Life with Lewie


Illustration by Jenny Lamont

In which DD realises that unreciprocated love is just a way of life when it comes to Brother Lewie.

The thought of adopting two of the most gorgeous blue-eyed Siamese-looking kittens had my heart bursting with pride and adoration before I even got to meet The Twins, Arty Cat and Brother Lewie.

Dreamily, I imagined their untold love for each other – bonded forever, ‘til death will they part, and how they would love me intensely (I, the one who “saved” them and gave them a forever home like no other) and how they would never want to leave my side, purring simultaneously, constantly vying for my lap or a gentle stroke of my hand… Ah, such lovely pictures I conjured in my head.

Oh, how very far from this fantasy life the beautiful brothers, particularly Lewie, turned out to be. Almost from the moment his dainty little paws toddled into our home, he has treated us with disdain, looking down his noble nose at us as if he is above such pedestrian things as cuddles.

I suppose one must take into consideration that they were rescued on an abandoned building site together with their mom and two other siblings; their feral blood runs deep. And it seems that Lewie got the lion’s share. Things were not helped at all by his sudden onset of cystitis a few days later (read http://www.happytailsmagazine.co.za/dds-blog/to-test-or-taste/), which resulted in discomfort and wounded pride all around.

Maybe he’s just never truly forgiven me for his being kitty manhandled when medicating him – or maybe he just really, really wanted to stay on that building site and live happily ever after doing his own thing.

Preferring to shun the comforts of our cottage, His Lordship spends a vast amount of time away from home. He doesn’t venture too far away but does prefer to hang out at one of his two preferred neighbours. Thankfully, they don’t mind at all and he is welcomed there. (Just for the record: they also don’t get a second glance from him.)

He tends to only slink back home after we’ve gone to bed; he may even wait until the early hours of the morning to curl up in an available doggy bed. When dawn breaks, he’ll indulge in a quick and sullen breakfast and immediately heads off again, not to be seen until much later… sometimes even only the following morning.

I try. Oh, how I try. Every. Single. Day… The moment I see him sauntering along, he has my full and undivided attention. Hmm, maybe he’d prefer to be totally ignored… and I always swear to try but, darn it, I get so excited to see him that I just can’t help myself. 

I’ve had to learn to curb my CCMP (Crazy Cat Mom Paranoia) and keep the faith – this hasn’t been easy, but after nearly four years of sharing my life with Lewie, I’m finally learning to “let go”.

If he does ever happen to come within arm’s reach of me, I do try and make contact but you’d swear I was touching him with a cattle prod! He shrinks back and glares at me as if to say, “Did you touch me?! How very dare you!” And then scuttles off to get as far away from me as possible.

Lewie’s only go-to “person” is Sheba Shanks. He is utterly smitten with her and I have to watch, slightly green with envy, as he purrs like a tractor, flops about lovingly and even grooms Sheba in the tenderest fashion. We can’t be sure exactly how Shebie feels about this untoward attention from “Don’t-look-at-me Lewie”, but she, too, has learnt to go with the flow.

And what of his brother, Arty Cat, you ask? Do the siblings love each other? Not on your nelly. In fact, just yesterday The Dad wondered out loud (after we had to break them up from a kitty fisticuff moment in the bedroom) whether the cat fighting we sometimes hear outside the cottage isn’t actually our very own cats!

So, no, the only time they are together is when someone is being stalked (in a not-so-good way) or when someone punches someone as they walk by. The only way one can tell they are siblings is by their matching colouring, but that’s where their similarities end.

Maybe next time (she says, wistfully), I’ll adopt hand-reared kittens. I believe they are much more, um, human-friendly…