Cats are a mystery to me, but if there's one thing I know about them, it's that they do not, as a rule, enjoy the clumsy attentions of the five-year-old. I would imagine that they would avoid a five-year-old who wants to pet their fur against the grain (or whatever you call it), haul them under an arm like they're writhing little footballs, or give them smothering full-body hugs.
And yet. Izzy seems to not only not mind Henry's attentions; she seeks them out. If you're looking for Izzy (because you feel like, say, having a cat claw nick your carotid), you need only look for Henry. If he's watching television, she must be on his lap. If he's playing with Legos, she's right there, breaking the necks of his action figures, scooting Lego bits under the bookcase.
When we first got Izzy I lectured Henry about how to be gentle with bloodthirsty, deadly little kitty cats, but it seems my lectures were unnecessary. She endures hugs that would have me begging for air. She remains limp while he carries her around. In short, she puts up with way more than she would tolerate from any of us. I tried to carry her like that, once. I thought maybe she liked it! There were some injuries.
At first, the feeling between cat and boy was not mutual. Henry let us all know that, in his mind, the dog was #1, pet-wise. The cat was a distant second. He would tell Izzy this as she nudged his shins. "I like you, but I love Charlie." If the deafening purr was any indication, she couldn't have cared less.
When Izzy was spayed last week, the vet told Henry that we had to be extra gentle with her, and I think this has stirred up some dormant cat-love in his protective little heart. When Scott got home that night, Henry lectured him about the necessity of keeping away from her stitches and not hugging her too hard. Not that there's too much of a chance of Scott, who sees Izzy mainly as a poop manufacturer and dog tormenter, ever spontaneously embracing the cat.
So he loves her, but he still doesn't quite get what cats are all about. The other night Henry told me, apropos of nothing, "Izzy really respects us." I didn't have the heart to tell him how wrong he was.
P.S. New Wonderland post up, today.