Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dispatches from Feline Nation: Week 71

Dear Orin and Hal,

The pounding starts around dawn. Hal, you take your tiny melon and 8 pound frame to beat down the barricades that hold our warped bedroom door almost closed. We've tried to slide an end table against the door. Recently we've added a laundry basket with a jar of coins for added weight. But just before full light, you literally beat your way into the bedroom.

To wake up and watch this unfold is to see a feline reenactment of "The Shining." Except in the pivotal "Here's Johnny" moment, two adorable kitties leap through the crack in the door, over the lower shelf of the end table and the laundry basket filled with spare change and it looks more like a scene from "The Fox and the Hound." From Stephen King to Disney just like that.

Hal, you are our socially awkward cat. You aren't quite sure how to just be. You never ooze gently into a lap for some tender touches. You bounce and you kneed and you imitate Orin, but with a clumsy bumbling. I hear myself saying "Why can't you be more like your brother" but what I mean is "Find yourself." In some ways you have. You're our athlete. The one who copies the smart girl's essay on "The Scarlet Letter" and then repays her by keeping the chaperones at bay while she has her toilet baby at prom.

Orin, it's like you study Cat Fancy for flattering poses and then practice in front of the mirror. When you sense that you are about to get booted from a bedroom, you drop to your back and tilt your head, a pose that says: "How cute am I? I know you want to rub my belly." Chuck told me he woke up, opened his eyes and noticed you, Orin, on the bedroom floor quickly getting into position. It was as if his eye twitch activated your be-cute button. It is the most manipulative thing I've ever seen and I'm embarrassed how many times I've fallen for it.

The other day, Orin, you wooed the pizza delivery man. As we tried to scrounge up spare bills for a tip you pranced up to him and within 15 seconds he was cooing about the cat's "shool patch." (He has a lisp). He mentioned it twice before leaving.

Orin, you've gotten really creative about finding places to sleep. You jog into the room with your fur full of dust and lint and the white parts of your fur tinged with grey. All in a day's work of exploring storage spaces and other unknown crannies. You can't be stopped. Today your left eye is oozing with allergy, but you're not complaining. I used to find you in a heap on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night. Then you, Hal, joined in as the big spoon. As we speak, you probably lying in front of heat vent in the closet. In the case of a catastrophic world-wide weather event, I plan to follow you out into the world to find a perfect sleeping space.

The best of these has been what Chuck saw a few mornings ago:

Scientifically fascinated by your ever-changing personality quirks -- both of you, even though I express it more toward Orin,

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