Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Cats Who Use Fuzz Tower

My apartment is a very different place than it was just a week ago. Specifically, it's the living room that has changed and energized this sleepy little flat. The election is over, so it's not us screaming at the television set during the debates or endless campaign commercials. For the most part, we don't give a rat's ass about Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the solstice, or the limitations of the Mayan calendar, so it's not that, either. Mental illness hasn't led to any dramatic episodes of screaming, suicide attempts...that sort of thing. No, it's been rather peaceful around here.

Except for the cat tree that I purchased for the four cats, which looks like this:

It's hard to see, but there are already two cats on the bottom of the kitty tree. Perhaps I should name this tree. How about the, "Tour de Duvet," which translates to, "Fuzz Tower." Everything just better in French. How about this as another example, "Arme à feu de mamelon et canon de pet" translates to, "nipple gun and fart cannon." What a language!

But I digress, as I'm oft wont to do. So the cause of all the recent excitement at the House of Four Cats is the Tour de Duvet, where all the cats have, at one time or another, flopped over and basked in the glow of indolence. Either that, or they've fought like maniacs over one spot or another. While this is going on, the resident humans have watched like parents watch their children at the playground. A bit of fear, but mostly just smiling and joyful at how damn cute are their kids. And our cats are cuter than your kid or kids. 

It gets particularly exciting around here when one of the cats climbs Fuzz Tower and tries to summit it, which means flopping over on one of the top two landings, which are 6-8 feet off the floor. There is a lot of cuteness, but the element of fear escalates. A sleeping cat can easily roll off one of these platforms and fall, and possibly not wake up until it's too late and subsequently smash into the floor. We watch to prevent this, but every so often there is a, "Whap!" in the night, and we know what it is, sadly.

The personality breakdown goes like this, when it comes to who gets to use Fuzz Tower, what part, and when. Some cats are not nice and do not share. In no particular order...

The Cats of The House of Four Cats

Fluffy - We all love Fluffy in this apartment. Many years ago, I discovered her giving birth under my back stoop, in a torrential rain. She produced 3 live kittens, all of them beautiful. Impy looked at me and it was kismet, I had to keep her. The problem with Fluffy is that she was once a feral cat, and knows what it is to be homeless. She's a fighter. She is the lightest cat here, very skinny and small. She also happens to be the cat that all the other cats fear. A lot. Fluffy will, during a fight or just when she is defending her spot on Fuzz Tower, swing her paws at her opponent so quickly that all one can see is a blur. And at the end of those paws are razor sharp claws. Annie the dog got her nose clipped once by these furious claws, and yelped. When Fluffy, so cute and so small, breaks out the blurry claw defense, you shall not pass. You'd better run. If Ghost or Panther aren't on Fuzz Tower, the reason, invariably, is Fluffy. When she is on the tower, it is hers.  You got a problem with that?

Impy - This cat rules me. Our eyes first met when she was hours old, and I may be the first living thing she saw. She has two siblings, both of whom look like Fluffy. Their eyes are deep blue, like Impy's, but the rest of them are black and white. They were both put up for adoption and are happy out there somewhere. Impy and I, however, were bound together for life. Also, Impy's brother, who did not survive being born, had the same markings that Impy has; sort of gray, with black highlights here and there. Very unusual. She got her father's markings. I'll never forget the day I pulled Impy, Fluffy, and those four kittens out from under our stoop in that rain...all goopy and newborn. Impy has become my familiar, and I'm her human. She's the boss, and I'm fine with that. What a cat. She is also very vocal, like Fluffy. She'll peep, chitter, rowr, meow, and make other odd noises a lot. She's trying to pick up English, both Nancy and I are convinced. Fluffy's noises are more like, "Rowrrrrrr!" An unusual noise she only used against other cats. Very effective.

Impy sleeps with Nancy and I every night. While getting undressed to take a shower, or before I get into bed, she'll scream at me and pace back and forth on the bed. Once in bed, she'll curl up between my legs, or next to them, purring away. She is skittish (a cough or sexual vocalizations may send her running) but if I call her back, she comes right back. I LOVE this cat.

Ghost - What can be said about this magnificent cat among cats? She is a polydactyl cat, also known as a, "Boston thumb cat." The folklore states that ship's captains leaving Boston would like to have a Boston thumb cat on board, for good luck. If you don't know, a polydactyl cat is a cat with at least one extra toe. A Canadian polydactyl cat broke the record with 27 toes! Cats normally have 17. Ghost looks like she has a large thumb, and would make a great hitch-hiker. It's impressive, and if she is playing with you, you'll feel that extra toe or two ripping into your flesh. These cats are also called, "Hemingway cats," because Ernest Hemingway loved them, and owned many. Most are found in New England down the east coast to Florida, with some in the United Kingdom.

Ghost also has a magnificent personality. She'll play with a toy by herself, she loves to chase fingers and curl up anywhere on your body. Always a ball of energy, she'll happily pick little play fights with anyone, human, dog, or cat. A very happy cat who loves to play and is a joy to watch on Fuzz Tower. She isn't mean at all, and if you scratch her itchy back, she'll lick you clean...that includes your shirt or pants or face or whatever. Frisky, funny, and a little wacky. Also affectionate and adorable as all Hell.

Panther - Panther owns my father, who is 80 years, old. He pushes him around, hisses at him, takes up most of his bed, tries to trip him when he goes into the kitchen for coffee, and can make an awful, "Rowrrr!" sound if my father doesn't do what he wants. It's an abusive relationship. If Panther were a human being, he'd be in jail for elder abuse.

An expose about Annie the Hound soon to come!


My Darling Little Impy



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