Thursday, May 9, 2013

Turtle and the Baby

Our female cat, Turtle, has recently developed a very weird habit. Every few days or so, we hear her upstairs crying and crying in the girls' playroom, which used to be Kate's nursery. Later, we find that she has dragged out some old baby clothes that I kept for the girls' dolls and left the little sleepers on the landing or on the stairs or on the floor of my bedroom.

It's always the same couple of outfits that belonged the Maggie when she was a baby. When Mags was born, she weighed slightly less than five pounds because of my pre-eclampsia. Our moms had to run out and buy us some preemie sized sleepers for her since nothing else fit. After Kate was born weighing a more respectable six pounds six ounces and wearing regular newborn clothes, I marveled at how truly tiny those preemie outfits were. I decided to keep them when we passed down the rest of the baby clothes because,

1. who else would ever be able to wear them? (Hopefully, no one else we know will ever need them!)
2. the girls could (and now do) put them on their dolls.
3. I'm sentimental about them and all they stand for in my mind and in my memories.

But why is Turtle suddenly so obsessed with them? They aren't any softer or more alluringly textured than any of the other dress up or doll clothes that fill the playroom. In fact, there are other items up there with feathers or fake fur on them that you would think would appeal more to a cat. Nope, it's always these baby outfits. And she cries and cries over them, drags them around in her mouth, and leaves them for us in conspicuous places.

Does she think we misplaced our baby? Does her feeble cat brain remember that there once was a real baby that filled these itty bitty clothes? Does she wonder where that baby went? There's certainly no baby here now. Just some giant girls who run around like terrors, hollering and tap dancing and playing the harmonica. Does she miss her, that little crying baby? Is she worried about our missing baby? Is she accusing me of being a careless mother?

I don't know anything about cat psychology. Perhaps Dr. Amy, our friendly family cousin-vet can shed some light on this behavior. Or maybe we just have a crazy cat and no one will ever know what goes on in that little pea brain of hers.

But I like to think that Turtle knows that there was once a little baby who used to wear those clothes, and that she misses her. I miss her too sometimes. We two old gals, Turtle and I, just like to get those sleepers out now and then and reminisce.


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