We have two cats, Niki and Takeshi. When our first son was born, Takeshi was indifferent. “What,” he seemed to be thinking, “is this lump in the way of my lap?” And he would sit in my lap anyway, baby or no baby. Niki, on the other hand, freaked out. For weeks he kept at least ten feet away, staring wide-eyed at this new, screaming, thing. As Owen got older and more interested in yanking cat tails, Takeshi casually stayed out of his way, while Niki kept letting himself get cornered so we’d have to intervene. He still feels ill-at-ease around Owen.

With Alec, our second son, Takeshi’s response has been pretty much the same casual indifference. Niki’s different this time, though. Niki still lets himself get cornered, but from day one has been very tolerant of the boy, letting Alec pet him in that way only a ten month old can get away with, even affectionately snuggling up next to him to sleep.

Sitting in the living room with Alec the other day, Kiara heard Niki jump off the kitchen counter. “Oh great,” she thought, “he got a cracker.” Niki is nuts for crackers. Thiry seconds later she heard him jump down again and went to investigate. She opened the door between the rooms, which had been open a crack. Sure enough, there he was on the kitchen floor, eating a cracker. Then she turned and saw Alec happily eating the cracker that Niki had brought to the door and pushed through to him before going back to get one for himself.