Beast and Bok Bok
We lived alone, myself and Beast, my rather rotund ginger tabby with a heart of gold. He is demanding, has high expectations but the return for my compliance is beyond compare and I love him dearly. Our neighbors bought a speckled red hen for their two small children and dutifully named her ‘Bok Bok’, for obvious reasons. Bok Bok was a pretty hen, but noisy, forthright and with a mind of her own. Each morning after my neighbors went to work and dropped the kids off to school, she escaped her pen and walked calmly up their drive, turned left onto the footpath and entered my driveway, making her way to the back yard where the grass was vast and the pickings, for a hen, were good.
Beast was intrigued, not having seen such a creature before, and this two legged flightless bird seemed to care less about Beast. They would approach each other with care until they touched beak to nose, eye to eye, pondering each others existence; then Beast would simply lie down and Bok Bok continue on her daily fossicking. In time the two would sit together in the sun, quite as ease and had no problem with the facts of their differences.
This was the routine for some months but Bok Bok had a secret. At the rear of our property is an overgrown chicken pen, with stalls and dilapidated wire doors off their hinges. I never go there as its hidden away and mostly forgotten. But one evening, Beast was not responding to my call and I ventured into the area. Low and behold I found Beast and also some forty odd eggs laid perfectly in one neat pile. She had obviously been laying there the whole time. Two weeks later that hen just disappeared in suspicious circumstances, never to be seen again.
Beast and the Bunnies
Our next door neighbors decided to replace their children’s missing hen with two miniature bunnies, one fawn and white, the other white with speckled black and brown patches. They were so beautiful, so cute, soft and adorable. Each morning after the parents had gone to work, the kids gone to school, the two bunnies would escape their enclosure, walk down the drive, turn left onto the footpath and enter my drive heading to the backyard where the grass was vast and green.
Beast just looked at them with wonder; at least these critters had four feet and hair like his, a little more familiar. He simply watch them grazing happily on the grass and they quite fearlessly would hop around him as if he were one of them. This went on for weeks, until we were informed that the neighbors had to move as their landlord intended to demolish the house and rebuild.
The day they left no-one could catch those bunnies; they are fleet-footed and determined to stay as it turned out. In the end the neighbors simply left them there. Nothing changed as they had food and water and were happy to take care of themselves.
Beast, Kiki and Lola
My son and his intended, who lived but a block away, were about to embark on a course of study and it was agreed that they move in with me to alleviate the financial restrictions. The only concern was they had one cat Kiki and a six month old puppy named Lola. Both Kiki and Beast grew up together, but Kiki being a year older, never took on the parental role, rather Beast, who wanted nothing more than to play, was an ongoing annoyance. Their relationship was tenuous at best. Lola was a beautiful crossed Ridge-back, with boundless energy and a fascinations with cats.
Lets talk about routines, of which cats are masters and demand the security. My Beast is a beautiful cat, rather sedentary but he has his routines and high expectations from his slave, me. Food is of course paramount and Beast is on a special diet because of a hereditary ph imbalance in his urine. He eats dry food only and of course has his own bowl. When he eats the food eventually moves to the edge of his bowl and he respectfully requests myself to remedy the situation by moving the food back in a pile in the middle. With water, it can go stale and this of course is not acceptable to any cat of class and distinction. Again he will vocalize his request and I must clean the bowl, and replace the water with fresh filtered water from the tap. Then he will drink.
Additionally, Beast has his sleep routines and unless the weather is sunny, he will sleep on my bed in his little padded igloo or if its warm exactly where I sleep. Should he require cuddles, he puts his front paws on the wooden bed base and request my presence. I hold his little face and kiss him on his head and on both cheeks where he then returns the favor and nuzzles me on my chin, passionately. I have a beard so I guess the hair is more familiar to him. This process of affection will happen maybe three or four times each day.
Each night when my work is done and I want to relax, I’ll watch a movie and Beast will be on my lap being pampered until he falls asleep. There he remains until I have to go to bed, at which time he joins me, all snuggled up together. Between five and six is apparently my time for waking. I hear a faint meowing and open my eyes to find find Beast’s face but and inch from mine and his paw patting me on the cheek. This is my notice that the sun is about to rise and he needs to go outside to greet the day. I look at the time, growl and get up in a half stupor, open the back door and Beast’s day officially begins. I then go back to bed.
Enter Kiki and Lola, where this house ain’t big enough for all of us. But it must be; we all must find a way of getting along. At first there were growls and hissing from the two cats and Lola just wanted to play and chase those cats for fun. Kiki already had a lack of tolerance for Lola but that didn’t stop Lola at all, and in her effervescent way, she continued her quest of making friends. Beast was more tolerant of Lola and they touched noses and wondered about each other, but if Lola made a fast move, there’d be hissing and a floury of right and left hooks to disarm the smiling pup.
Beast will drink his water even if Kiki has drunk from it, but if Lola drinks, I hear that familiar request, and have to scrub that bowl, ridding it of all those dog germs and replenishing the fresh filtered water he’s used to. When beast is on my bed and I’m writing, my computer is in my bedroom, Beast has his food bowl on the bed. But if I leave the room and don’t lock the door, Lola rushes in, inhales his food and escapes as if nothing happened. Lola is a ninja dog, as quiet and sneaky as one little puppy could be. So then yet another routine is created, accommodating these three the bulk of my present life.
Things have now settled down, Lola respects both cats and knows when she’s gone too far. Kiki usually avoids Beast but is they have to pass one another they do so with little response. I watch TV with Beast on my lap, Lola sleeping on top of the lounge cushion next to me and Kiki on top of the lounge cushion of the other two-seat-er. All is calm. I do think that Lola thinks she’s a cat, as she climbs and sits where the cats sit. We all thankfully now live in relative peace, and yes I guess I’m now slave to two cats and a dog. Only one bunny comes around each day to feed; not sure what happened to the other.
But I wouldn’t want it any other way, my menagerie and I. They say its a privilege to be loved by any animal and I believe that to be so. I feel it incumbent upon my life to give them the best life I can, and I am committed to that end.