The two kittens played together and fought a lot, mostly for my attention. They were very jealous of one another. From the beginning, each kitten had his own spot. Amos would curl up in my lap and Andy would climb above his brother and expect me to hold him against my chest with one hand and pet him with the other. Of course, I had to alternate between the two constantly to keep them from fighting each other while in my arms.
This worked well for a while, but as all living things do, they grew and grew until it became hilarious to watch one 25-pound cat get comfortable in my lap while the other expected to be held in one hand above his brother. Twenty-five pounds is well above my hand’s weight limit. There were times when my hand grew tired and Andy landed with a thump on top of Amos’s head and the fight was on.
The kittens were wild things, coming into my life unexpectedly. In fact, until recently, Andy wouldn’t have considered sleeping inside all night. I believe old age and the cold mountain winters are factors that drove him inside for the night. Andy is the cat in front in the photo.
What makes this photo funny is the fact that these two cats had fought all night for the pleasure of the company of one female cat ready for breeding. They could get vicious when a female was involved, chewing off the corners of ears, leaving cuts under the eyes and biting the muscles of the leg. When the moment had passed, they were brothers who loved each other.
It was not unusual for either one or both of the cats to be gone for three or four days. Both Amos and Andy had been gone for a couple of days when Andy came dragging home. He was tired, hungry and thirsty, as always. Two more days passed and I wasn’t worried, much, when Amos still had not come home. After a full week, Mike told me he had seen Amos down by the creek behind the house. My heart hurt so badly that I could not cry at first. It was Andy who wrenched the tears from my eyes.
Every morning, when I opened the door to call Andy in for breakfast, he would wait at the door, looking back for Amos to appear. Amos was the dominate male and Andy had always acquiesced. I would have to pick Andy up and bring him inside. If I hadn’t, Andy would sit outside the door, looking back for his brother, waiting forever.
Andy was confused. I believe he was hurt at the idea that his brother had left him. He refused to let Amos go. Every morning, and any time that Andy wanted in, he refused to cross the threshold before the Alpha male. This went on for nearly a year. The brothers had comforted one another when abandoned by their furry mother (they were about four weeks old at the time). They had played, fought, ate their meals, napped in my lap and slept together for seven years. That is nearly a lifetime for a wild cat.
These days, Andy doesn’t wait at the door anymore, at least, not as often. Some bonds just can’t be broken. Not even death can break the bond of love. Every time Andy hesitates, looking back beyond the knoll toward the creek where Amos last left his scent, my heart hurts all over again. I miss Amos and I wish I knew how to explain his absence to Andy.
If two cats, born of the same mother, can love each other unconditionally, why can’t children raised together love one another the same? How can anyone say that he loves God the Father and not love his fellow man? No two people can or will agree on all things at all times, but disagreeing shouldn’t mean that love can’t exist.
As hard as Amos and Andy fought each other, they never gave the first thought about curling up together and taking a nap. Is it possible that cats have this thing called life figured out? I think they had all confidence that each was safe, from each other and all others, when the day’s business had been completed and it was time to come on home and rest.