Feline Friendships



The Internet is full of pictures of cute interspecies friendships, but cats of all sizes are probably most famous for being solitary creatures. Not because they don't socialize, per se, but because they're so selective about it.

My brown tabby Meesh has always had a hard time making friends, but it's certainly not for lack of trying. He's just a little too friendly. He was that kitten at the shelter who stuck his paws between the bars to swat at passersby and pounced on his cagemates tirelessly. He has a lot of energy, but his intentions are pure... the other cats just have yet to appreciate his more extraverted canine style of saying hello. A typical attempt to socialize results in arched backs, hisses, and high-pitched yelps, while Meesh just sits there with his ears back, ruffled, confused, and slightly stunned that no one likes to have their tails grabbed by strangers.

So I figured the odds weren't good when a new cat moved in next door: Alice, an oversized calico with an equally hefty attitude. The situation seemed especially hopeless after her humans put her on a diet and gave us two giant crates of her favorite canned cat food. Every time I popped open a Friskies prime filet with ocean whitefish and tuna, I'd catch a glimpse of Alice hovering in the shadows of our back porch, biding her time.



I often leave the door slightly cracked to let Meesh spend time on the porch — like many cats, he has an intense phobia of closed doors. No nefarious characters had managed to get in yet, aside from the occasional mosquito. Then, out of the corner of my eye: an amorphous and suspiciously calico-colored shape squeezed through the crack and bolted for the food bowl at breakneck speed. The cat proceeded to wolf down an entire Friskies filet as though the poor thing hadn't eaten in weeks, while Meesh looked on in horror. After Alice had licked the bowl completely clean, she planted herself under the couch and refused to leave until one solid hour of coaxing later.

It sounds like the stuff of doomed cat relationships, but that day marked a turning point. Maybe it was fate or a sense of karmic reciprocity, or just the simple fact that Alice is nearly twice his size, but in the days since, she's been the closest thing to a friend that Meesh has ever had. I don't know if I'd call them besties exactly, but I'll take it.

Published on: 
Sunday, April 6, 2014