Tam has been gone for three weeks, a mix of work and vacation that just happened to line up in space and time. For the last three weeks, I have been the sole provider for the two cats here at Roseholme Cottage.
Tam's cat, Rannie Wu, always makes up to me when Tam is out of town. Within 24 to 48 hours, Rannie will curl up next to me at bedtime, climb up me, purring, and try to smooth on my face when I watch TV, and so on. She's a little affectionate when Tam is around but never as much; she considers me a secondary cat-mommy.
Just how secondary was made clear this morning. Rannie Wu is a small and elderly cat, who must be fed in a few small servings because her tummy is smaller than her appetite. Between each serving, she tends to lurk underfoot, smoothing or pawing at my legs when she thinks the next installment is overdue. Occasionally, she'll nip my calves.
For the last three weeks, she hasn't nipped me. Not even once. Tam returned home late last night -- either that or someone started to steal the living room couch and the refrigerator but gave it up as a bad job, to judge from the clunkings and thumpings coming from the front part of the house around midnight. (Evidence that it was not an inept burglary attempt include the undisturbed fridge and sofa, not to mention The Tamara herself, fast asleep in her accustomed spot this morning).
Between feedings this morning, Rannie smoothed on my ankle a few times, reared up for a few pats at my knee, went back to all fours, glanced up at me, appeared to give the matter a little thought -- and then carefully nipped my calf, a good sharp pinch that didn't quite break the skin. The message is clear: her real Mommy is back and I've been relegated to secondary status.
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