As I was pondering the title for this blog, I realized that referring to what follows as the aftermath is doubly true; meaning, the aftermath of the big buildup that is Christmas, as well as the aftermath of losing Megs.
I'm in a weird mood tonight. (Could part of it be because I've been watching The Learning Channel's (TLC) marathon of heartbreaking birth defects for hours? I just watched "Born Without a Face" and am now engrossed in "Born With Two Heads." Why? Why???). Barring the odd ambience as I type this entry, here's the setup: I am in bed, propped on pillows, typing on my laptop. Jess is curled up at the top of the bed by my pillow. Piper is curled up at the bottom of the bed, a mirror-image of jess. Now, the vet warned that the cats might grieve, even refuse to eat. I knew Piper would be thrilled about the whole thing, and I was right, but I expected something from Jess. After all, he's known Meggie his whole life; when he came to me as a kitten, 10 years ago, she was already well-established in the household and took over "training" this young male cat. I would describe their relationship more as that of siblings, rather than mother/son. I never saw much of a maternal instinct shining through even as Megs would tackle him, hold him down, and roughly bathe his disgusting boy kitten self. You could just see the cartoon bubble above her head saying "BOYS. Gross." So she would clean him, then set him free and ignore him for the next few hours. As you would expect, Jess spent his kittenhood trying to get her to love him. He desperately wanted her to play with him, and she would sometimes. For a while, she always had the upper hand (as Steph witnessed years ago when she came home w/me at lunch to meet Jess, and got to witness Meggie dribbling his little gray head in a moment of sheer frustration). Until. Jess grew up. And ended up weighing twice as much as her. And when he realized this, he took every opportunity to sit on her. To jump on her. He loooovveeeddd jumping on her back and pinning her to the floor, just to hear her complain. She was a good sport about it all. I think she did love Jess a little, but theirs was a complicated relationship. I always thought she was somewhat relieved when I brought Piper home, because then Jess had a younger playmate and he left Megs alone more. Megs had no problem with Piper, it was Piper who hated/feared Megs. But I digress.
ANYWAY, while I expected Jess to react in some way to her death, I knew he would not stop eating. I mean come on. We're talking about Jess the 21-pound cat. He has the same problem as his mom - he eats to medicate stressful emotions. So now, he's been eating more than ever, and can I blame him? No, he has not stopped eating, but he is reacting. He seems to be taking it out on Piper. Ever since I got home last night, if Piper comes near him he growls. She is giving him his space, but I know she's confused and a little hurt. It's almost like he blames her or something. I dunno, it's very possible i'm reading too much into this. I just hope it's a phase and it passes and they become pals again.
I overlap cats on purpose, you see; I never want one of my kitties to be left alone, grieving. I adopted Piper knowing that she would be a companion for Jess when Meggie was gone. They're all 5 years apart. So yes, I'll say it: it has occurred to me to get a 3rd cat at some point, so that the same holds true for Piper when Jess is gone. But right now it's not a consideration. I'm a little too raw, and the cats are too. Jess is ANGRY, people. Oh, the anger. He doesn't just growl at Piper, he growls at me when he wants me to stop petting him, or if he sees me pet Piper. He's just plain mad. So there will be no addition to the Young household for quite some time. I'd say maybe never, but I never say never.
I was going to go into my Christmas recap here, but I'm tired and the next show in the TLC marathon just started: "Little People, Big Dreams." More later...