It is bedtime, and my wife and I are standing at the top of the stairs, trying to put the cats to bed. Yes, the Bean and the Bear share their own large bedroom. We call it the “kitty suite”. It has a couple of chairs, ottoman, scratching posts, and all sorts of other kitty accoutrements. Since staying with my in-laws, the “kids” have gotten used to going to their own room at night. So much so, this routine has carried over to the new house.
We hear lonely cries emanating from the downstairs living room. The Bear grunts at our feet sounding annoyed. “C’mon, Bear, you know the drill,” my wife pleads while holding a treat for him to sniff, “go get the Bean and bring her upstairs.” I try calling her, making those kissing noises all pet owners use to coax their pets along. The Bear gives us his impression of an angry Wookie before setting off to track down the Bean.
We noticed early on that the Bean has a tendency to get lost. We attribute this challenge to the possibility she may have suffered oxygen depravation during the unfortunate circumstances that preceded her rescue. When she was just a kitten, if we left the room, she would sit down and start to cry. We would try to call her, but she would just freeze until a familiar face came to save her. In most cases, that face would belong to the Bear.
As I’ve stated before, the Bean and the Bear came as a package. Our fears the Bean would not survive without the Bear became more justified as we watched our two kittens grow up. The Bear acted as a caring, older sibling to the Bean, later this dynamic morphed into a relationship more akin to an old married couple.
One evening in particular, my wife and I were heading up to bed after a long day. The Bear followed us, anticipating warm bodies to curl up next to for the night. As we got to the top of the steps, we heard the Bean crying from downstairs. “Bean! C’mon!” I yelled while making those kissy noises. More crying. “We’re upstairs, Bean. Come on up here,” my wife tried without the kissy noises. Still, more crying. My wife and I looked at each other then down at the Bear. We were both surprised and amazed at what happened next.
The Bear looked up at us and rolled his eyes, making a noise to show his great displeasure (not a growl, more like a grunt). It was like he couldn’t believe we just didn’t get the Bean ourselves…that we were asking him to do our job. With a flip of his tail and another grunt, the Bear went trotting down the stairs. It was as if he was stamping his feet in anger. The Bean meowed, and a few moments later, she followed the Bear up the stairs to where we were standing. Another flip of the Bear’s tail, and they both went into our room and jumped on the bed. Over the next couple of years, this would become a weekly routine.
A few more cries from the Bean echo downstairs followed by a series of grunts and groans from the Bear. A series of footsteps is heard. Bear, heading down. Bean, heading up. They meet on the landing, sniff each other, and trot up the stairs together. The Bear returns to his perch by the window, anticipating his treat. A few beats behind, the Bean jumps up to sit next to him. “Good boy, Bear,” my wife praises while rewarding them both with treats, “now go to sleep, the both of you.”