Saturday, January 27, 2007

Queer Cat Indiosyncrasies

All 5 of my cats are very different, one from the other. The eldest Nonny Monster, was brought home with our beloved Ethol Louise Carnivore, the Quoon (who passed on our anniversary in Dec. 2005). Nonny and Ethol were jet black. the only cats for 3 years, and when they were about 2 we acquired Pooky, who has always been smaller than any cat in this house at 8 pounds. Anyway Nonny has never been interested in the outdoors until this year - at 15 she ventured tentatively from door to door, cowering at falling leaves and hiding under the porch. Never a lap cat, Nonny doesn't like to be picked up, either - yet, she sleeps every night between Brian and I. Anytime I awaken, she is purring away, mindless of the time. Nonny has never really participated in the household cat hierarchy, coming across in a goofy banal way, like the village idiot. Nearing 16, Nonny has never displayed ill health, bad humour or other any appearance of aging. She trucks along... and eats like a trucker.

Ethol was the matriarch, and any animal up to the largest was put in their place by The Quoon. She sat at the end of the table on a sheepskin, surveying her domain - and she was my girl. Occasionally I could get her on my lap, but her preference was to come in the night and lie on top of me, purring. She had a maloccluded upper jaw, from being left with a broken jaw as a kitten... we found her sick with rhinotracheitis, lying on her side in a parrot cage, in a store that was closing that day we arrived. Needless to say, Ethol had a lifetime of immunity problems and a couple of profound healings, specifically from diabetes. That she lived to almost 15 was a miracle - it's been 13 months and she's come to me 3x in spirit... things are moving along for her - I miss her dearly.

Zuna Piggles arrived in the summer of '94, and she is past 12 years now... For awhile she was the baby, and used to sleep curled around my bun in bed. It has taken her almost her whole life to tentatively be a lap cat - never to be picked up - and always on her terms. Cranky should be her middle name and at times I see her as more cantankerous than Ethol ever was... Zuna took over as alpha female when the Quoon died... Zuna is a tortoise shell, and has had her share of kidney problems, but otherwise seems in good shape... Her gift is performance art - she assumes these poses and lies perfectly still - she looks like a roadkill raccoon. She will only eat dry food, which is interesting. A feisty, free spirit, who pees on the couch when "pissed off"...

Bob and Mr. Bill arrived with the original Max, almost 6 years ago. They were tiny kittens, born of sister cats, and were birthed the same day apparently. Bob is black and white, a bit like a hairy Felix, and totally loony - the light is on, but no one is home. He is so agile one assumes he may not have an actual skeleton. He is dishevelled and devilish, but is the consummate lap cat. He and Bill spent most of their first year living in the barn together, making mischief. The pressure of winter cold brought them indoors, but they still go out when they want to... Mr. Bill is gray sporting a white ascot and spats. A very handsome, Cary Grant-like elegant feline. His body movements are smooth and he's an accomplished mouser. Bill is a moosh - he loves to lie on me several times a night, gently using his paws to tap my face while he purrs. Like Bob he is a lap cat, just not nearly as goofy. Bill especially likes boxes to perch on or in... We have one that we call Feline Theatre, and another that is a space ship... Bill goes from one to the next, apparently conquering space and attacking aliens.

The final lunatic cat is Angel Piggles. He arrived on the civic long weekend of 2004, a mere 5 months old. I left for a conference and he was in a tree crying... 3 days later I get home and he's still in the tree. No kiss of welcome from my husband, just the terse comment "No more f@!#$%^&g cats in the house!" (We had 5 already at that point - until Ethol died we had six.) Brian is a man who hand-raised a footless robin for fear it would die, so a stern look from me, and the wail of a starving cat overcame his crabbiness... Angel jumped in his arms and we never looked back. Angel is a torty like Zuna, hence his last name "Piggles", but the vet tells me he was born on Feb. 14th, therefore Angel... Zuna has taken 2 years to tolerate his mere presence in the house, and mercifully for Angel he has grown larger than Zuna, which has helped to stop the attacks - to his credit, he never strikes back. He's a drooler and a lover - he sits on my chest and drools his love purr. He sleeps with Angeni, who he treats like a peer, and is the bathtub cat. Anyone who goes to the bathroom, gets attacked through the curtain, and must submit to throwing cat toys around the tub, which he chases. He's also fascinated with water, especially dripping from a faucet, or the contents of the toilet spinning around. He'll be 3 next month...

So there you have it, the idiosyncrasies and foibles of crazy cats. And I'll always miss Ethol.

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