To my dear cat, Zimblestern George-Ira Gob Winter,
I am sorry to have to tell you this, but I am afraid your days of peace and quietude may be numbered.
The baby is on to you, Zim. For several months you could live in anonymity. Ezra had not really noticed your existence. But no longer. Now Ezra watches you. His eyes track you as you walk through a room. He smiles when you move.
And now, even more … On Monday, you and Ezra were both lying on my bed. You were sleeping, as you always do. He was lying on the other side of the bed, watching while I put away some laundry. Then Ezra rolled on his side and looked at you.
And he laughed.
What was he thinking? That furry thing is a hoot? Won’t it be hilarious when I grab his tail?
I don’t know, Zim, but it’s probably not good, at least not for you.
I know you hate children. When our nephew came one weekend, you spent the entire time hiding under the kitchen sink, in a corner of the cabinet so far away no one could touch you. You bolt upstairs at the sound of a small child at the door. And yet, for no good reason, the children love you. Ezra smiles at you. James and Joseph ask after you, pray for you and long to pet your soft fur. And what appreciation do you show them? You won’t even let them see you when they come over to visit. What a cat.
Since I know how you feel about children, I am particularly grateful for the love you’ve shown to Ezra. And by “love,” I mean “tolerance.” You are a cat, after all.
The first night Ezra came home from the hospital, you sidled up to him, sniffed him and offered a paw of friendship. I was almost as surprised as I would be if Hugo Chavez and George W. Bush danced the tango together.
Over the past six months, you’ve continued to tolerate the baby, even when he cried and you would look at me with complete disdain, as if to say, “Can’t you do something about that?”
You periodically checked on Ezra, sniffing him to make sure he was, in fact, the same baby. I am not sure what you would have done if he started to smell like a baby from outside the family. But I am grateful you were resigned, if not entirely pleased, to make a go of it with this new roommate. I also appreciate your efforts to become one of the first feline lactation consultants, even though your consults annoyed me at the time. You would come up in the middle of the night to inspect the goings-on with Ezra and meow in (dis)approval.
I am hopeful that you will continue to surprise us — although preferably not in the middle of the night. I am hopeful that miracle of miracles, you and Ezra may become bosom buddies. I know it’s unlikely.
But regardless of how you feel about him, I think Ezra wants to become your friend very soon.
Consider yourself warned.