Loki, Chester (head hidden), Aqua, Jane, Jazz.

Very nearly all of the general, stiff-legged, overt and constant hostility is gone. Now it gets personal. Individual cats pick and choose favorites. Cliques form and reform. Favors are exchanged. Pairs will gang up on singletons. An outward, surface calm will obtain — most of the time. Every once in awhile — in the dark, pre-dawn hours, you’ll hear a hiss-and-growl of warning, and you’ll know you just heard the kitty version of a border incident. Boundaries have been encroached upon. Retaliation is contemplated. Sharp exchanges take place in out-of-the-way places.

And then, later on in the afternoon, everybody is one big, happy catpile on the bed. Like nothing ever happened.

Earnest seems to be the most needy of chest time. Sitting on the couch cuddles and strokes. If there appears to be and opportunity, he’s there, cute as a bug, purring. He complains a lot when Chester picks on him. I tell him that’s gonna happen if he runs with the big dogs. Er… cats, I mean. Chester has a pound-and-a-quarter on Earnie, so the little guy is either going to have to get REALLY scrappy, or he’s going to have to persuade one of the bigger cats to act as his protector. Guess which is more likely.

Jane’s fur is really soft. Like you’re supposed to imagine rabbit fur is, only more so. And kittens are always soft and fuzzy, but I wonder about Jane: how much less soft is her fur going to get as she grows older. Guess we’ll find out.

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