When we went to the Seattle Aquarium last weekend, I bought a really cute stuffed Sea Otter. I tend to like to buy stuffed animals from zoos because I’ve always loved stuffed animals, especially realistic-looking ones, and I figured that my child parts would be happy that I bought one specifically for them. They’ve been asking David to buy them a stuffed animal for awhile, so I figured that it would be healthy for all of us if I myself pick it out and buy it. My younger parts need to learn that I am just as safe as David, even if they typically are unable to have direct communication with me like they do with David and the cats (I have not been able to achieve co-consciousness with this set of parts. I’m pretty sure that I’m poly-fragmented).
The stuffed animal that I picked out is rather small. I’ll include a picture below. While it is adorable, they had much bigger versions of the same stuffed animal there that would have been nice for me to sleep with at night. However, as gifts in places like Zoos and Aquariums are, the stuffed animals were all over-priced. The little one that I bought was about $14.00, while the bigger ones were $40.00. I wanted to buy other things in the store, including a glass ornament octopus, so I decided upon the smaller version of the Sea Otter.
In addition, when I looked at the smaller Sea Otter, pictures of cats, particularly female cats, cuddling with this size stuffed animal came to mind. David is a big fan of Reddit, and subscribes to threads about cute animals, and I’ve seen pictures and videos on there and sometimes on Facebook where cats cuddle with a favorite stuffed animal. It is very cute. Tempest and Perdi, and sometimes Lucy, have some larger catnip toys that they do like to cuddle with, Tempest in particular. So, in order to appease myself for not buying the bigger size stuffed animal (which is what I really wanted), I told myself that there is a chance that one of the cats will take to this smaller one.
But alas, the cats all seem to be afraid of this new stuffed animal. And, at first, they all thought that it was real. Patrick and Lucy have actually done this before with a stuffed-animal pillow that I brought home in Point Defiance. In 2007, I visited Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium when I was living in Gig Harbor and brought back a pillow that has a tiger protruding from it. It’s a very small throw pillow (at that time I probably couldn’t afford much), and, like the Sea Otter, it looks somewhat realistic. To Patrick and Lucy, though, it looked like a real cat. As soon as they saw it each one started hissing at it and behaving as if they were going to get into a fight with it. This went on for a little while until they recognized that it was not a threat.
I suspected that Patrick and Lucy would do something like this again. This time, they did not hiss, but instead tried to keep their distance. Because I knew that this was likely to happen, I hoped that the other cats would take to the Sea Otter. So, I brought the Sea Otter up to Perdi. She did seem scared, but at the same time didn’t run away from it or get aggressive. At the same time, though, she didn’t seem all that interested.
While I was introducing Perdi to the Sea Otter, Patrick stood about 10 feet away glaring at me and the Sea Otter. I recognized right away that he thought that it was a real Sea Otter. So, I let him know that it was not real and is stuffed. He came right over, then, to check out this new “toy”. But, even though he understood that it is not real, he let me know that it still scared him.
I then let each cat know that the animal was not real and is stuffed. Lucy didn’t seem interested in the Sea Otter at all, but still was afraid of it. Tempest didn’t seem afraid or interested, and Perdi seemed hesitant. Still, I placed the stuffed animal on the headboard of the bed behind where Patrick and Lucy sleep, in the hopes that they will get used to it and possibly take to it. I’ve also tried to play with it with Patrick and Perdi a bit. Patrick and Lucy did sleep next to it. Overall, this is a much better outcome than the last time I bought a stuffed animal at a Zoo mostly because of my new-found skills at animal communication.
I still have yet to try out the stuffed animal with Tempest. When I think about it, I’m not quite sure why I didn’t peg him out as the most likely candidate because he’s the one who loves to play with and cuddle with the bigger cat toys the very most. But, he tends to be aloof to humans and only wants interactions on his terms, which means that I’m hesitant to directly introduce him to a potential toy. I think, though, that I will do this sometime today. Maybe I can get some cute pictures after all!
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