Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frankenbert and Possumstein

I never intended this to be a cat blog, and I'm trying to think of other things to discuss, but my life revolves around cats these days and I'm having too much fun not to document it. I promise to get a life soon.

I had no idea that cats get laryngitis. Our computer-loving Persian, Snalbert, loves to talk; he's loud and raucous. A howler — especially if he's sitting next to me when I'm on a conference call. But for the past couple of days, he's had nothing but a silent meow and a startled look on his face. So he went to the vet. He usually exhausts his repertoire in the car, and today he tried hard. It sounded like the faint, monster-voiced soundtrack of a haunted house: rusty, raspy, hoarse, creepy.

We noticed that our singing kitten, Possum, also seems a bit hoarse, and mentioned to the vet that he sounds like a tiny, creaking hinge these days. We figured he was just giving too many performances. But the vet suspects that Possy has an upper-respiratory virus that spread to Snalbert, which is probably not serious, just painful. And expensive. Snalbert is getting $47 in pain meds for the next few days. I hope he enjoys them.

Tonight, the vet taught us how to approach our skittish calico kitten. Wendy has recently remembered out that she's feral and runs desperately from us as soon as she's tired of, say, purring on her back in our laps as we stroke her belly. She's got the "Please, don't kill me!" look down perfectly, and she does the feral slink with a practiced attitude as well. Nevertheless, I've still got her pegged to be next my lap cat. So she needs to be handled a lot every day. Our vet told us never to approach her directly, because our towering over her will freak her out. Instead, I'm supposed to sidle up to her sideways, crabwalking with my face turned away from  her. I just tried it and failed. But I have to keep in mind that I chose her because I wanted a project. That's certainly what she is.

Tortoiseshell cats are the temperamental redheads of the cat world. Our elderly Persian is no exception. So why does our grande dame let little Possum steal the food she's eating from her bowl? Normally, she'd attack any cat dumb enough to even think about such a move. Is it possible that she is as charmed by Possy as we are? Despite his many parasites and germs, he is the George Clooney of kittens, and seems to have bewitched everyone.

He's already both a lap cat and a shoulder cat. He stares into my eyes as he gets nose to nose with me, licks my fingers, nibbles my ring. He tries to crawl into sleeves and pockets; he just can't be snuggled enough. He flings himself against me, purring and nuzzling. When I feed him a treat, he grabs my hand in both paws to hold it in place. He joined us for dinner tonight. This is Snalbert's nightly tradition. He keeps a polite distance; he's just there for the conversation. Possum is there to eat everything. He got more than 10 lessons in "Down!" tonight. Slow learner? He also figured out three different ways to get back up on the table. He closes his eyes in enjoyment when we talk to him. As much as I adore all my cats, he is proving to be the kitten of a lifetime.

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