Our feline friends can be quite the little geniuses when it comes to adaptation and versatility. And although they do lack the opposable thumb that we have been blessed with they can use their paws more or less like simian hands are used. Especially when there is something they really really covet. Then the paw becomes the fine-tuned and extremely dexterous grappling instrument we have come to learn to admire.

Bean Sidhe is a living proof of this. He is adept at using his paws in various ways but the grappling move is one of his best. In fact, the other feline denizens of the House of Chaos are wont to try to emulate him from time to time, but rarely do they succeed as well as the Bannster does. Because the Bannster has agile claws and a streak of intelligence seldom encountered in the feline species. He knows how to use his equipment to his best advantage.

Observe the movements:
There is a coveted item lying somewhere, a tasty titbit perhaps, and Bean Sidhe ambles over towards the spot where his formidable nose tells him it is located. For a moment his delicate sniffer is put to the task and the exact coordinates of said item are assimilated, then processed. The majestic behind is parked firmly on to the floor for supreme support and one paw is gingerly stretched. The paw is opened, the claws are extended, so as to have a reasonable surface of the paw exposed, and the grappling hooks are thus evenly distributed. Then the morsel is picked up in a scooping motion and brought towards the eagerly awaiting food processing unit, i.e. the mouth. Gobble. Swallow. Contented sigh. Sniff for more.

Bean Sidhe has been doing this trick since his earliest kittenhood but as a small kitten he was forced to use both paws for picking up stuff and hence had to perch precariously on his hind quarters, who weren’t as majestic back then as they are now. All the time he has been showing a remarkable dexterity and agility for one so encumbered by body mass and he never fails to attract an appreciative audience whenever the occasion -and a tasty morsel- presents itself. Could you fault him ?

He is a Master at his Art. But even a Master has still to learn extreme Mastership and so Bean Sidhe has been evolving his technique to the one-pawed one we know and admire today. And when the occasion warrants it he will not deign himself too elevated for the two-pawed technique of his kittenhood. After all, the classics often work best !

And thus was the Mistress a cheerful witness to a lovely display of his expertise when Hrimnir brought in a slab of lard that he has probably stolen from one of our neighbours. At first he allowed the kitten to play a bit with the food, knowing full well that the tyke wouldn’t be able to gobble up all of it. He was sure Hrimnir would abandon it sooner or later and he was right. After a few minutes of happy munching the slab of lard was lying forlorn on the floor of the Kitchen of Chaos and our Ban-Ban could amble over at his leisure in order to examine the situation and form up a working plan.

Clearly he decided that some dignity was in order and so he planted his fluffy butt next to the piece of lard and sat there for a moment, as if contemplating the sad fate of abandoned meat. Then a velvety-soft paw was gently inserted under the piece, the claws were extended, and with an expert swipe the meat was brought to his mouth. Having had this difficult task deftly executed he set to happily munching, just like Hrimnir did a few moments ago.

And now we are fearfully awaiting the day when he learns to apply his dexterity to the opening of cupboards and doors. Bean Sidhe is a smart little fellow, he’ll find out sooner or later that he has the force and the power to do what hitherto only the simians could do. But there is one instrument the use of which he desperately would covet and which he would never be able to master… the can-opener. Because for that you not only need opposable thumbs, but also strong, long, and agile fingers.

Forget it buddy.

Picture below: Bean Sidhe doing what he does best. Note the graceful balance… the questing whiskers… the deft paw… the car-grease on his right ear-tip…

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Friday comes along and the Friday Ark beckons with friends and fun for all. Will you visit it too ?

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