Cat Relationships: It’s Complicated

Cats build special bonds with their fellow felines and with the people who love them.

That cat making eyes at my gorgeous Fergie is Batman. He lives next door and their relationship is complicated. Batman’s always spying on her because I live in temperate Southern California and my door is often open. Sometimes I find out he’s there when Fergie starts madly hissing. Other times I catch them as they are in this picture, looking into each other’s eyes or touching noses through the screen. She’s the fickle one; he’s always happy to see her.

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Batman’s owner is Trudy. He’s an indoor/outdoor cat mainly because he chose things to be that way. I’m not sure where he used to live, but several years ago he started showing up in the patio area of my building, then made his way upstairs where he met Trudy, who soon invited him in. One thing led to another and Batman began staying for meals and eventually sleepovers. Now he’s inside every night and when Trudy’s at work, but when she’s home he gets to come and go as he likes.

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My relationship with Batman also is complicated. He always looks at me with suspicion and if he’s outside when I come home he always runs upstairs and into his apartment, even though we’ve been neighbors for a long time, I regularly catch him peeping inside my apartment and he might be in love with my cat. I understand that cats can be weird, but the complicated part of our relationship is that everything changes when Trudy goes out of town, like she just did over the weekend. When I’m in charge of him, Batman weaves between my legs when I prepare his meals.

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When I sit on Trudy’s squishy chair to read magazines or watch TV he sprawls out on the arm and purrs as I pet him. The other night when I went over to his apartment to settle him in for bed and found that he wasn’t home, I first went downstairs to look for him in the plants and in the alley where he likes to hang out. When I couldn’t find him I went back upstairs and called his name, thinking he might be under a bed or in a closet. Moments later he waltzed in from the outside. He actually came when I called!

I’m sure the reason for his change in personality has to do with food, since I’m his waitress when his person’s away. Or maybe he’s just so loyal to Trudy — he chose her after all — that he doesn’t have room in his heart for any other person, until she goes away. A few times a year Batman and I get to be friends. I guess that’s good enough.

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