The Caturday Post

IN ONE MARATHON burst of unwonted energy yesterday evening, I put the window A/C units (a.k.a. room refrigeration) in their several windows. I’d been resisting the move, dead-certain that the current heat wave is not the ultimate one, presaging the full-on plunge into summer, a time of unbearable heat and humidity in these parts. Once the A/C units are in the windows, they do not come out until fall is well along. (We can bear a few days of Indian Summer, but no more.) Surely, there’ll be cool weather during the month of June, in which we would regret having to shut the house up so.

All of which is true, but doesn’t make the current discomfort any more bearable. Once resistance is worn away to the mere difficulty of the task — schlepping the units from storage and man-handling them into their assigned windows — it becomes no longer possible to delay.

The upshot of it was that we slept well last night for the first time in what seems a month. No racing fans struggling desperately to cool us in the fetid heat. A comfortable white noise blocking out the sounds of the city around us. Dry air, unladen as the natural, outdoors stuff is with what folks around here call humdiddity. Cool air on bare skin. Snuggling under blankets and even a quilt.

The cats appear to be enjoying the cooler “weather,” too. Instead of lollygagging around like limp, wet, dishrags, they’re showing signs of life — puttering around the house, playing hockey with toy mice, foam balls, and various other bits of detritus. (The less like a toy in intent and design, the more interesting it is. In the pix shot below (Thursday’s entry.) the three kittens are focussed intently on a penny that fell off my desk. Plastic wrapping out of the trash cans promises hours — or, at least, minutes — of fun.)

This morning, I walked into the study and found Aqua curled up asleep in my desk chair. I picked her up (The trick to holding her without her squirming to be let down is not to uncurl her; scoop her up like a bun.) and set her on my lap as I took over the chair. I stroked her a bit and she stretched and decided it would be good to be petted by this large human for awhile. She seems to like belly-rubs. Not a lot. Not like a dog, who will roll over on his back and demand them, but like a cool, sophisticated Siamese lady. (Do not remind her she’s only a mix.) She tolerates it, never betraying any eagerness for the attention.

I explained to her, “We have to figure out how to tell you from your brother.”

I imagined she might reply as would Loralei Lee Long, “Easy! I’m always here. Sometimes he goes away.”

Which works from her perspective, but not for the rest of us.

Jazz is getting easier, if anything, to tell from the other two. Not only are her lighter points readily apparent, but her body shape appears to be diverging from theirs. She’s more rotund and stocky, whereas they look like, when they outgrow their lanky coltishness, they will be long and lean — built for speed.

But Aqua and Sky, despite all our searchings for distinguishing characteristics, are still too much alike. We keep a collar on Sky. Otherwise, his (empty) scrotum, which bears fur the color of his points, is about the only way to tell the two of them apart without a close genital examination. We keep watching. They’re developing tabby stripes on their cheeks and rings on their tails — telltales of that mixed blood. But the patterns aren’t distinctive enough, nor visible enough from all angles. Sky’s mask is a bit tighter to his eyes — or is that Aqua? (see?) — but that’s hard to see unless they’re both at rest and next to each other.

I suspect that, as Sky gets older, he’ll be bigger than Aqua (though there’s no surety in that — they’re pounds lighter and smaller than a littermate who lives with Number One Daughter). But until then, it’s the collar for the poor little guy.

The three of them on my credenza/counter/windowsill/cat seat, taken a week ago yesterday. Clockwise from UL: Jazz, Aqua, Sky.

In the time it’s taken me to put this post together, (about a half-hour), they have exhausted themselves and are now sacked out for the day.

Loki and Oliver.

Jazz and Sky.

Loki, Aqua, and Oliver on the windowsill a week ago.

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