Dec. 18th, 2004

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Clio just snuck in here. Literally, she crept in on her belly, not at all confident she'd find me alone in here, and timidly asked for a little attention. I was only too glad to give it to her, because these days, I rarely see her. It wasn't long though, before Leila came, saw, and evicted her from my lap. Poor Clio, she's such a shy little pussycat, and she's had a dreadful year...and it's all my fault.

Her troubles started the day I brought Manasse into our happy home, April 29th. For 3 years, she'd been content to play second fiddle to Leila; they'd grown up together, and Clio accepted that Leila was #1 cat from the moment I'd introduced them.

I don't know Clio's earliest history. Unlike the other two, who were given to me at an early age by people I know, Clio was already 12 weeks old when I bought her clandestinely to be a companion for Leila, because I didn't like for her to be alone during the day. It took her 10 days to stop looking for a way to escape, trying to dig her way out through the parquetry flooring, meowing in distress. It was another 10 days before she dared approach me. But with time, she settled in and when, 3 years later, I was offered another kitten, I didn't think twice. Or rather, I thought that if anyone was going to have a problem dealing with another cat in the house, it would be Leila, given that she is the most jealous cat I know.

But strangely enough, Leila and Manasse hit it off straight away. Sure, she hissed at him for two days, but then she took him under her wing and started to mother him. Clio however, wouldn't be mollified whatever he did. I thought all she needed was a little time, but things haven't improved. They fight constantly, viciously, fur flying everywhere -- her fur. And lately, Leila who at first didn't involve herself, has turned on her sister and sides with Manasse -- they frequently gang up on her. My bedroom has apparently been declared off limits to her, and on those occasions when she does manage to get into my lap, it's never long before either of the other two sees her and sends her packing. Mostly, these days, she stays on top of the linen cupboard, out of reach of her mean siblings.

And me, I don't know what to do for the best. I try and protect her as best I can, and if I've told Leila and Manasse off a thousand times while exhorting Clio to show some backbone -- they're cats; they take no notice. In one ear and out the other...Short of sending one away, I can't think of a solution, and I don't want to lose any one of my cats, anyway.

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gamiila

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