The Full Circle of Acceptance – Kizmet Learns About Love and Family
My cats are fascinating to me for many reasons, but one of the most incredible would have to be the relationship Zoey continues to maintain with her “kittens” who are now almost four years old. I am positive she still knows these are her children, and I am equally as positive they know she is their mother. I say this because I have read on numerous sites that as time goes by, a mother cat will no longer recognize an older cat as being one of her own and will just think of it as another cat in the household.
When Zoey gave birth to her kittens, it was a stressful time – she rejected them the first couple of days, not quite comprehending her role as caretaker and I had to set up camp with her to make sure she stayed with them and gave them warmth and nourishment. Once she realized that she was indeed a Mama, and the kittens were her responsibility, her motherly instincts kicked into high gear and she has been a devoted, protective, and caring mother ever since (with an occasional bout of crankiness and exasperation like any mother experiences with her children). I know this firsthand because we kept three of her kittens – Mia, Peanut, and Rolz and the bond between them is irrevocable. I marvel everyday at the social dynamic they share, especially when it comes to her grooming and playing with them.
Zoey will often initiate play with them and when she does, it is done with a bold intent and purpose in mind. They typically don’t start the playing with her and are more inclined to roughhouse with one another or bully one of the older cats. With Zoey, because they respect her parental status, they are somewhat submissive and shy with her, sensing that they should not cross any lines that might get them reprimanded.
Play will always result in Zoey grooming them through the process. She will bite, growl, and nip at them, then quickly wash them, while gently holding them in place with her front paws. All of them adore the attention, especially Mia who seems to melt into a complete pool of love and devotion when she is allowed such special bonding time with her Mama. It is quite a sight to witness – at this point, all of the kittens are bigger than her, yet they still respect her role and so she may as well be the size of a lioness in their eyes.
So, when I happened to catch Zoey with Kizmet the other day, I could not believe what I saw. She was interacting with him like he was a long lost son, grooming him, wrestling, and telling him with her paws not to be so rough. You could tell he was a bit confused – almost like he remembered what it was like to have the love of a mother, but very awkward with the emotion, because it was something that was taken away from him at a young age.
We will never know his true history, other than that he was found on the streets and they have estimated his birth date to be July 4th! I don’t know when he was found or how much time he had spent with his mother. I do know that he and Zoey have now communicated and connected on an entirely different level and that she has accepted him into our household with pure intentions. She still gets annoyed at him, but she gets annoyed with everything, so that is normal and I catch them playing together all the time now!
Despite how incredible the moment was that I witnessed between them, what happened a few days after that was even more amazing to me and such a testament to the intelligence and compassion these glorious creatures have. Dan was helping me take some pictures for the review/giveaway I did a couple days ago on the Sleepypod mobile pet bed carrier and Kizmet and Rolz happened to be sitting on the window sill together. As usual, Kizmet started to get overly excited and launched into biting and playing with his older brother. Kizmet does not know how to gracefully play with his new housemates and it is almost as if he does not understand that he can sit next to one of them with launching into attack mode!
Rather than run off, hiss, or fight back, Rolz gently held Kizmet at bay with his paw and started to groom him like Zoey did with him when he was a kitten. Kizmet seemed perplexed at first, and then he started to calm down, realizing he did not have to play so aggressively to get love and attention. Here is the series of pictures that Dan was able to take to capture that priceless moment in time…
A few moments after that, both boys left the window sill but it is clear that something very special occurred. Sure, Kizmet is still the annoying little brother, but there is no doubt that he has been fully accepted into the family and that he truly belongs…