My friend Will asked how our original children, the two cats Sophia and Frida, are doing. Well, I’d say that, all in all, they are doing OK. Both were around a surprising amount during labor — for the last part of pushing, Sophia was under the couch cover only a couple of feet away from where Rosalie was born. Since then, it is clear that they know something is up. Both have been acting out more than usual, by trying to get into the baby’s stuff, tugging at flowers in vases until they fall over, tipping the Brita filter (admittedly, a specialty of Frida’s before), and puking their pukes in extra-inconvenient places, like in the middle of the circular staircase. Fortunately (for them), they have ignored Rosalie herself thus far.
Now, I’m not a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or even a pet therapist, but I suspect that Reba and I are not meeting the higher levels of Sophia and Frida’s hierarchy of Maslowian* needs. The first level, the physiological, is still being met. They get food twice a day, their litter is cleaned, and they get water both in the bowl and sometimes from the running tap in the sink. They remain physically safe in their space, so their second level is also doing OK. It’s at the love-belonging and esteem levels the changes are happening. It’s safe to say that they are getting fewer pets; Frida is no longer getting picked up all the time; and we aren’t talking to them nearly as much. I believe that they will adjust to this new level of attention, and continue to be pleasant housemates. If not, we will threaten them with the example of Frank — whom they realize is no longer with us.
*Much study remains to be done as to whether a paradigm developed for well-adjusted human beings can be applied to cats, even one as smart and special as Sophia.