The first day when we brought her home from the hospital, he was curious. He was never jealous of territorial like other cats might be. I raised him better than that. There was always a fear, justified or not, that the old-wives-tales might be true and that, ridiculous as it may sound, a cat will jump into a baby's crib and steal their breath. I haven't heard of any documented cases of murderous, breath stealing cats...but still...there's always a possibility.
We introduced our 18 hour old daughter to our apartment. She had her eyes closed and missed the tour. It's okay, she'll catch the next one eventually. I held my swaddled daughter in my arms while I sat on the couch. My eldest feline stared at me from across the room. Not in rage, but in genuine curiosity. He wanted to know at this cooing bundle I was holding. He has never seen a baby before. The scent was different, the sound was different. All of these thoughts were showing on his face as he took careful steps toward this new creature. He climbed up on my lap, brought his face close to hers, touched his nose to her forehead and was completely...unimpressed. Were it in his vernacular, he would shrug his shoulders, let out a barely audible, "Meh" and walk away, which is what he basically did.
In the days that followed, he was always present. He somehow figured out that this being was a really big kitten and took on the role of a protector; a surrogate father. In the weeks and months and years that followed, he would always be near her.
She is five this year. She is five, and every year she has been on this Earth, she has developed an uncanny ability to attract, and to some extent, communicate with animals. I might write about this in the future, but just to stick to the point, she is five years old now and he is the ripe old age of 13. These days, they talk to each other. Literally, talk to each other. He chirps these sounds that only she can understand, it almost as if he's speaks in complete sentences and she responds in kind. When she was a baby, he'd stand vigilant. Now she's older, and his number one snuggle buddy. In this picture, her smile is cheesed, his is genuine.