There’s a tragic love affair blooming in the flat. My Curly – him of the rough n’ tumble sewer origins – appears to have fallen hard for Cupcake, the delicate green-eyed Shanghainese beauty.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Curly, having arrived on the scene a good two years after the brothers Poppy and Blackie took up residence, has always been a bit of an outcast (unsurprisingly). Despite his horrific history of abuse, he’s still has a wheedling “I just want to be loved” approach to most humans. The Bros have not taken terribly well to it. Poppy has got a bit of a frat-boy asshole attitude and Blackie, the ultimate follower/wingman, would just back him up most of the time. (Although – don’t tell – I’ve seen him cuddle up to Curly when Poppy goes off for his me-time moments.)
Cupcake, even more newly arrived in the house, is unremittingly, unwavering reviled by the Bros. At first, Curly hesitatingly took their side during squabbles – he put in a half-hearted hiss or two – but something must have happened in the past few months, because he is now all-out in love with the girl.
It is highly amusing to watch a cat in love, even more so to watch one in the throes of such hopeless, unrequited adoration. I lock the Bros in the study during mealtimes, and open Cupcake’s door to Curly. Romeo would take a few bites of his kibble, and then run to Cupcake’s room and skulk pathetically in her doorway for a few moments. The princess regards him with barely-disguised contempt as he begins to slink slowly into her room. If she can’t ignore him, she hisses at him. This does not deter his ardour; he is like a moth drawn irresistibly to die on a scorching flame. He leaps onto her couch and stares longingly at her while she does her best to pretend he doesn’t exist. When she spots me standing outside her door, her furry brown head waves about in distress, beseeching me to chase away her large, horrid, scarred, black brute of a suitor.
(He has also recently begun to stake his turf by taking little poos in her poopbox, which I am sure does not help his cause.)
I can’t take a side here, of course. I want Curly to succeed in love, but I also want Cupcake to succeed in being left alone. I want a sweet, syrupy rom-com ending with hearts and butterflies, but I also do not want to forget that life can be a bummer, not everybody wants to be friends, and sometimes when a girl says she’s rather be alone, her agency is more important than any celluloid-aspiring fairy-tale ending.