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THE NEW KITTENS came home on Monday…

And Toni promptly sat on one that had gotten inside her recliner — unbeknownst to her.


::butter wouldn’t melt:: Yes?

I thought we had an arrangement.

What arrangement would that have been?

I was supposed to make the thoughtless and insensitive comments.

It was not thoughtless. I thought about it for at least 550 milliseconds. And as for insensitive… OK. I’ll give you that. She was pretty broke up about it. YOU, on the other hand, thought she was over-reacting and it would all work out OK.

Didn’t it?

‘ll Yeah. But…

But me no buts. It all worked out for the best. And this weekend, we’re going to close up the bottom of the recliner so the kittens can’t get inside there any more to get their little paddy paws pinched in the springs.

Right. So now that we’ve totally used up INCHES of column space, do you want to get to the point of the post?


Sky on the coffeetable. Looks like a standing nap attack, but he’s really looking at something on the floor he can pounce on.

The new kittens are three Siamese rescue kitties. Mama is named Isabelle and our three (of the seven in the litter) are Aqua — whom regular readers have met, she even got a link-in from blogmoot friend Old Grouch — Jazz and Schuyler — Sky for short.

Aqua and Sky are seal-points. That is, most of their coats are a creamy tan, while their muzzles, ears, tails, and paws are a medium brown. Darker brown and they’d be chocolate points, ruddier and they’d be flame points. Jazz (NOT short for Jasmine) is a blue point — her points are a slatey bluish-gray — like Simon’s were.

Aqua and Sky are hard to tell apart. There are subtle differences in the shapes of their faces, differences one might imagine are sexual in nature. Sky is a male, one would expect him to be larger and chunkier in proportions once he grows up. Aqua is a female, and can be expected to be slighter in build and smaller overall. But they’re kittens — barely over two pounds each — and so don’t show much differentiations. In fact, the easiest way to tell them apart is by their neutering incisions. Aqua’s is in the middle of her belly and Sky’s… well.

You get the picture.

So they have collars. Aqua’s is pink and Sky’s is green. (Jazz’s is a really kicky black-and-white pattern with pink flowers, but she managed to get it off and we can’t find it anywhere.) They have bells on them — or did, only Aqua’s is still attached, so when one of them (Aqua) runs through the room, if you’re not looking, it’s easy to imagine it’s one of the adult cats rolling a toy around that has a bell inside it.

Personality-wise, Aqua is the most forward of the three, although the difference is slight. The first night they were here, I finished the dishes and came upstairs, turning down the lights for the night. Aqua followed me, bell tinkling as she clambered up the stairs. Once in the study, she discovered two of the adult cats’ feather mice in the entryway and she kicked. Their. Asses. Ferocious combat for a good twenty minutes. Near the end, Loki was perched on a stepstool and Oliver on Toni’s desk chair, the two of them just watching Aqua work out.

Not to say that the other two are slackers or anything. Tonight, Jazz was challenging Loki for the Gettin’ Inta Shit crown. She hopped up on the living room coffee table and was investigating EVERY. THINGGGG. Not just sniffing it, either. She tried to pick it up or bat it around or off the table. Pens. The grocery list. Coupons. Drink coasters. The TV remotes. Magazines. (A two-pound kitten trying to move a copy of Vogue on a slick wooden tabletop is a sight to behold.) I tried to discourage her. Pick her up and distract her by scratching behind the ears. She liked that, but tired of it quickly. Back to the table. Dump her on the floor. Back to the table. Call her Bungee.

Sky is a bit quieter. Toni worries that he might be TOO low-key — remembering that Simon was that way and it charmed us, but it was because he had atrophied lungs and couldn’t get enough oxygen. I don’t think that’s the case with Sky, but he is behaving kind of runty, even though he wasn’t the runt of this litter. (Actually, as well as anyone can remember noticing, Aqua was.) He’ll sit on the back of the couch and stare at the wall. Now it’s a might interesting wall, but … DAMN, dude!

Any time you introduce new cats to an existing menagerie, there’s always going to be an adjustment period. The newcomers and the established residents will form into armed camps and engage in stiff-legged saber-rattling for awhile. Relationships form and shift, some grossly, some subtley, and eventually affairs settle down into a more-or-less placid (from the human perspective) domesticity.

Our little cat shack is no execption.

In the current case, the newcomers have the advantage of numbers — they are a tight unit, well-accustomed to one another and to operating as a team. Most of the time, new cats come in alone, without support on the flanks. The adults, on the other hand, while they have reached some rapprochement among themselves, enter the current fray as individuals. Sort of the difference between soldiers and warriors. As a result, the kittens have given a good account of themselves, while simultaneously dividing and co-opting the older, bigger, and (one presumes) savvier adults.

So, while Belle and Rommie hissed and growled for the first couple of days, happy-go-lucky Loki plays the ecumenical Father Mulcahy, solemnly observing it all, but never entering the lists himself. Oliver — himself the youngest of the elder crop, and not truly an adult — seems puzzled sometimes by all of the threats and badinage tossed back and forth, although he did make some hostile overtures to the kittens early on.

Belle has appeared to be more confused than the rest by the change in her circumstances (one would think someone who’s lived rough for her wanderjahr would be more flexible, but maybe coming in from the cold made her soft). While she has maintained an unmitigated hostility to the kittens (albeit one which seems in constant decrescendo) — including trying to block them from food (ineffectually, I should add) — she has also shown a bit of a mean streak, bullying poor Oliver, who has more than once found himself slammed up against the kitchen cabinets (Belle is easily twice his size) and being hissed at for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The kittens have stood up to her — nothing funnier than a two-pound ball of fluff challenging a big, black monster six times her size, and getting the monster to back down through sheer ballsiness — so Belle has had to find some outlet for her frustration and rage, and Oliver is elected Object of Rage of the Day (OOROTD).

Over the last day or two, things have calmed down. Loki was always OK with the kittens, but has even taking to napping with one or more of them backed up against his side. Oliver and Loki seem to have gotten a bit closer to one another. Rommie is more tolerant of everybody than she used to be, even to the point of putting up with the kittens being within — oh, say, three hundred feet of her. I can see in a few days, they’ll all be grooming each other.

Today, as I stretched out on the bed for my afternoon nap, I got first Oliver, then Rommie, then … one of the kittens (couldn’t see the collar) (had to be Aqua, there was a bell), all on and around the same pillow right next to me.

It’s almost enough to give you faith that ANYthing can be worked out.


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