She crouches over her front paws, her prey in her sights. Her tail whips to the side once, then she tucks it around her body, not wanting to give away her position. Her front paws slide slowly forward, advancing on her target — no sound can be heard as she creeps ahead. In a flash, she springs forward, wrestling her target to the ground.
Not to be outdone, her opponent jabs with his paws gaining enough room to roll back to his feet, ready for his counterstrike. His fur stands on end; his back arches slightly as he takes his swing, mewing a little as his paw connects with his target. The two spar for a little while; each getting bats and taps in. She starts biting his ear then stops, deciding instead to lick and clean her brother’s ear instead. This calls an end to the latest round of play.
I mentioned briefly in a column a few weeks ago my fiancé, Tim, and I are the unexpected “grandparents” of four kittens. Our cat, Dora, had them at the end of July, and they are getting their feet under them more and more every day.
Tim and I avoided giving them “real names,” so we didn’t become attached. As much as I would love to keep them all, we simply can’t. My sister, Trish, has claimed the runt of the litter. We called him “Runty,” but we are slowly adapting to calling him “Boo,” which is short for Boo Radley to go with their dog Scout and betta fish Jem. “To Kill a Mockingbird” fans will understand the reference.
That leaves the other two boys and one girl. If anyone is looking for a free kitten, let me know. Any of them would make cat lovers smile with glee. They are potty trained and adorable. Allow me to tell you a bit about them.
Little Girl, as we call her, is probably my favorite of the group — Tim’s, too. She is the only fluffy one of the group, think the Fancy Feast cat with a gray head and tail. She is going to make a good lap cat. She’s a little shy at first but doesn’t fuss when you pick her up. She loves being held and petted but does her fair share of playing, too. She is a fast learner, the first of the group to figure out how to climb.
Blackie looks the most like his mother. Like Dora, he has a mostly black coat, all down his back and the top of his head. Unlike his mother, he is white from his nose, all down his belly and paws. He has the most personality of the group and seems to always get the best of his brothers and sister while playing.
Gray is the last of the group, but I’d bet he’s the oldest. He’s always the one who does things first — first to eat solid food, first to play and first to use the litter box. Similar to his brother, Blackie, he’s gray on his back and head but white on his belly. He’s getting really good at playing with his wand toy. He’ll bat it down and get a good grip on it with his teeth and not let go. I think both Blackie and Gray are going to be good mousers.
Despite my resolve not to get attached, Little Girl has captured Tim and I’s hearts, and “Marie” will remain a part of our family. Blackie and Gray are still looking for forever homes.
Tim tells me since the kittens are eating solid food and using the litter box, they are ready to leave anytime. Soon they will venture out on their own, but I will always remember what it was like watching these four curious kittens learn more each day. Even though they are starting to become more independent, they are still very attached to their mamma. I know she can’t really understand me, but I tell Dora all the time what a good mother she is and how well she is raising them.
It will be an adjustment for Dora, but I know it’s not unusual for baby cats to leave their mom once they learn how to survive without her. It’s in their nature after all.
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