A few weeks ago, Tanya and her son Felix, two of our foster cats, moved into the new home that we had chosen for them. It is a cosy flat on the third floor of a small modern block of flats. Being only a few hundred yards from shops that sell everything for cats and only a short car journey away from the vets, we thought it was ideally situated. The flat has recently been redecorated and is fully furnished. With it came, as an added bonus, two live-in cat-loving housekeepers and a cockatiel.
Although Tanya and Felix were unable to visit their new home before moving in, it took them only a few days to decide that it was very much to their liking. They saw in its hallway with its wooden floor the potential for noisy chase games early in the morning when they needed to awaken their housekeepers in order to get them up to make them breakfast. They realised that once the window sills had been cleared of the housekeepers' clutter, they would be ideal places for frequently spying on the world outside and also for a spot of sunbathing. And they admired the chairs and settee in the living room. With their soft fabric covers, they instinctively knew that they would be very comfortable to sit on.
Tanya and Felix thought their housekeepers appeared kindly and sympathetic and soon discovered that their first impressions of them had been right. They also quickly found that their housekeepers provided excellent meals and were happy to spend lots of time talking with them, playing with them and making a fuss of them. Much to Tanya's delight, they seemed only to willing to accept her demand that she should be viewed often as the centre of attention.
Now when Tanya wants to be the centre of attention, she chatters non-stop and often rolls around on the floor in full view of everyone. At such times, her housekeepers have been known to break off a telephone conversation or interrupt their viewing of a television programme in order to either talk to her or have a game with her.
Now the cockatiel who had been the centre of attention in the household until Tanya and Felix arrived, did not take too kindly to their arrival. Hoping to scare them into leaving post haste, he squawked at them, flapped his wings menacingly and showed them his sharp beak. His behaviour almost succeeded in getting Felix to leave straightaway. However Tanya, was not at all frightened by him. In fact, she found him rather fascinating and rushed to sit alongside his cage. When he squawked again, she answered him. Her response took the cockatiel by surprise and he fell silent. He must have wondered what the strange furry, four-legged creature with the funny voice sitting nearby was.
It seems likely that, as yet, neither Tanya nor the cockatiel has been able to work out what type of creature the other is. However, one thing is certain; they appear to have decided that they enjoy each others company and a friendship between them may be developing.
Now, several times each day Tanya can be found sitting beside the cockatiel's cage chatting with him. As yet, neither her son nor their housekeepers have understood one word of their conversations.
Felix wants his mother to be happy with her new friend but as yet he is not sure that he can approve of their relationship. As he sits behind the settee eavesdropping on their conversations, he worries lest it should all end painfully.