A Tale of Two Cats

Can a black and white cat find harmony with a multi-shaded cat? A true story..
  by Len Hjalmarson

Once upon a time there was a Canadian family who owned a black and white cat. Her name, based on a German tradition, was Mitza (German slang for "kitty.")

Mitza came from a well established family with traditional roots. She was born on a farm, one of a litter of eight black and white kittens.

Mitza was offered to my family shortly after she was weaned, when my children were very young, and grew up with us.

Mitza's world was well ordered and predictable. She slept every night curled in a ball in a tan colored bed that was well cushioned with a soft old towel. Every morning she found her food in a bowl by the fridge in the kitchen. After breakfast she went outside to spy out the yard, catch a few mice, and chase the birds from the trees. When she tired of the game she came back inside to sleep the afternoon away and dream of more birds and mice. Mitza quickly became soft and round and just a bit bulky.

Mitza's life continued in a comfortable and predictable manner for ten years. Then along came Kiara.

Kiara was born a wanderer. She was left by her mother under a bush with her two brothers, and found by a compassionate farmer's wife. Since the area was dangerous (coyotes) she was offered to my family as a second cat. Although my two daughters were now teenagers, they found her beautiful and appealing, and she came home to live with us and Mitza.

Kiara was a siamese cross. Her fur was a beautiful cream color, with chaotic stripes and swirls. Her eyes when she was young were an astonishing blue. It was impossible not to notice their beauty, because she craved eye contact, and would stare at you until she got it.

Kiara was long and slender, with an unusually long neck. She could almost have been a weasel.

Kiara was an adventurer. She rarely accepted any rules, and was always testing the foundations.

Kiara was playful in the extreme, and loved to invent new games. Unlike most cats, she quickly learned to play fetch, and then hide and seek. My youngest daughter and she would spend an hour at a time alternately chasing one another, then hiding while the one sought the other out, then the chase would begin again.

Kiara also had imagination. She would stalk inanimate objects. Getting low to the ground, she would creep toward the couch, then leap up to the cushions, and begin to wrestle them off the couch. Having established her territory, she would begin to dig her paws between the seat cushion and the armrest, certain that something was hidden in the dark recesses.

At first Mitza was nonplussed by this inquisitive, adventurous, multi-shaded invader.

"Why, this can't be a cat? Perhaps its a racoon.. Cats are lazy, predictable, soft and round, this one is volatile, slender, and restless. And her eyes.. why, they are as blue as the sea. Where is that yellow stain of moonlight?

"And cats don't fight with the order of things. We have our traditions.. all the way back to Egypt. Everyone knows what is what and What is Not and what the Great Cat established. If we bend these rules even a bit.. the very whiskers could drop from our faces.. "

Mitza's orderly world was shaken. Her idea of "cat" was assaulted, and she was offended. First she tried lecturing the youngster. But Kiara didn't respond well to lectures. In fact, she rarely held still long enough for Mitza to finish the introduction.

In her defense, she was easily distracted. Mitza's wiggling whiskers would capture her attention, and the stalking instinct overcame her. As Mitza was finishing off a sentence with a rolling "Rrrrrrr..." Kiara would sink to her belly and begin creeping, pouncing on the unwary teacher and then leaping skyward and dashing off to hide somewhere. Obviously, education was not the answer.

Perhaps some bonding was needed. Yes, the pastoral approach might help. Mitza tried some gentle grooming, approaching Kiara when she was tired, and simply offering to lick some of the dust from her fur. This was received as patronizing, and Kiara's ears would go flat, and a warning growl would sound. Mitza would retreat to a safe distance.

But eventually, familiarity and common cat-ness prevailed. Cats hate being dusty and dirty, and they do love being stroked. Even the staid and established Mitza felt lonely at times, and that hair behind her neck.. well, she just wasn't flexible enough to reach it anymore.

Two Cats

One day Kiara approached Mitza at nap time, and began gently grooming her fur. She started with the top of her head, and worked her way all the way down her back to the tail. Somewhere in this process, Mitza dropped off to a dreamy sleep, chasing mice and birds.

The next day Kiara allowed Mitza to do the grooming. It wasn't long before they were curled up together, snug and warm.

Mitza finally conceded, "This is indeed a cat, but a cat of a type I have never known. Her eyes are blue, and her fur is too short, and she is slender and energetic and far too adventuresome.. She is too imaginative, and doesn't know how to stick to the plain things... but she is brave and loyal, sharp of tooth and claw, she has cat's whiskers, and the Great Cat made her, and I love her."



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• © 1999-2003 Len Hjalmarson.• Last Updated on May 8, 2003