It is one of the cat’s most useful tools. It certainly is multi-functional: climbing, fighting (both offense and self-defense), picking something up, demolishing, sorting stuff out… even communication is served wonderfully with a strategically placed claw. You have no idea how fast even the densest of simians can be convinced of something when a tiny claw is hooked in just the right spot. And some felines become adapt masters at its use. The older a cat grows the more experienced of course, but it takes a truly devious and cunning mind to discover all of the myriad uses of The Claw.
Loup-Garou certainly qualifies as a master. He has grown his into huge sturdy nails that despite their size have retained their razor-sharp nastiness. This feline furriend is usually a placid and easy-going fellow, but if you try to force him into something he does not want (like the carrier box for instance) you will find out soon enough how expertly he wields his Mother Nature-given tools of trade. This obsessive couch-potato also uses his spiky appendages to anchor himself with when he’s snuggling down upon your lap. Move and cringe simian !
Zorro, being El Grumpy Maximus Severus, is always ready to use his piercing equipment at the first possible opportunity. Ever ready with the lightning-quick swipe or the strafing rake, he turns the act of clawing into an art of agony. And he has developed and mastered in particularly the claw-hook-movement: first he sinks his claws into your hapless hand and then he … sort of… gropes. I can assure you from personal experience that this is a most effective deterrent for any simian activity this feline overlord deems repulsive. Which is about anything you do except feeding him. Or the occasional gentle pat. All the rest is fair cause.
Bean Sidhe has yet to grow fully into adulthood and hence is technically still a kitten. No matter that he is already larger than Loup-Garou (but doesn’t weight more… yet…) deep into that lovely kitty heart of his there still lurks a frolicsome kitten and it often shows. So this is why he still has to learn the trade so to speak, and his many attempts at developing himself in the clawing department are often cause for mirth. For one thing, he actually suffers from vertigo and thus hates to climb, and so he will only avail himself of that function of his claws when it is really, absolutely and irrevocably necessary. Poor kitty. having to haul up his mass of 4,5 kilos is no mean feat either, I can assure you, and that may explain his reluctance to seek higher places. But there is nothing wrong with the offensive capacities of his set of knives and we suspect that he is responsible for the rather spectacular injury Zorro is sporting on his left front paw these days.
Hrimnir, sweet little kitten Hrimnir, is in full development and can thus be observed at leisure if you want to learn more about how cats learn to use their equipment. That doesn’t mean he’s a total dunce of course, or harmless for that matter, but he has yet to master the finer points of claw-use. For him, at the moment, it is mainly a grappling tool, something to use to grab coveted stuff with. And best with the full paw extended to boot. But mind you, those needle-sharp tiny claws of his are a force to be reckoned with. And the glee with which he manages to scale any vertical surface in order to get somewhere he wants to be is truly a joy to watch. Not a joy to undergo however, as the tattered remains of several pairs of jeans can attest, and I’m afraid I may have to hit the stores again. Not to mention the daily chore of seeing to my injuries: a multitude of scratches on both legs where those nasty pin-prickers have managed to puncture through the sturdy jeans-fabric and into soft skin.
Nevertheless they all grow out of that phase. Bean Sidhe has, although truth to tell he occasionally shows up at my desk and hooks in just to show he can do that, but never with the intention of really jumping into my lap. Hrimnir is still in the full-scratch-climbing phase and I must make sure to fend him off in time when I’m not wearing jeans. This also means every visitor to the House of Chaos must be warned in time that there is one itty-kitty in da house who is still practicing his skills with his cat-u-puncture set.
Picture below: Hrimnir showing off one of his sets. Of course he was wanting something, how else could I have taken this picture ? But can you imagine how something that small can hurt so much ?
Would they let him in at the Carnival of the Cats, armed as the tyke is ? Maybe when he is escorted by responsible adults… In any case it takes place this Sunday at the most appropriate spot of all… The Scratching Post !!
HOUSEKEEPING NEWS: The Mistress and Grumpy Man will be away all of next week because we are competing with our robots in two Fighting Robots competitions. For that we have to travel all the way from Belgium to Roaming Robots in Pwllheli, Gwynedd in North Wales and later on to Robots Live at Hemel Hempstead in England. We will be back on Monday September 3rd.