Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life with Pets: Bina v Zola

Three days after Juju and Three tied the knot, the couple adopted BINA, a black and white little piece of kitteny fluffiness, who sits inside a baby-gated* room by herself while Juju has taken a trip to the bathroom. She grooms her fur with a daintiness that seems to be reserved for cats but abruptly stops when, out of the corner of her eye, she spots a giant slobbering thing staring at her through the gate. She goes to investigate, finding an exuberant ZOLA.

BINA: Who's there?
ZOLA: Are you a friend? I can't get to you to see if you are a friend.
BINA: (hissing) You look scary. I have claws.
ZOLA: Some of my old friends had claws! You must be a friend!

JUJU returns from the restroom and smiles at the seemingly sweet first meeting of the two pets. 

JUJU: So Zola, what do you think of Bina?
ZOLA: I can't get in there.
JUJU: It's best that we keep you guys separate until the little kitty acclimates.
ZOLA: But ... but ... How can I tell if she is a friend?
JUJU: Well, she was kind of hissing at you earlier.
ZOLA: She was just smiling! Sharp-footed puppies love me.
JUJU: You must have a different memory of the other kitties' interactions with you. Do you remember being dive-bombed by Lily Kitty or being swatted by Charlemagne?
ZOLA: Nope!
JUJU: Your memory - or lack of one - is astounding.

Bina continues to survey the scene. She'd been at the Humane Society for a few weeks after being left by an elderly woman who couldn't handle having a kitten, so she'd never been exposed to these things called dogs. But this new human, Juju, seemed to be acting as if it was safe, and she had fed Bina earlier, so she could be trusted. Juju reaches over the baby gate and pets the kitten.

JUJU: You think you'll be okay if I make some lunch for myself? It'll only be a minute.
BINA: Lunch? Hungry?
JUJU: You already ate.
BINA: But ... lunch! Hungry!!
JUJU: I wonder if this will become a theme for you.

Juju scratches Bina's head one last time before heading to the kitchen, leaving Zola trying to peek through the little holes in the gate at her new pal. But as soon as she hears Juju fiddling around in the kitchen, she becomes distracted by the idea of food, so she turns and takes a step toward the sounds of noms. Bina, however, sees this as an opportunity to gauge the situation and sticks her paw out to swat at Zola's legs. 

ZOLA: (barking sharply) Ouch! You have sharp feet!
BINA: I will kill you. (beat) Wait, did that come out of my mouth?
ZOLA: Mommy, the new puppy friend scratched me!
JUJU: (from the kitchen) You'll be fine. Be nice!
ZOLA: I am always nice! Everyone loves me!!
BINA: You are a very slobbery kitty.

Zola backs away from the baby gate and lays down to watch her new friend, and Bina hisses at her one more time, brave because of the barrier between them. Suddenly, Zola has a realization.

ZOLA: (excitedly) You want to play, don't you?!
BINA: What? No. You do not understand feline kind.

Zola assumes play position, her butt in the air, and nips at the slightly exposed kitty paw. Bina jerks her paw back behind the gate and hisses again, which only encourages Zola. The dog bounces in front of the gate and yips a few times, barely escaping the tiny claws. Then she decides to up the ante and runs up and down the hallway, passing in front of Bina and artfully dodging Bina's attempts to swipe at her legs, an incredible amount of agility, considering her status as a lumbering bulldog who manages to fall over her own feet.

ZOLA: Mommy, the new puppy wants to be my friend! We are playing a game!
JUJU: (from the kitchen) That's great!
BINA: I am not playing.

After a few more minutes, Juju returns from the kitchen, clutching a turkey sandwich. Zola, having completely forgotten about her desire for her own food, immediately shifts her attention to the sandwich, and Bina notices that her new mommy is chewing on something, also losing all memory of the terror-based aggression she had focused on Zola. A bit of drool drips down Zola's face, and Bina places her paws on the side of the gate, trying to get Juju's attention. 

JUJU: (beat) Uh, hey, guys. You look like you're having fun?
BINA: Food?
ZOLA: Sammich?
JUJU: Neither of you are getting any of this.

The two animals glance at each other, a bond suddenly developing between them. They stand in silence for several moments, making Juju feel very uncomfortable.

JUJU: Ugh, fine. (rips off a bit of turkey for Bina and a larger chunk for Zola) Here you go, you moochers.

Juju gingerly hands the turkey to each pet and both eye each other as they chew on the spoils, united by a desire to eat whatever comes into view**.

The End.

* I was initially a little worried that she'd figure out how to leap over the gate, but Bina has never been very adept at jumping. Even now, as she's grown into an adult, she has trouble leaping onto things. When she tries to get on the bed, she'll get about halfway up and then have to climb the rest of the way. It's both sad and amusing, but at the same time, I think this may be a very complex scheme to get me to pick her up and carry her everywhere. Bitsy is much more overt in this area, since she just lands on my shoulders and points with her nose to where she wants me to take her.
** It was literally in the next few minutes that I let Zola actually meet Bina, and they were later cuddled together on the couch. It was very weird.
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