It had been ten days since Baby Elliott and Missy, his mother, had come to stay at Greymalkin’s house. Greymalkin had discovered two things in the past week or so. Babies do NOT always smell fresh and they make an awful lot of noise, usually when one is trying to sleep. Most of the time, Elliott was a delightful baby. Once Missy saw that Greymalkin wouldn’t try to hurt the baby she’d let him lie on his special quilt on the floor when Greymalkin was in the house.
This quilt was special for several reasons. Missy had told her mother that her friend Crystal had made it for her and it had all sort of fun things sewn right into it. There were pockets around the edges that held little stuffed toys. One was a cat that meowed when you squeezed it (or stepped on it to the humans’ surprise), a tailless mouse, and a brightly colored ball made of fuzzy cloth. On the quilt itself was a section that made crinkly sounds just like the ones her favorite toy made. Another part was soft and fluffy, just like a baby lamb. There was even a little fabric door that opened and inside it was a mirror so that Elliott could look at himself. Elliott was still a bit young to use a lot of those things by himself, but his mommy would sit on the floor holding him and show him the various things and help him play with them.
Greymalkin liked playing with the quilt too, and helped entertain Elliott with it. She’d walk across the crinkly part and then look around as though she didn’t know where the noise came from. She also would step on the cat to make it meow, and then meow back at it. Elliott loved that the best. She’d pull the toys out of the pockets and push them over to the baby so he could grab them. She’d discovered that Missy wouldn’t let Elliott play with toys she’d picked up in her mouth, so she was careful to only use her paws. She’s also learned to use only her velveted paws on the quilt, as Missy was worried that it would get pulls in the lovely fabric.
Last night Greymalkin had attended the Friday night meeting of the Cat Club as usual. The meeting had been shorter than usual, as Fuzzy had made good on his vow not to return to the meetings since they didn’t need him anymore. The cats agreed they felt bad that Fuzzy had his feelings hurt. On the other hand, they agreed the meetings were a lot friendlier without his sarcastic presence. She’d sat and talked with Peep and LT after the meeting for a while and discussed Elliott with Bunny. Bunny thought she’d like to have a quilt like Elliott’s for herself.
Greymalkin headed home, happy to have spent the evening with her friends. As she neared her house, she heard Elliott’s cries. She’d heard hungry cries, needing a diaper change cries and come play with me cries, but this one was different. It sounded almost frantic. She picked up her pace, worried that something had happened to her human or Missy. She burst through the cat door, and Missy said, “Greymalkin, thank God you’re back! Elliott has crying for the past half-hour and the only thing I can think was that he missed you. Look, Elliott. Here’s Greymalkin, home again.”
She sat down, tipped her head and said to Elliott, “I’m here, dear. Did you miss me?” His cries slowed down and he reached out for her with his chubby little hands. Greymalkin walked towards him, and sat at Missy’s feet. “I hope you weren’t crying because I was out. Your mother and grandmother were here to entertain you and provide everything you need. I am perfectly happy to play with you when I’m home, but I can’t be here all the time. A cat has her own responsibilities, you know.” Actually, Greymalkin felt guilty, but she didn’t want to set up a relationship where Elliott expected her to be there every time he cried. If she wanted that, she’d have had a litter of kittens, for sheesh’s sake.
Elliott stopped crying altogether when Missy put him down on his quilt. She crinkled the quilt for him and he cooed and then she made the toy cat meow from its pocket, responding to it, “Meow nicely for Elliott. Make him laugh, now.” Greymalkin then walked over and nuzzled Elliott and one wildly waving hand smacked her tender nose. She backed up, blinking. This was definitely what Bunny was talking about. Babies could be dangerous.
Photo courtesy of Crystal Keller Lee - http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/photo.php?pid=31606355&id=1113733816&ref=fbx_album