Two Pips Plus Four
painting of Maxx and Zaen Some lessons I learned from Maxx & Zaen:

It's not necessary to stay busy. Sometimes we need to just sit and stare.

Lay the groundwork early if you want to retire as a crazy old lady with lots of cats.

Home is wherever you are loved.
Photo of Zaen When Maxx Met Zaen (as told by their Mom, Carlye - one of the Pips)

"My husband and I were perfectly happy with our two cat family. Izzy and Zazie were great pals, and all was right in our world. About a year after their adoption, another cat started howling in our back yard. It was hard to believe that such a wretched noise was coming from such a lovely grey cat. The neighbors complained. We gritted our teeth. And, of course, I fed her. She howled, she ate, and she howled some more. She wouldn't let us get near her. In desperation I set up a 'have-a-heart' trap, reasoning that I really ought to take her to the vet for shots and a microchip check. The clever girl managed to trip the trap without getting caught. My strategy changed from 'have-a-heart' to 'heart to heart,' and I sat in the back yard and talked to her, explaining the reasons why I needed to take her to the vet and how sorry I was. And then she crawled into my lapů really.

She was thin but healthy, and no one appeared to be looking for her. Nor, it seemed, had anyone ever taught her how to play like a cat, either. Poor Zaen was a feline nerd.

Photo of Maxx Zazie and Izzy were way too cool to let Zaen into their clique. They offered no nose rubs, no grooming, no curl up time, no games. Ever hopeful, Zaen kept trying, looking sadder and more bewildered each time she was rebuffed. I even considered the possibility of finding her a new home where she might feel more at ease. But instead, I visited the local shelter to find her a friend. Lo and behold, a little tiger cat named Circo caught my eye. His former owners had surrendered him and his other four feline buddies due to medical reasons. I spent another hour or so wandering around the facility before returning to check on him again. Evidently, he had spent that time thinking about me, too, because shortly after I sat down in his room he crawled into my lap. The shelter volunteer said she'd never seen him do that with anyone else before.

Circo is now known as Maxx, and he and Zaen have become best buddies. Zaen has blossomed from their friendship. She no longer cowers around the other cats, and has made serious headway with her attempts to groom Izzy. Zaen is now our most lap-able and night-cuddling cat. She has even begun to play.

Maxx still suffers from abandonment issues, but is starting to ask for pets with a loud meow. He butts heads with Zaen during feeding time and frequently curls up with her. He enjoys listening to poetry (especially T.S. Eliot) and the sound of clinking bowls."


Prints and greeting cards of this painting can be purchased
on my Artwork for Sale page.

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All images © Alison Whalen