October 04, 2009


The grey cat had one of her seizures last night and giving her a cuddle afterwards made me think about my characters and personality types and nature vs nuture.

The grey cat is a rescue kitty. I got her when she was about three months old from the Cat Protection Society. She came from a litter who'd been dumped. So who knows exactly what happened to her as a tiny thing. Whatever it was, it had an impact. She's a wary, cautious cat. She pauses on thresholds and scopes the situation out. You can see her thinking and processing. She'll seek out dark hidden places when she's feeling cranky or threatened (or too annoyed by the orange cat). Her instincts are always on high alert and they run to flight rather than fight (just as well really). She does like people but she's not a lap cat because laps MOVE. She'll occasionally climb into my lap but as soon as I move at ALL, she's out of there. She likes to sit near me on the couch though.

She's not much of a fan of being picked up either. A few seconds and she wants DOWN. The only time she really likes being held is after a seizure, when it seems to calm her. Even then it's only for a few minutes while she recovers, then she's off again. She doesn't like too many people but she has gotten smoochier with people other than me over time. Still, she will hide out when there's strange people in the house or more than four or so at a time. When she goes outside it's to go and sit under the huge lavender bush in my backyard where she can enjoy the outside but is perfectly hidden away from sight. But she's not one of those "people are only good for food" cats. She likes scritchies and pats but she likes them on her terms. She's a leg smoocher. Or she'll stand next to you and stretch up on her hind legs to get pats. And she walks away when she's done.

The orange cat, on the other hand, looooves people. He's a Burmese, so yes, he has the Oriental, I'm more like a dog thing going on but it's still true that he's never met a person (other than small children) that he didn't like. He was a pampered purebred kitten, cosseted from birth. No trauma there. He's never met a lap that shouldn't be his and is perfectly happy to sprawl and sleep anywhere he thinks is comfortable. He demands affection and attention and gets jealous when I'm patting the grey cat and will muscle in. Apart from that he has a pretty relaxed attitude to life and doesn't have instincts that are anywhere near as fine tuned as the grey cat's. When he goes outside, he stalks around yowling and will fall asleep in the middle of the lawn or on a pile of dirt, exposed for all the world to see. Part of that may be that he's just not as smart *g* but also, he didn't go through that crucial young baby period in any sort of danger or with any sort of trauma. He likes to play and gets frustrated that the grey cat runs away from any sort of normal pounce and wrestle cat playing. I've never seen her really try to swipe him or bite him though, which he would do if he was really feeling threatened. So they have a fraught relationship where half the time she's running away to hide from him and half the time they seem to really like each other and will fall asleep together or groom each other.

Part of what makes them so different are just normal temperament differences in feline personalities but I think the kitten thing also plays a significant role.

Right now, these two are a pretty good study for the relationship dynamics in my wip (they're even kind of the right colors). She's wary and dangerous with a not so nice past she doesn't know how to escape or overcome. He's relaxed and relatively normal and somewhat puzzled by her (though, he knows better than to just try and pounce and wrestle her into submission and he's a lot smarter than the orange cat). I'm hoping they'll be able to figure it out and end up curled up together happily, though I think there might be a fair bit of running away with a hiss on her part before we get there. Speaking of which, back to some pages. I was thinking I might go to a movie later but need to earn my treat.

1 comment:

Tez Miller said...

Seizures! Sounds scary, the poor lass :-(

Orange Cat sounds lazy and cuddly - he'd be my friend ;-)

Cats are a great study in showing-not-telling. You can tell when they're happy or pissed off. My cat actually SIGHS. Also purrs a lot. Does a lot of sleeping, but he was living with someone old before he went to the RSPCA (where I adopted him).

My sister's cat doesn't purr at all, but he's big on mewing communications. Also from the RSPCA, but I think his owners were moving house and couldn't bring him with them.