Penny and the Beast

As I speak, our cat Beast is trying to figure out how to use a puzzle feeder (a ball that I put treats or food inside that’s intended to give cats an activity when they get bored). He hasn’t been able to do it yet, but he’s a lot closer to getting a treat out of it than Penny.

A while back, one of my expat friends left Korea after getting fired for missing too much work. He had surgery and was hospitalized for two weeks. Having to leave on such short notice was hard, but he also had three cats that he needed to find homes for. He felt guilty for not taking them with him, but I offered to give one of them a home, since Penny was lonely and needed a friend.

In any case, I became a cat mom to a huge, black, one-year old cat. He was vaccinated and fixed, and my friend gave me his carrier and some food, along with one of his favorite toys, in order to help him settle in. However, it took him a while to get used to our place.

My friend had named him Dashiell, after a screenwriter he liked, but I wanted to get to know his personality better before deciding what to call him. At first, he was very quiet and hid in his carrier all the time. For the first few days, he barely even wanted to come out for food and water. He wasn’t used to a set feeding schedule, but after a while, I’d see that the food went missing soon after I put it in his bowl.

Eventually, he warmed up to me enough to eat his food while I was in the room. I would sit at my computer and watch out of the corner of my eye as he’d slink out of his carrier over to his food bowl for breakfast. Every day, I’d offer him my finger to sniff, and he’d do so, but that was often the end of our interaction for the day. I tried using toys to lure him out, but he was never interested.

Now, he’s like a completely different cat. He loves playing with cat toys, he sleeps in my expensive IKEA wingback chair like he owns it, and he play fights with Penny when he feels like it. He eats as soon as I put food in his bowl, and he loves to give me kisses (on the mouth) and demands that I brush him just the way that he likes. We decided to name him Beast, partly because my favorite Disney princess is Belle, who wins over a recluse with love and kindness, and partly because he was huge and intimidating when we first got him, but now we know his sweet nature.

I hope that Beast and Penny can continue to be good pals. It’s not always easy being a cat mommy, and I still have a lot to learn about my two crazy bundles of fur, but their antics are always entertaining. And sometimes, they both give me kisses at the same time.

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