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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Siblings of Any Species

Patches and Whitey Take a "Catnap"
Venky managed to capture this lovely shot of our kittens, Patches and Whitey, sharing a more caring moment. Like most kittens, or siblings of any species for that matter, they engage in a lot of friendly frolicking, which is not always friendly judging by the shrieking that Whitey resorts to from time to time. Patches plays rough, so I know what her sister must have to endure with each and every "playful" bite. Then, when they're all "played out", they take a few minutes to plonk themselves down where they are and get some well-earned rest. I think this picture captures the "blood is thicker than water" emotion rather well. Well, I suppose most living things look beautiful at peace, when they're fast asleep. Oh, and speaking of "plonking themselves down" wherever, they're sleeping on my roommate's strolley. In case you were wondering, they seem to love the cloth finish on this strolley because they always use it to stretch their claws. How do we know? Every time we hear a loud noise that resembles someone violently ripping out perforated forms from a booklet, we turn around to find either Patches or Whitey attacking this piece of luggage like Beethoven probably attacked a piano -- Aesthetically, but violently.

Occasionally, they'll turn their attention to me and start putting on a show to weasel a bite out of me. This often results in purring and rubbing up against my legs, whether I'm standing in the kitchen attending to some task, or whether I'm in mid-stride on my way from the fridge to the kitchen. I keep warning them about almost stepping on them, but who's listening, right? Then, as a sort of second step, and a slightly stronger reminder, they'll give either my big toe or my Achilles tendon a swift, sharp bite. This usually results in a somewhat dramatic yelp from moi, and gentle chiding. Step three, should it ever come to that, is a repeat of the earlier step, only harder. So far, no matter how hard this "reminder bite" it's never once broken the surface of the skin to cause bleeding. I can't, however, say the same for the all the times that Patches -- being the more people-friendly of the two -- has engaged in play cat-style, which is my way of saying "claws and all" and scratched me quite hard. There are plenty of hairline, red welts across my hands, for all the times I've tried to make playing with kittens a "hands-on" experience. But, in the end, it's a lot of fun to see how they react and how these reactions may change as they grow older.

Of late, Patches has resorted to climbing onto my stomach and going to sleep, usually just as I'm about to fall asleep myself at night, so that there is a minimum level of complaining from me. And, truth be told, I don't really mind it, so I grin and bear it as I let her make herself comfortable, while she does a quick circle and claws at my thin cotton t-shirt, and the flesh that lies beneath. However, when she decides to advance up my torso and come face to face with me, I tend to draw the line. More often than not, in the last couple of weeks, I've opened my eyes to find Patches staring into my eyes, our noses almost touching, purring away to glory. Then, for some strange reason, she begins to nuzzle up against my beard. I draw the line at this sort of tête-à-tête, but on two occasions she has resorted to licking my beard, which had me jumping out of bed with a, "What the hell was that?!?!?" Haven't quite been able to explain this behavior, but I have been attempting to discourage it. For one thing, it may be a case of wake-up-and-feed-me-already, because I notice this only happens at around 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, right before I'm bound to wake up. But still, it's not a habit I want to encourage. I mean think about it, hygienically speaking, I know where my beard has been, but there's no telling where Patches's  little feral, feline mouth has been. ;)
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