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Winning over Zebe

August 6, 2012

I knew Zebe liked me and the staring contest kept on going. I learned that when squirrels scratch behind their ears with their hind feet, it means they are thinking. I learned that their tears look like milk. Zebe then always responded to his name and kept interacting with us but he would not allow us to hold him for longer than a few seconds. I asked him: I want to hold you, what shall I do?

Slowly, he showed me the way. I would get up in the morning and change into old clothes. As soon as I opened the bedroom door – from the top of a shelf – Zebe would fly on my face, move down my shoulder just to climb back to the top of my head. At the beginning of his game, I had my face all scratched. A few people asked me if I had picked up a fight with a cat. I learned to keep the tips of his sharp nails clipped, a job that required two people.

Next, I would return to the bed and gently slide Zebe onto the pillows. He would slither on the bed’s cover all the way to the end of the bed where I was waiting and he would start wrestling with my hand. We pretended to rough and tumble until I made him fall on his back; I would roll him side to side while he appeared to be laughing. Then, I would gently massage his back.

Eventually, I was able to hold Zebe for a few minutes – feet up in the air so I could caress under his neck and tickle his golden yellow belly – but he either pretended unawareness or he was really groggy. When he was fully awake, it was almost impossible to catch him, let alone hold him. Still, he seemed perfectly content living with us.

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