It’s often said that cats are self-sufficient, individualistic creatures, but my two kitties are more symbiotic than independent. My cats — Ghost Cat and Specter — enjoy the kind of super close friendship that humans make movies and Facebook memes about. I would say they are the wind beneath each other’s wings if they didn’t have a history of brutally mutilating every feathered toy or duster they’ve ever encountered. They’re definitely no friends to fowl, but the bond between my cats is as strong as the odor of their litter box. They eat together, sleep together, and often annoy my husband together. Every once in a while they fight and the fur will fly, but this pair of BFFs always licks and makes up.
My cats’ friendship is amazing to behold, but they haven’t always been buddies. In fact, when they first met I suspect each saw the other as more of a threat than a potential Thelma to her Louise. Specter was just a wee kitten, so she wouldn’t understand that reference to an R-rated movie from 1991. But she did understand that fully grown Ghost Cat wasn’t exactly thrilled about having a new roommate. Ghosty had been an only pet since we adopted her and was accustomed to our undivided attention. It took some planning and patience, but eventually she came to see the kitten not as someone trying to take attention away from her, but rather as someone who needed her attention. That’s when Ghost Cat adopted this lonely little kitten the same way we adopted her.
As Specter grew — eventually becoming bigger than Ghost Cat — their relationship evolved from that of a surrogate parent and child to a couple of grown besties. Together they began to take great pleasure in messing with my husband and the two dogs we adopted after Speck. This equalization of my cats’ relationship happened slowly, as Specter entered adolescence and then adulthood. Over time she stopped waiting for Ghost Cat to take the lead in all their mischief — but she never stopped wanting to be with Ghosty. I swear, I’ve never seen Specter as sad as she was during the week that Ghost Cat was sequestered in the spare bedroom, recovering from having gotten under our 80-pound dog’s clumsy foot. For a pair as tightly bonded as they are, being separated was practically torture.
Except for that brief break, my cats do pretty much everything together. They co-nap a lot, wreck stuff as a team, and present a united front against the dogs in their quest to conquer every single dog bed that comes into this house. While they are best buds and allies in the war against canine comfort, Specter and Ghost Cat do have very different personalities.
You would think that Speck — who has lived with humans since kittenhood — would be the more social of the two, but Ghost Cat (a former stray) definitely loves people more than her BFF does. Specter needs alone time every once in a while and surprisingly, her need for solitude doesn’t seem to bug Ghosty much. As long as Ghost Cat has me, my husband, or one the dogs to hang with, she doesn’t mind if Specter takes off for a while — but there is a limit to her patience.
If Specter disappears for too long (something that’s becoming less and less frequent as she leaves her angsty teen years behind), Ghost Cat will find her and forcibly herd her back to the main living area of the house. The other day I watched as Ghost Cat (apparently tired of my company) headed to the basement to round up her furry playmate. She chased Specter up the stairs, and when they got to the top I noticed a black tuft of fur in Ghosty’s mouth. I scolded her but didn’t need to as Speck stood up for herself, tackling the older cat. The scuffle eventually turned into a cuddle, as it always does with these best buds. Although they occasionally fight like Scar and Mufasa from The Lion King, my cats’ relationship is really more like that of Timon and Pumbaa, characters who originated in the same film.
Now there’s a movie reference even a kitten can get.