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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Patches finally takes the bait



Here's little Patches, our cute little feral kitten who kind of lives here but kind of doesn't, in true feline fashion. My roommates and I have been trying to entertain her in all sorts of ways. We've used everything from old shoelaces to crumpled little balls of paper to try and get Patches, and her far more docile sister "Whitey", to do what we expect pets to do when we're around. But so far, most of our attempts have met with limited success. Every now and then, when we think we've discovered a new toy that might interest them, they pull a fast one on us by appearing very intrigued at first, only to turn up their noses with a little "Hmpf" and walk away in the very next instant.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when what I thought was another minor and futile adjustment to a rickety, haphazardly fashioned toy would get a result. Oh, first a description of the "toy" in question. It was modeled on an idea that I saw a cousin of mine employ with the cats back home, one that met with a fair deal of success. It wasn't much, just a 5-foot length of rope or cord taped to the top center of the door frame, with a ping-pong ball on the other end of it. Man those kittens would be at it all day, some days. So, I decided to fashion something like this from what I could find around the house.

I found some used nylon packing cord, and tried to tie a little dud coconut on the end of it. Now, before you sit up and go, "Coconut??!?! What kind of idiot are you? And, how big are these kittens really?" I urge you to hear me out. We found one, no bigger than a lime, outside one day, and had been using it as a sort of paper weight; one that would some day rot and disappear. This was the first version. There were no takers. Cut to a few weeks ago, and I decided to try and use the same cord, but this time with an abandoned stress ball that we had attempted to entertain the kittens with in the meanwhile. Also, there was a damaged microphone stand that happened to by laying about (don't ask) and seemed to be crying out to be part of the festivities. So, on that inventive afternoon, the "toy" was born. Having been birthed, however, it seemed to be going down the way of our earlier experiments in feline entertainment - doomed to neglect. That was, until this morning. Today, I woke up to find a feather outside near the doorstep. It crossed my mind, luckily enough, to try and make it part of the ensemble. I don't know if I was thinking about the feather in any naturally logical sense, like say, "The kittens will surely go for the 'bird' scent," or "Now what would David Attenborough do?" It was more of a spur-of-the-moment thing that I was hoping would work. Come to think of it, if I had thought about it logically and the 'bird' scent theory had failed, what would I go for next? Start hanging sardines from the mic stand instead of a stress ball? That would be more of a "swinging" snack than a toy, however. What about catching the rat that I know inhabits the kitchen and that I'm sure has a "rollicking" good time when we're not around? Suspend a live rat from a microphone stand? What kind of sick beast do you think I am?
Anyway, as you can see, Patches was thrilled to discover this new feather attachment to the toy. But, and true to her style, she was only interested enough. Just enough. The right amount of time for me to shoot a video. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less. If you look closely, it's almost as if she's responding to verbal cues off camera, finishing with a saunter up to the camera like she was saying, "That's a wrap." Attitude in oodles, this kitten has got. I like it.
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