Bean Sidhe has discovered begging. No, serious. Until this day it seemed as if he didn’t know what begging was. He would sit next to you and not stare hungrily at your breakfast but keeping an eye on it nevertheless, and then -when his patience ran out and no tasty titbits were forthcoming- he would simply climb you and grab whatever you were planning to transfer to your digestive system with the air of one who owns all he surveys and knows he can get away with just about anything ‘coz he’s cute. Not so anymore though, now he will weave his little dance of meowls just like the others: huge moist eyes pleading, long-suffering misery written on his furry little face, whiskers semaphoring utter starvation, paws trembling and tail beseeching. He wouldn’t stoop down to Loup-Garou’s pathetic “iew” though. His call for alms comes out like a raspy “awrewr” and the message is clear enough… “feed me”.
It didn’t add: “… or suffer the consequences.” He hasn’t gone into the threatening stage yet, something which is more of Zorro’s territory. Zorro’s idea of a charm offensive is being offensive, charming is for sissies like his behated brother. He likes to come over, have a good scrutiny of whatever meal you were starting to dig in, then position himself next to a vulnerable body part, and just when you think he’s loosing his interest you suddenly -but subtly- find a very sharp body part of his gently resting upon yours. With the unspoken invitation of ripping you to shreds if a shred of food won’t make its way to his mouth. Now.
Cats can be very charming when they want it. Such magnificent creatures, so fastidious in their appearance, cannot but be manipulative to the core when it comes to getting what they want. It might puzzle you, since the miniature tigers shouldn’t need the art of subtle convincing when they have a veritable built-in arsenal at their disposal, but you should remember that the cat is -in essence- a lazy animal. Why should he exert his beautiful body for such mundane things as stealing or fighting for food when threatening bloody murder will do just the trick and won’t involve any of those exhausting things like actually moving, scratching and biting ? Besides, his fur could get ruffled in the process.
Thus the cats have invented the Food Dance. That strange weaving-between-the-simian’s-legs which is actually not intended to trip you over, but to put your attention firmly upon the two most important items in the household: the food in your hands and the cat at your feet. Both should be combined as soon as possible, if the cat has anything to say in the matter, and his frantic calling regarding the subject is meant to add emphasis to the message. If there is more than one cat present the calling gets a more urgent tone and even greater volume, since he must now compete with other hungry feline mouths and he can’t be sure his will out-call the others. You get the dubious honour of a cat-serenade: a polyphonous cat-a-phony of frantic “feed me”-messages brought to you by the sweetest voice a cat thinks he has. At the House of Chaos this means a close harmony of “mOw”, “iew” and “awrEwr”, but if The Mistress is slow with the unloading of the grub it becomes “MEOW”, “MIEW” and “MEAW” which is actually more pleasing to the ears. The feline denizens of the House of Chaos have yet to discover that food is coming in more slowly these days because their voices are improving.
Bean Sidhe has to work on improving his begging techniques though. When those trademark huge moist pleading feline eyes appear at your knee and you peer down into his pathetic-looking furry face from over your breakfast the trick for said feline is to use that special moment by delicately placing a soft but urging paw upon your knee, for utmost dramatic effect. Said feline should not however endeavour into this powerful bit of feline persuasion with a muddy paw on a simian’s new clothes. It somehow puts the human off, it somehow breaks the carefully constructed atmosphere of cuteness begging. At that point the charm offensive turns into simply offensive and all feline hopes of acquiring the coveted morsels must be abandoned forthwith. Insisting won’t help, since it will only enrage the simian further. Just lick your paws and your pride and wait for a better day.
Still, he’s learning. He’s been observing the brothers and no doubt he’s been having chats with the neighbourhood cats as well. Just imagine a rugged bunch of tough neighbourhood toms and they’re sitting there with the youngster talking shop… on the subject of begging. I do wonder what tips they’d be swapping… “go for the Moist Look, try to sniff an onion lad” or “you would work on that meow, don’t try to imitate an old hand like Lou-Lou, establish your own style” maybe. It certainly would include: “place that paw slowly kid, re-e-a-a-l slowly and make that touch-down count”. But I guess they forgot to mention that most important tip of all: “wipe your paws mate, y’ain’t wanna beg wif muddy paws”.
Picture below: Bean Sidhe at age 4 months still had to grab the finer points of begging…
Be sure to visit the Carnival of the Cats tonight, where our feline friends frolic…