My older cat James is not relishing his promotion to senior staff cat.
As I was holding Nick and talking babytalk to him last night, I noticed James watching us from the doorway with a wistful expression on his face.
I immediately put Nick down and picked up James for a deluxe belly scratching, back massage and a long talk about how he was still my main cat and how I gotten Nick so he'd have his own kitten to play with. James listened as if he actually understood what I was saying.
He still likes me but I think his feelings are hurt and he's developing some classic sibling rivalry. My house dynamics have turned into a psychological cliche.
As a baby, James used to pester my recent escapee cat Bart all the time. Bart was patient with him as only a mature and emotionally secure cat can be. I only saw Bart kick James's pesky little ass a few times, and believe me, James had it coming.
Now I see James straining to be patient with this little maniac kitten.
As an adult, James has developed a very dignified demeanor. He seems to think he needs to act like a serious grown-up around the baby, and he's hiding his usual tendencies to play and act goofy.
He hasn't gotten aggressive with Nick even once. Instead he's just staring him down and trying to psych him out by pretending he's seething just beneath the surface.
Nick is smart and he keeps upping the ante by getting in James's face more and more aggressively. James will eventually lose patience and knock him into the next room, but I doubt Nick will give a damn. He's King Baby now and he's not giving the crown back to James.
Apparently, today he has assigned himself the tasks of clearing off all the flat surfaces in the house and chewing on all the shoelaces he can find. I'm allowing him to be as wild as he wants for a few more days so he can acclimate himself to a new household.
Right now he's seeing how many square feet of flooring he can cover with the Sunday newspaper. He likes the glossy ad inserts the best; they slide really cool.
By next week I'll be fed-up and start my traditional German dominatrix routine.
Luckily, Nick has a huge nose so I'll have a wide target to thump when he's misbehaving. Already he's shown total indifference to the word NO delivered at high volumes, so he's gonna need some seriously tough love.
It's pretty pathetic when I have to sit and contemplate how I plan to outmaneuver a three-month old kitten with a brain the size of a grape.
Either he's an exceptionally smart kitten, or I have completely lost my edge. The truth remains to be seen.