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...

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