Sunday, June 13, 2010

Killer kitty

It continues to astound me how perfect the cat is.

She hears us coming up the street and jumps onto the windowsill as we approach. She mrowrs on the other side of the glass. Seconds later Rosie's at the door to greet us.

She likes to be near us. On top of the fridge when I'm making coffee or supper. On her own chair when we're at the table. On the arm of the sofa if we're watching tv.

Morning and evening she stages stealth attacks, hiding around corners or behind a bag till someone goes by and she pounces.

Most touchingly, when it's time for Helena to get ready for bed, she follows us round the bend in the stairs, pawing at us through the banister, and secures the perimeters of the bathroom and bedroom areas. When Helena is finally settled into bed, Rosie hops up and makes herself comfortable. She stays there an hour or two — to make sure the kid is sound asleep — before joining J-F and me.

She's the perfect blend of affectionate, playful, protective, independent.

[Insert gratuitous cat photo here.]

So it came as a surprise to me to find that she is less than gentle with others of her species.

We've been letting her wander out onto the balcony, and I'm willing to let her explore the courtyard. She seemed shocked to discover a cat on the balcony just up from us, and another staring out the window of the unit to the left.

She was standoffish for a day or two after that. Her expression told me she felt betrayed: "Why didn't you tell me there were others of my kind, and so close?!"

Henri is the cat upstairs. Rosie has it in for him. Henri's leash lets him come down the fire escape to our balcony. That's too far for Rosie's liking. A couple times she's chased him up, swatted him across the nose. Usually, a hiss from her through the screen door is enough to send him home.

Last week she chased him, into his apartment, his own kitchen — Henri cowering in his own territory. Rosie puffed up, with the upper paw, and a quick one-two. Henri's owner could only stand back and wait for it to be over. Rosie owns that kitchen now. Henri took advantage of the distraction of J-F's entrance to make a break for it, under the bed. A gash across the eyebrow. He wasn't seen for days.

Who knew Rosie had a viscious killer inside her? Secretly, of course, we're all a little bit proud.
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