Lily, until recently, was always the low cat on the totem pole.
An innocuous little grey kitty, sibling of Thomas and Stripe, she almost didn’t come home with us. I was taking Thomas from the shelter, and Marley’s son had picked out Stripe, and then there was Lily. A little grey kitten who turned into cement when anyone looked at her, much less touched her. Scared silly of the world. We weren’t planning on a third cat, but we knew no one else would take her, so she came home with her siblings.
If Lily were a grade school child, she would be the one who got picked last for any team. She is more often under the bed or hiding in a cat bed than she is front and center. She is more likely to groom the other cats in the house than be groomed. She has always been healthy and happy, I hope. But she shied away from us, except in the bathroom. She makes a beeline for the door whenever you enter the bathroom, and she is very insistent on being pet there and only there.
All of this has changed recently. When Annie joined us late last year Lily was the cat who hung out with her and showed her how to be an indoor cat. All of a sudden Lily had a job, a role in the house. Her confidence grew by the day. She started playing with interactive toys in the midst of all the other cats. She taught Annie how to play and smoothed her way into the company of the other cats. Lily hung out with Annie in the upstairs cat room, while the rest of the crew who normally inhabit the place moved downstairs away from the intruder. Once Annie was accepted by the gang the usual cats moved back upstairs and resumed their normal existence.
Enter Blackie. Once again the cats have moved out – even Annie!! She now hightails it out of the cat room with the rest of the crew when she sees Blackie’s crate. Short memory that little one has. And once again, Lily is the ambassador. She hangs out with Blackie and is showing her how to play with interactive toys. Lily, who usually eats downstairs, is eating upstairs with Blackie, not wanting her to have to dine alone. And throughout the day we usually find Lily in the upstairs cat room, sunning and enjoying her role as host to Blackie.
It is lovely to see Lily blossom after all these years – she is about 9 – and to watch her show the new kids how to blossom too. She was the cat I thought least likely to assume the role, but this isn’t the first time I’ve been wrong, and it won’t be the last.