Friday, July 10, 2009

The Bonding Chronicles 4: This Time It's Personal

No humans were harmed by the disapproval in this picture.

So, after nearly two months of worrying, fretting, pulled hair, and nearly-ripped out throats (and that is just from the people involved), the bonding process had a little triumpth this morning.

She was licking his head.


I know I sound like a lunatic, but this is a very big deal. Yes, it was separated by bars, and yes, grooming is a form of dominance, but it is not aggressive as, say, charging and growling is. Believe me, I was growing very discouraged about whether or not they would ever get along, so this is a monster-sized deal.

I woke up this morning to the usual sounds of Sebastian running around his cage, ready for greens and pets and ready for mommy to get up. It got rather quiet, and I opened my eyes and looked towards the cage to see Viola in front of it; not an unusual site. She usually comes to see him in the morning, does her morning pee next to the bars, and then follows me out to the kitchen for her own breakfast. Except this morning I saw her doing something at the bars, so I grabbed my glasses to get a better look.

They have a habit of sniffing each other through the bars; in the beginning, she would only tolerate this for a few moments before growling at him, and he would hop away. Lately, they have been sitting together more often, sniffing each other through the bars, and she has not growled. This morning, I saw her head moving, and he had his head down to her, and I realized: she's licking his head. She would lick for a few seconds, stop and look at me, then lick a few seconds more. She did this until I got out of bed and went to tell my sister (I was too excited/astonished to keep quiet). When I came back in she was lying against the bars, which she has been doing a lot more lately.

Is it possible she has finally realized he is a permanent fixture, and kinda nice to have around? Believe me, this is not an overnight thing; there is still a lot of danger in their being together without bars. I will put them together this evening in their neutral space and she will probably still be fairly aggressive towards him. But, I am very encouraged by this sign. Maybe by the end of the summer, I can actually let him out of his cage when I'm home and can supervise. I'm not holding my breath for miracles, but maybe there's hope!

After all, she was licking his head.

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