Dragon in Exile

"You'd tell me if there was something in my hair, right?"

People often ask me how my dragon gets along with the cats. The truth is that when I just had Poco we got along fine. Zensai was out of his cage almost daily. He’d run around for a while, then climb the couch to lay with Poco and I and watch a movie. He loves TV. Especially things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the screen is mostly dark.

There was only one instance between Po and Zensai when I first let him run around the house. He was dozing off by a chair. She walked over, casually. She sat down. She looked at me. She looked at him. She looked at me. She looked at him. WHAM! She bopped him on the head, looked at me with a “and that’s all I have to say about THAT” expression, and strolled off as casual as she’d arrived. Zen was a bit stunned. But fine. That afternoon we were laying on the couch – all three of us – like nothing had ever happened.

That all changed when we got Oliver. Oli ruined Zen’s life.

But not the way you’re probably thinking. Oliver loooooooooooves Zensai. If I take Zen out of his tank a grey kitten arrives in seconds – purring, stretching a paw out to pet, jumping up and down to be picked up as well. He makes a total fool out of himself.

Zensai? Does NOT return the feeling.

Bearded dragons are capable of doing a lot of damage, physically, to us fleshy creatures. They can bite down to the bone. So I really want to avoid that particular visit to the vet. But more importantly, I want to avoid the emotional damage this attack would do.

I made a big mistake on Oliver’s first birthday. The retirement facility that had rescued him was having a birthday party for the cats – most of the litter was adopted by staff so the residents were involved in their lives – and Oliver was invited. Oliver is twice the size of his brothers and sisters. He’s also the only one with long hair. The residents didn’t pay any attention to the weird, unrelated cat. And then, in a horrible moment, Oli jogged up to his siblings in a friendly “hey guys!” way. They turned and looked at him in disdain. Hope punched him in the nose. They turned away.

I saw Oliver crumple in on himself inside. It. Was. Awful.

So now Zensai is a mostly inside his tank lizard. It was one thing when I could let him out and just hold Oliver, kicking and trying desperately to get down to play with his brother, because Po didn’t do anything. But with Obi as well? Forget it.

"Black Beard the pirate? He had nothing on me."

Go ahead, mention that houses have doors. Have you ever heard a desperate 14 pound cat trying to get through a door? That’s no fun for anyone involved.

Obi, by the way, seems genuinely surprised when a sound comes from the box of light. I don’t think he knows there’s anything living in it. I mean, he’s SEEN Zen. But Obi hits his head a lot.

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3 responses to “Dragon in Exile

  1. Thats so sad what happened to Oliver. A girl cat treated my Babyboy like that when he was young. He just wanted to make friends but she treated him like an enemy. I think it shocked and hurt him so much, that is why he is now a bully to other cats. (The girl cat was a recue I tried to adopt but I had to return her and so got Littlegirl instead. But the damage was done)

  2. Maybe I should be happy that Callie Jean is so… how to say it… “giving” in her affections… instead of worrying about her slutting around with raccoons! If she ever figures out how to open the sliding door, it could be ugly!

  3. Awww…poor Oliver! It’s sweet that you are protecting him from getting his feelings hurt again. And the physical damage doesn’t sound like it would be too fun for him either. Ouch.

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