For the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot if we hadn’t been too rash in allowing Sam to get a dog. I must admit that the way Astro has attached himself to me has been both flattering and endearing. But his presence in the house has been traumatic for Pepper — and the rest of us, truth be told.
Poor cat. She has developed the habit of spending the days in the garden and the nights in the garage. She couldn’t eat nor relax. She couldn’t walk inside the house without her ears up, watchful with distrust. The moment she’d hear Astro, she’d flee. After a few days of that shit, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I started feeding Pepper in the bedroom. I make her spend the nights in the bedroom. I stay with her and watch like a hawk until she finishes her food to make sure that Astro doesn’t go anywhere near her.
It’s not that Astro hurts her. It’s just that Pepper is, well… she’s so refined in movement and in temperament that any rough play is simply too alien to her. And Astro likes to play with Pepper’s bushy tail which probably makes her think that Astro intends to eat her tail. She had scratched Astro more than once — more than superficially one time when he caught her in a corner and she had nowhere to go. Many times, we had to separate them physically.
What’s worse is what goes on between Astro and Sam’s old she-cat, Bebe. They simply hate each other. They stare at each other then Astro starts growling and Bebe starts a sort of war chant.
But what’s even worse is what goes on between Astro and Alex. If Bebe hates Astro, I think Alex hates him more. Astro is teething and he bites — not bite-bite, you know. He doesn’t bite with the intention of sinking his teeth to draw blood. I suppose his gums are itchy. He has been supplied with toys that he can bite but, sometimes, he loses sight of them and bites anything within reach — slippers, human feet, the edges of skirts and shorts… he almost pulled down Speedy’s shorts the other night leaving his butt half-naked.
So Speedy got home last night to find me in a very bad mood. I had to bear Alex’s screaming, I had to cook with Bebe on the kitchen counter while wondering where Pepper was because Astro was entertaining himself on the floor, I had to move in the kitchen as though I was doing an obstacle course (perhaps,
traipsing tiptoeing through a ballet routine would be more apt) so I wouldn’t step on Astro, nor trip over him, while watching Bebe so she didn’t get too near the stove. All the while, Alex was bitching at Astro AND Bebe. It was stressful. By 9.00 p.m., I wanted to tear my hair out.
Speedy’s reaction was to tell Sam that perhaps Astro wasn’t meant for us, that he plays rough and perhaps we ought to get a more mild-tempered breed. Naturally, Sam objected vehemently. I can sympathize. Sam loves her dog. Truth is, so do I and I’d probably cry myself silly if we were to let him go. Meanwhile, what the heck am I to do?
Perhaps, it’s a phase. We’re still getting used to having a dog in the house. Perhaps, Astro and the cats will find a middle ground somewhere and learn to live with each other without turning the house into a war zone. Perhaps, Alex will learn to love Astro in time. Perhaps. I hope.