Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Exquisite Adonis...


Originally nicknamed 'Dora the Explorer' for her sense of curiosity and willingness to explore any and every environment, the fourth Puttikin almost certainly is male, making this a litter entirely devoid of females.

I have given him a temporary name of Adonis, simply because he is the most exquisite kitten I ever have seen, held or owned. His fur is softer and silkier than that of his littermates. His eyes are almond-shaped and tilted slightly, making them more beautiful. He is utterly exceptional in physical appearance. In personality, he is not as winsome or loving as Leo and Cupid, nor as enigmatic as Pumpkin. He certainly has his own charm, however.

The little carpet-covered pillar has been extremely successful. I need another one. In a fairly small space, it is important to include interesting furniture at different levels. Cats are 'social' animals and love the company of their own family and loved ones, but they need peace and quiet sometimes as well. The little cave beneath the pillar and the rooftop circle both are used constantly. The other post is not quite as popular. The box in which it was packed is considered as desirable by the cats as the actual post.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Four Puttikins Caught for an Instant

It becomes increasingly difficult to capture the kittens in a decent photograph. Their energy always appeared to be boundless but now they are constantly in motion when I am in their presence.

They have developed extraordinary talents as pickpockets as well. Whenever I wear any garment that contains pockets, they slip a paw or two effortlessly into those pockets to remove the contents one by one. They dip into the pockets again and again until they have emptied them, bearing off their booty in the form of paper hankies, plastic wrappers from sweeties and bits of paper. No matter what the object, it is a toy in their hands and they explore it from every angle, nibbling at it, biting it, hurling it across the floor or into the air. In fact, they are so terribly disappointed when I wear clothing without pockets that I now am condemned to an eternal fate as a spurious 'bag lady', wearing four pairs of trousers to prevent injury when they climb my legs and old cardigans or jackets with capacious pockets so they can steal from me.

I was able to take one photograph of the four kittens as they paused for a moment before they prepared to mount a new assault on my pockets.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Typical Fine Disregard for Form and Function

Beauty has been rather poorly lately and I did not know if it were physiological or psychological or both. It seemed to me that her Kittens had become far too aggressive and active for her. She tended to look in vain for a hiding place from them and would discourage any playful attempts to involve her in rambunctious wrestling.

At the same time, I knew how she felt as my legs were used constantly as climbing poles and scratching posts. I realised I had to make some radical changes.

I began to search for a scratching post that would substitute for my legs. I found one that had a little platform on top, which I thought would be of additional benefit in expanding their small playroom.

The box, when it arrived, was enormous but not the least bit heavy. It proved to contain a vast amount of packing material cradling a fairly small box. The box was rather narrow as well, and obviously could not contain the same item I had seen in the photograph... of course, it contained all the pieces of the scratching post and I was supposed to assemble them.

Two long, fat screws were the main coupling devices. Without any tools, I managed somehow to put it all together. On the little platform, the exposed top of the screw was fitted with a little plastic button to prevent Cats from being injured on the rather hard metal surface.

Rather to my disappointment, the entire edifice was no more than 12 inches tall. Not much of a scratching post... but I could not have afforded anything more expensive in any event.

Initially, none of the cats displayed any interest in their new furniture. Instead, they concentrated on the narrow, empty box that had contained the pieces. This box was only four inches high at best, but before I could remove it from the room, 1 Cat and 3 Kittens had squeezed into it! Meanwhile, Ash and the remaining Kitten were teasing the inhabitants of the box. They were having such a jolly time of it that I decided to let them keep it. I picked up the box that still, amazingly, contained four felines and carried it to the place that the 'birthing box' had occupied. That original box was in such a tattered and battered state that its removal was long overdue in any case.

Sooner or later, I knew that some one would take an interest in the new platform. Leo was the first. Rather than exploring the carpeted platform or scratching post, he concentrated exclusively on the screw. After a moment, I realised he was chewing something with total abandon. I couldn't imagine what it was, but soon discovered he had removed the plastic button that covered the head of the screw and was busy devouring it. (No wonder these kittens have digestive problems!) I took it from him, naturally, and disposed of it permanently. So much for a device that was intended to make their environment safer!

He then began to attack the metal head of the screw... I have studied cats for a long time so I should not be surprised by any of this. They are the most independent, stubborn creatures, determined to do everything in their own fashion. How could I have imagined that they would have used the scratching post and platform as they were designed to be used??? Now they have transformed the platform into a sort of merry-go-round similar to those found on children's playgrounds. One kitten will take hold of one side with his claws and move it round in a circle, loosening the screw that holds it in place with each turn. Others may join him on the ride, lending the weight of their bodies to cause it to move faster. I can see that tightening the screw will be a daily task.

Finally, they still climb my legs. I really had hoped finally to be able to eschew the heavy old tattered velvet trousers that were my best protection from their claws, but no such luck...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cupid and Dandelion


A few weeks ago, it was Leo who earned the sobriquet of 'Dirty Little Leo' when he appeared to have no idea how to use a litter box without stepping in the results repeatedly.

Now, Leo has elevated his lifestyle beyond that rather unfortunate habit but sadly, his brother Cupid has inherited the mantle. Poor Little Cupid. He had to have two half-baths this morning... Cupid earned his primary name because of his affectionate nature. It is typical of him that, after each bath, he proceeded to groom ME rather than drying himself. It was left to me to dry him carefully while he licked my face and hair.

As they become more mature, each Kitten develops his/her own nature and distinguishing physical features. Initially, Dora and Cupid were almost identical twins, but now the shape of their eyes has changed. Dora has the most incredible almond eyes but Cupid apparently will develop the same eyes that Leo has inherited from their father Ashleigh. Cupid and Dora share the long silky hair of their mother Beauty, however, while Pumpkin and Leo have the fluffy hair of their father.

A friend of mine told me in no certain terms that I could not name a kitten Pumpkin as 'every Orange kitten is named Pumpkin'. Well, there has to be a good reason why... and it is partly because the sound of the name resonates with affection. I have heard many a mother in the States address her (human) child affectionately as 'Pumpkin' or 'Pumpkin Pie'...

Very well. Pumpkin will be nothing more than his nickname and his official name will be something like Vicomte Dandylion. Incidentally, the Vicomte Dandylion lives up to THAT name, as he NEVER is the least bit dirty, unlike his siblings. Even Dora, usually immaculate, has displayed a dirty bottom on occasion, but Pumpkin is very careful in everything he does, whether it is a visit to the litter box or consumption of his food.

I am having trouble creating any decent portraits of little Cupid. He moves constantly and, whenever he is still, has his back turned to me. Here is one photograph of Cupid exploring a porcelain basket filled with yellow roses.

His brother Pumpkin is extremely photogenic as you can see.