June 8, 2010

Our Crazy & Wonderful Cats

The newest addition to our furry family Cinnamon has brought home how very different in temperament, all of our pets are, especially the cats.

In his first three years of life, Stanley honestly believed he was a dog. When I first got him, he and his sister had been sleeping with the puppies at the pet-shop. Despite the shop-owners attempts to keep them separated, the kittens would continually climb over the wall into the puppy pen. So when Stanley came home to live with me and Scout (miniature foxy) the thought never seemed to cross his mind that he was anything but a dog. At home, he would chase Scout around the house and they would wrestle each other while standing up on their hind-legs, and bite each other on the neck.

It was when Stanley was about 3 and a half that he began to discover his feline side. I purchased a couple of small, toy mice for him which he enjoyed playing with. But then one night I heard him prowling through the house making the hunting call that cats make. The next morning there was the toy mouse on the ground where he'd caught and released it. Over the following months, Stanley decided that hunting mice was great fun and I can recall waking up one morning, opening my bedroom door to discover that he had deposited three toy mice that he had kindly found for me.

Today, Stanley still hunts the big game, but nowadays it can be anything from toy mice to dead slippers and stuffed toys as large as himself. He's a gentle giant that loves his cuddles and especially being praised. He has learned to wink which he will occasionally do on command, especially around meal times. the oldest cat in the household at 9 years of age, he has lived 6 years longer than the vet had anticipated.

Larci is our cheeky 2 year old who believes that everything in the world is a toy that should be played with, especially human beings. Despite our best attempts to teach him otherwise, Larci insists on biting people, except for my 12 year old boy JD. For the most part, Larci is quite delightful, but when he's in a biting mood, usually when he's playful, it's best not to be within his reach. The funny thing is that while he understands we don't like him biting us, he will follow me from room to room sometimes, and allow me to pat him, before biting me. I think it's his way of telling me he loves me.

Running through the house at full throttle, he emits his throaty "I'm in a crazy mood" call and anything is fair game for his attention. If it's not pinned down, it must be a toy. If it's on the table, desk or kitchen counter, it must be knocked down and played with. If it has water in it, it most especially must be knocked over so that he can enjoy the splashing noise and mess it makes.

When he's feeling settled, he will quite happily groom anyone nearby. Oftentimes he would rather lick anyone who's patting him rather than letting them pat him. It's his way of including the humans in his family group. He will continue to groom someone's hand and wrist for 5 minutes if someone lets him. Then finally he will bite them as if to say, "I've tenderised you, now let's see if you're ready to bite yet."

Cinnamon is not quite 6 months old and is very different to the other two cats. She adores cuddles and kisses and having her fur brushed, but will let you know very vocally when she's not in the mood. She's quite vocal also when it comes to demanding for her food.

She's learned quickly that if she doesn't eat her food, there's always someone else willing to eat it for her. When she thinks someone is trying to steal the food from her double-bowl, she will place her foot into the empty side and firmly keep her head in the bowl with the food in it, and will simply not budge.

Larci is her favourite playmate, and the two go racing through the house at top speed every evening, leaping over obstacles and running in, around, over and under anything they can find. 

The three are quite good friends, though I imagine that sometimes Stanley gets a little tired of their antics. It's lovely to have such differing personalities and I feel sorry for people that cannot appreciate cats or has never experienced them as individuals.

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