More meaningless milestones

… but at least, this gives me the excuse to post something furry.

A year ago, The Girlfriend heard something crying outside the open window one night, which led to the discovery that we had four abandoned, semi-feral kittens hanging around. The capture and taming of them was chronicled here, and here, and here, with a special holiday episode here. The two females pictured at left remained with us – Marley, the lynx point named in those posts, and the flame point later christened Castle, both received homes – and so, a quick look at the progress in this past year.

The calitabby-point [front], who started off being referred to as Cali, always had a certain air of aloofness about her, and her first game was actually ‘keepaway’ – she would dart away if anyone tried to reach down to pet her, but would return and keep dashing past, daring someone to make contact. However, perhaps due to The Girlfriend’s initial overtures with the lunchmeat, the two soon bonded. As her adult coat came in, she developed large random patches of dirty coloring, looking for all the world as if she’d been rolling around in a greasy garage, and so her name changed to Kaylee. I’ve watched her get excited at The Girlfriend’s imminent arrival, and she doesn’t seem to mind at all being rocked like a baby while being cuddled, something that The Girlfriend hasn’t left behind yet even though the youngest sprog is a senior in college. Kaylee has also taken it as her duty to help The Girlfriend wake up in the morning, countering the ‘snooze’ button with licking whatever skin she can find, usually the sensitive underarm areas. If you’re familiar with cat tongues, you know this is far more excruciatingly ticklish than it sounds.

The very shy female lynx point tried her damnedest to remain feral, staying hidden as much as possible, spitting and striking at me when I eased her out of her various hiding places. Eventually, I gathered her up in a blanket that they’d all been using for a bed and carried her into the living room, forcing her to stay put while I provided petting. It didn’t take too long before she succumbed to the charms of this and began to realize that humans might have some positive points after all – that’s her totally zonked out in my lap during this taming session. These efforts largely made her “my” cat, and she soon decided that, while I was slumped too far back in the chair working at the computer in the evenings, she would curl up on my chest. That she would need to be supported with one arm for this to be feasible was not a concern of hers, though it did tend to slow down my typing. Unfortunately, the nickname that she’d been given just to differentiate her stuck, and she has remained Little Girl thereafter.

Through the winter, the two engaged in some of the wildest wrestling matches I’ve ever seen from cats, and Little Girl (smaller than Kaylee and apparently from a different litter) would produce ferocious growls worthy of concern, but this seemed to be from her insecurity over being bested by Kaylee – they disappeared almost entirely once she matched Kaylee in size (coincidentally, Kaylee began running away more.) They now have two primary play times, which is first thing in the morning and late at night, where they thunder through the house and treat the throw rugs as toboggans. The Girlfriend, who had never been a cat person before, spoiled them with a well-chosen selection of toys, which I spend a certain amount of time digging out from under the fridge and shelves, yet they still tend to favor the plastic pull tabs from gallon milk jugs. Kaylee, though a spirited wrestler, goes totally apeshit all by herself at times, selecting a toy and doing Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon moves across the living room. She spends more time on her hind legs than any cat I’ve seen, and is convinced that some of those toys are going for her throat.

Such a pleasant smile, right? Yeah, don’t fall for it…

The most distinctive thing, comparing the older photos with a current one above, is how much their coats have changed. While Kaylee went from nearly pure white to blotchy, Little Girl developed such distinctive tiger markings that her Siamese heritage is almost completely obscured. She is also next to impossible to see at night, which is notable mostly because her trust has flipped 180° and she believes everyone will step around her. Kaylee barely makes a sound, just occasional soft calls if she’s not getting enough attention, but Little Girl talks frequently in trills, and will even hold conversations.

She’s also far too interested in what’s going on when someone lies on the floor with a camera, and thus kept leaving her cute pose to come up and see what I was doing. Kaylee, however, is even less cooperative…