Barkleah, our very spoiled Toy Fox Terrier, and Carlos, the Maine Coon Cat, are learning to share. Barkleah spent the better part of his seven years being catered to. His universe contains two full-time caregivers (Bill and me) and one part-time babysitter (our Son, Jeff). While Carlos has been a well disciplined cat who responded to his one and only master (our grandson, Josh.) For the past couple of months, the care of both pets has fallen to the spoilers.
Carlos and Barkleah both weigh twelve pounds. Due to his long hair and huge paws, Carlos appears a great deal larger. He has many doglike traits. He comes when you call. He waits for us to return home, patiently sitting by the back door. He strives to please. He stays on command. He loves strangers, especially men. He can jump from a sitting position and land chest high, expecting to be caught. If he is not grabbed when he leaps, he wraps his strong arms around the target’s neck and hangs on for dear life. He desires an audience when he eats. If he is alone, he waits for his people to return.
Barkleah lays across the back of the couch, baking in the sun. He must play kill the mouse before he can eat. If he can’t locate the mouse in his toy basket, he locates Pink Puppy as a replacement. He enjoys batting around small plastic cat balls, and tugging with Carlos’s rubber band. He prefers to send visitors on their way. He hates to get his feet wet and appears to know when the sprinkler has run. He sleeps with a blanket in his round pet bed. When he runs, his back legs hop together, like a rabbit. Barkleah is the perfect lap companion. His favorite activity after eating and sleeping is to go for a ride in the car. He shivers with excitement.
They are made for each other. Neither likes to share toys, food, or people. But both pets are loving and faithful to their owners.
Yesterday, Carlos curled up on Barkleah’s pet bed and fell asleep. He was on the couch in my office. Barkleah strolled in and hopped up next to the bed. He froze. He whimpered. And he stared at me as if to say, “Can you get this cat out of my bed? I need a nap.”
After unsuccessfully attempting to have him sleep in the chair, I reluctantly scooped up Carlos. Barkleah took his place in the center of the warm blanket. Carlos, then awake, gave me a questioning meow. Now what? I set Carlos gently curled up onto the foot of the blanket, just slightly touching the pet bed. Barkleah looked up, sighed, and went to sleep. Carlos, the gentle soul, tipped his head as if to say, “Okay, I’ll share this time.” The two slept together the balance of the afternoon. Peace was in the land.
Now, I’m not sure what it all means, but this morning I found Barkleah happily using Carlos’s litter box. Had they begun to share their potty, too?