Mistress of Mayhem

Freya is soooo generous with her head-butts… she just can’t stop butting her lovely furry head against each and everyone, yes even everything. The sight of that lithe grey-striped figure ambling over in search of some love -and quite single-mindedly determined to get it- is a marvel to behold, but sometimes you can’t help but dread her approach. Because she is wont to be more than generous with the physical manifestations of her undying love, i.e. head-butts, and that is a sure and certain invitation to… disaster.

Typically it goes like this:
she jumps onto your computer desk and
you get a head-butt and
your hand gets a head-butt and
the mouse gets a head-butt and
the keyboard gets a head-butt and
your mug gets a head-butt and
your CPU gets a head-butt and
the reset-button on your CPU gets a head-butt and…

Yes. That’s right. Ah, the marvels of modern technology and love-starved kitties. Forget the all-important details you were just typing. If you hadn’t been quick enough to save your hard work of the last 15 minutes (or 3 hours), that’s just tough luck. When Freya wants to be loved she’ll come and get it, and if that stupid flickering box in front of you takes up all of your precious attention instead of her august little self… well, tough luck for that box too. Yet you can’t fault her for using the direct approach either. By now our little furry lady knows her pet Simians very well indeed, and she’s learned long ago that nothing short of an EMP-flash will tear us from our flickering boxes. If there’s no handy EMP happening, well, then push must come to shove. And head meets button.

Talking about boxes: Freya considers cardboard boxes the ultimate playpen, to be played with, at, in, upon, under, through and around. But she also approaches any box with the typical behaviour we have come to call the “typewriter”. It consists of our lithe grey-striped feline lady sitting in said cardboard box, positioning her tiny yet formidable fangs just so over the rim, and then chomping off little bits – one by one. She spits out the bits whilst chomping and at the end of the row she will go back to the beginning and start anew. Chomp chomp chomp chomp SPIT. Chomp chomp chomp chomp SPIT. In the end nothing much is left of the -by now- forlorn box but a respectable pile of discarded bits of cardboard. Freya is nothing if not thorough.

Isegrim, her illustrious offspring, seems to be cut from the same tree. He too likes boxes to play in. One of the most endearing pictures I have snapped of the twain (so far) was when Freya was recovering from her spaying surgery, had crept inside such a box in order to zonk out, and Isegrim decided to stand guard in front of her and the box. His faithful protective watch while his dearly beloved mommah was semi-comatose is not something I will soon forget. But he too likes to destroy cardboard boxes when he happens upon them, and when Freya woke up from her anesthesia-induced slumber they both joyfully did away with the hapless box.

Freya has become known in the House of Chaos as the Mistress of Mayhem, and especially shows it off when she negotiates the cupboards in search for a petting hand or a quiet spot for a nap. We Simians tend to clutter said cupboards with all kinds of knick-knacks, books, letters, junk mail, tools, mobile phones… the works. But when Freya passes by and snuggles in we’d better go and save what we can from crashing into the floor because where she takes up space all that stuff has to go. Never mind that it makes for a cozy bed. In fact, Freya likes cozy. She likes to have stuff piled up around her. But once a-slumber she is wont to move in her sleep and said piles never stay put. Thus you will find a huge load of paperwork and assorted items noisily cascading off the cupboard and one kitty waking up grumpily, staring at you with slitted accusing eyes radiating the message: “Why the ruckus ?”
It’s never her fault of course. She was never awake to know. Or so she claims.

Strangely enough she can move with exquisite grace around those assorted objects at other times. We have witnessed her negotiating the weirdest routes on, over and through the cupboards and not cause a single item to crash down at all. She will daintily put down each paw with infinite care, judging every tentative step with an expert eye for distance and mass, and float gracefully all the way without any mishap. To watch her move is to observe poetry in motion. She is impeccable, lithe, lovely and very very careful.
Yet sometimes she simply ambles through. And that is when things go down. Hard.

Picture below: The Mistress of Mayhem caught red-haaah… red-teethed in the act.

Freya chomp

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Growing Older

An old cat is not poetry in motion. Rather, it is stiff, and awkward and slow and absolutely certain of where it puts its paws. An old cat will try not to jump and climb if he can avoid it, will choose his way with care so that he should not overly exert himself.  He knows all the tricks of the trade, and if he is a lucky old cat, he has a home where he can spend 22 hours a day napping peacefully. The other 2 hours, of course, are spent eating and collecting scritches from his Simian caregivers.
But how old is old ? When is a cat of age ?

