It’s the time of year when we all want to believe in magic. We want to believe in Santa, and in snow that doesn’t cause traffic jams, and in finding a parking space within a mile of the mall. We want to believe in peace and love and goodwill, and tidings of comfort and joy. That’s easy for me this year, because my house has experienced our very own Christmas miracle.
Simba has a friend!
When I brought Simba home, I assumed that his dislike of other cats was permanent, and that he would simply learn to tolerate his new sisters Peggy and Dottie and have enough space to avoid them. I never imagined that he would actually seek them out!
But that’s exactly what he did as soon as he became comfortable in the house. He’d try to join in on their reindeer games and be met with hisses or skepticism, but he never gave up, and his persistence has finally paid off.
Dottie still isn’t sold on Simba’s charms, but Peggy has fully come around. The two of them spend their days galloping up and down the hallways and stairs and hiding behind things to pounce as the other goes by.
For his part, Simba thinks Peggy is the best thing since Betty White. (Did you know she’s one year older than sliced bread?) He wants to do everything she does, which includes everything from eating the food he sees her eat, to discovering the joy of cardboard boxes, to picking up her sneaky habit of exploring the kitchen countertops when she thinks the humans aren’t looking. Simba is fully smitten, and his full-time goal is making Peggy think he’s cool.
And, as it turns out, Peggy is mostly a good influence. (Kitchen counters notwithstanding.) Simba came home without a great sense of boundaries, not really knowing how to play with another cat. Peggy — a feisty and independent girl with a heart as big as the outdoors — has helped him along incredibly. If Simba oversteps, she gives him a hiss and backs him off without hurting him, and within a few minutes she trots up to play again and let him know all is forgiven. She’s quite content to be somebody’s muse and struts around the house with a newfound sense of importance.
She’s also a very patient bridge between Simba and still-skeptical Dottie. Peggy is a creature of boundless energy. She makes sure to play with everybody and runs to check what’s happening if she hears any fussing from her siblings. Dottie is slowly coming around; she and Simba are peacefully coexisting, but she doesn’t like him getting too close. She’s a far more cautious girl.
And, on top of all this excitement, Simba has been in a state of literal wide-eyed wonder since the Christmas decorations went up. A big tree covered in lights and dangly things! Lights outside that glow! Jingly bells on the doors! (Peggy, usually a bundle of frenetic energy during our decorating, has played it extra cool to make sure she looks like a true pro in front of the new guy.)
Given that only a month ago we still had a very tense detente in the house, I’m thrilled and admittedly amazed to see such progress. Simba has become such a curious, playful, goofy, affectionate cat, and his personality just keeps blossoming the longer he’s here.
The grumpy fella I met two years ago is a grump no more, and I couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present.