Friends At Last: Building Trust in the Animal World

Molly has now overcome her resistance  to the idea of an alien cat in the house with her (albeit her mother)

But it took  Willow a little while to overcome her annoyance at her daughter Molly’s initial rejection of her.

Willow and Molly 27 Oct 2013 (photo credit Abigail Robinson)
Willow and Molly 27 Oct 2013 (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

She spent a few days expressing her annoyance, and trying to exert some discipline.

She was a strict mother,and we watched her setting the boundaries.

“Behave!” she would say to Molly.

And then she discovered what it’s like to have your young one defying orders.

And later I was reminded of  one of those classic situations which many young mothers bemoan; the toddler who won’t even let her mother go to the toilet alone.

Molly has been pushing at the door of  the litter tray while Willow is in it, trying to jump in with her.

“Can’t I even go to the toilet in peace?” cries Willow.

Now we hear the scampering of feet across the floor as the two play-fight with each other and chase each other from room to room.

Relaxing? No. And sometimes those play-fights look horribly real.

But I reassure myself that the claws are retracted.

Otherwise the squeals and  squeaks and cries that  come from 8 week old Molly would be screams of pain.

Watching a relationship of mutual trust being built in the animal world has made me reflect on how this may apply to us humans too. Suspicion breaks down, the first tentative steps are taken; building trust is a process of experimentation and small moves forward. So we see ourselves and our own characters partially reflected in animal behaviour.

Mother and Daughter Relationships – Poignant Family Drama in the Animal World

Mother and daughter relationships – a popular trope in TV sitcoms/family sagas/romantic fiction/women in jeopardy/social and romantic comedies and many other stories.

And in the last few days my family have been immersed in a poignant drama in our home between a mother and a daughter.

A mother who was separated from her little girl three weeks ago, and  is excited to be together with her, and who longs to come close and look after her again.

And a baby who was separated from her mother, but now they’re reunited, she’s suspicious  and hostile.

She spits, hisses and growls at her mother. And the hurt mother, cross and rejected, growls back – through the glass door that separates them.

The name of the mother: Willow, age 18 months.

Willow investigating the scratching post (photo credit Abigail Robinson)
Willow investigating the scratching post (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

And the name of  her little daughter: Molly, age 8 weeks.

Molly age 8 weeks (photo credit Abigail Robinson)
Molly age 8 weeks (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Willow is a tortoiseshell/tabby cat and Molly a sparky little dark tortoiseshell.

Ever since Willow and Molly arrived in our home, side by side in their cat-carrier,  courtesy of the Cats Protection League two days ago, I’ve watched this little family drama in the world of felines with a mixture of emotions.

And so has my own teenage daughter.

“It’s your mum! She just wants to be nice to you!”

No, she’s hiding in a hammock of her own creation at  the back of the sofa; a hammock we’d never known was there.

Perhaps next week when I blog  again, mother and daughter will be reconciled and happily curled up together again.