Loup-Garou is in his eleventh year now. He’s an indoors-outdoors cat, which means that he lives in a house but goes outside whenever the fancy -or the urge- takes him. He does not have to fend for himself since he has 3 simians to do his bidding, he does not have to defend a large territory since he is spayed and thus no longer prone to the demands of raging hormones, he has friends who will stand by him whenever he encounters a problem (certainly Hrimnir, who is the Peacemaker). He does not have to face the cold and dampness outside that would cause his bones to hurt and ache because he has a warm and dry home to snuggle in. All in all he is a very happy old cat and it shows.

His pelt is more coarse now than it used to be. The luster and shine have been replaced by a dignified glimmer. The black is now interspersed with specks of white. The glorious luxurious fur of old is now merely comfortably worn. But it is clean. It continues to show a certain vitality that only a happy cat who practices regular and thorough grooming with dedicated precision can display. It is the kind of pelt that says “here walks a ruggedly handsome gentleman of years, experienced and wise, dignified and noble, well-kept and well-preserved. Be gentle with him.” Or, as they sing in the musical “Cats”: “And be careful of old Deuteronomy…”

Now, observe a kitten. Take Isegrim for instance. His coat is a ragged bristling jumble of soft plush. His idea of grooming consists of a hurried lick now and then, ad random, when the offending patch has absolutely become… ah… offending. He’s not really concerned about his appearances, as long as he’s reasonably clean, doesn’t stink a mile in the wind, and doesn’t upset the simians when he jumps on their laps. His idea of walking around consists of random bursts of speed, with the odd turn and jump thrown in, more or less aimed at where he sort of wanted to land, and generally causes the resident Simians to wonder what he’s been eating. Sometimes his choice of movement causes us to wonder what he’s been sniffing too. But in the end it all comes down to: hold on the furniture people, Izzy’s passing by again.

Not so the elder and extremely dignified Loup-Garou. He chooses his way with exquisite care, clearly planning in advance what route he will be taking in order to negotiate the various obstacles in the House of Chaos with the least fuss needed. Not a single move is wasted, ultimate conservation of energy is the goal. And not a single object will be endangered, since his lithe form is wont to evade anything and wind himself around whatever he encounters. Isegrim just blunders on, through and over. It’s being boisterous that the kitten lives up to, and he has a lot to learn if you judge him by the elderly cat’s disposition.

But learn he will. The body is -alas !- prone to the ravages of time, and time itself is utmost unforgiving. In time our sweet little kitten will notice that he’s grown so tall that his sweet furry paws are now struggling to carry the load. He will discover that the elasticity of youth has been gradually replaced by the stiffness of age. His aging body will cry out to him to rest, to repose, to lie down, relax and let that pesky mousy be. He will learn the hard way that what once had been a height easily scaled has now gotten quite out of reach, and that when he jumps he may not always land where he wanted to, but crash down in an undignified -and angry- heap instead. The face of a feline who, for the first time in his life, misses his leap is a marvel to behold indeed. Words fail to evoke the look of utter disgust and wrath that ripples over that furry little face, but I am more than able to describe the subsequent countenance… that of a kitty determined not to fail this time, when he sets about to jumping once more, consummate tenaciousness radiating from every whisker.

Fortunately for little Isegrim those days are still far off, he’s got 9 more years to enjoy the prime of his cathood to the fullest. But for Loup-Garou the time has now come to settle down and savour the coddling his Simians lavish upon his august feline self. The other Feline Denizens of the House of Chaos defer to his advanced age (and nasty temper), he only has the upstart usurping feral Almost Franky to fear.
Yet, two nights ago he triumphed.
When I came into the living room yesterday morning tufts of black and white fur could be found in abandon everywhere. Clearly a Clash of the Titans has been happening here, and it certainly explains the angry howls we heard the night before. After a quick check on Loup-Garou I could find no injuries, and Frankette -the only white and black feline in residence- seemed unharmed as well. This leads us to the happy conclusion that Almost Franky has come calling again… and got the trashing of a lifetime.
Clearly the old geezer hasn’t lost his mojo yet.

Picture below: Loup-Garou giving Isegrim a nose-kiss.

Loup-Garou & Isegrim

Don’t forget to visit: The Friday Ark, Carnival of the Cats, Weekend Cat Blogging, Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos.

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