began to hide.
Several thousand dollars for an animal shrink later (I kid you not), it turned out that while I was gone Bartlett and Zazu were really going at it, he was bullying her and she was afraid of him. Don’t ask what I had to do, it’s a long story, but it worked to the point where they “accepted” each other for the rest of her life, and occasionally were even affectionate with each other.
Well, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed Sundance acting strange. He’s been withdrawn, not his usual rambunctious self, spending most of his time in the coat closet or on the vanity in the bathroom. He’s had a sad look on his face and he hasn’t been eating a lot. The other day I took a really good look at him and realized he’s lost some weight.
His fur is in good condition, his eyes seem bright but even so I wondered if he was sick. I decided to watch him carefully over the weekend and if there was no improvement I’d take him to the Vet. And then it hit me. Could something be up between him and Bartlett?
To test out my theory I put a dish with food in the bathroom for him — up on the vanity. He only drinks water from the tap anyway, so I knew he’d go up there for the food. And Bartlett, who is chunky and has very short legs, can’t jump that high. So it is a refuge for Sundance. And I also decided I would spend a lot of “alone” time with him. I knew I couldn’t ignore Bartlett, that would only make it worse, but Sundance definitely needed some special attention.
By Sunday Sundance seemed much happier, was eating more and was out of the closet. Bartlett’s not feeling the love, though, and I came home from grocery shopping on Sunday to find Sundance with a head wound — not life threatening, but there’d obviously been a bit of a brawl while I was out.
Hopefully they will resolve their differences, learn to share me — I keep telling them I have more than enough love for both of them — and life will return to normal in the Weinstein household. Fingers crossed.