I have put my foot down with the Cowboy and insisted that Puckett remain "my" baby as opposed to the other three animals who act like complete idiots whenever he is around. Puckett is "my" girl, "my" cat, "my" princess, and I told the Cowboy that he is not permitted in any way, shape, or form to spoil her or cajole her into favoring him over me as he has managed to do with the rest of my pets.
Don't get me wrong. My pets still think I'm God when it's just the five of us and, of course, I still feed them and pick up their poop. But Puckett is the only one of the four who has remained steadfastly "my" girl and while she is civil and accepting of the Cowboy, she still prefers me over him.
I cannot say the same for the overindulged, spoiled, infidelitous creatures that are my other two cats and my German shepherd, Tess. The ungrateful little parasites. For the last five years I have poured my heart and soul into caring for these clingy and needy pets and the minute some good looking hunk enters our lives they leave me in the trail dust of their stampeding paws, each bowling the others over in their rush to get to him. I have always abhorred people who dump their pets and/or friends the minute they find themselves in a relationship (always stating that my pets have been with me longer than any man), but what does one do when one's loyal, darling pets dump her for the new boyfriend? Tess has gone so far as to try shouldering me aside in her rush to race up the stairs in pursuit of the Cowboy. To reinforce my unpopularity I had to discipline her for that little move. In the past she wouldn't have dreamed of pulling a stunt like that. Percy has given me up as hopeless and now will sit in the kitchen, gazing at the Cowboy with great big green mushy eyes, purring and meowing invitations to play (which, of the course, the Cowboy enthusiastically indulges). I'm good enough to bother in the bathroom for a brief few minutes, but then it is back to being glued to the Cowboy's side. Willow will find any excuse to jump into the Cowboy's lap and settle herself smugly and comfortably, rumbling away as though she hasn't a care in the world. Me she just looks at with scorn (probably because she still hasn't forgiven me for keeping her locked up at night to prevent her from peeing next to the litter box rather than in it).
It is official. I am "mean mommy" and the Cowboy is the "fun one."
Puckett, however, still loves me. She has been aloof since the Cowboy has joined our lives, friendly and civil, but keeping herself distant. She enjoys sleeping on his jacket when he leaves it at the door and she has staked out a box of Christmas ornaments he left at my house as her favorite bed. Here is where she has spent most of her time until recently. She will play with a dignified air at times when the other two cats are making complete asses of themselves, haughtily batting at a ball or pawing at the plastic wand toy dangled enticingly in her face, but she is never too excitable. She is one of those cats who does not want you to think that she is enjoying herself too much just to please you. When the Cowboy pulls out the laser - that infernal red dot that seems to drive all cats crazy - Percy and Willow will go bananas chasing the dot all over the floor and even up the wall to the point where they will chase their tails in circles in an effort to catch it. Puckett stares at it with interest but would never deign to lower herself in such a manner as to chase something so silly, as if she knows it cannot be caught and she refuses to demean herself in such a way. She plays, but she does not go overboard in "bonding time" with the Cowboy. If he is lucky she will give his leg a brief rub on her way to the food bowl.
Last night she was sitting on the arm of the couch next to the Cowboy while we watched TV. She has not sat on the couch in months, has not graced us with her presence in the TV room in months as the other animals have, sacked out snoring or playing with the various toys. Last night however she wanted some "Puckett Time" with her humans. The Cowboy encouraged her to come sit on his lap and I gave him a look and told him "Oh, no you don't. That is MY Puckett and you are not going to turn her over to the Dark Side!"
I needn't have worried. She accepted his invitation to ease her twenty pound bulk into his lap only to slide on over to me and settle herself on me instead. After that nothing would move her from lap without claws clamping down to keep her stationed. She allowed the Cowboy to scratch behind her ears, but it was my lap she wanted to snuggle on.
This morning she once again joined me on the couch and shared some breakfast and Spongebob Squarepants before I went to work, lounging gracefully on the seat beside me, gazing up at me with her large, unblinking, adoring eyes as if to say "Don't worry, Mom. I'm still all yours."