Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cat tales

Here are a few fun facts about Annie & Blackie, the fairest felines in all the land:

  • Annie has a gigantic noggin. Her head is unwieldy and far too large for the rest of her body. You'd think this might mean she'd be extra smart, but it seems to be mostly made of face.

    I've noticed that she has learned to turn this attribute to her advantage, though. A number of times I've seen her wedge her head into a closing door - closed doors are her pet peeve. If she can cram her face in there, then there will be plenty of room for the rest of her to slide on through. Maybe that giant head does make her a little smarter...

  • Blackie actually has the opposite problem - her head seems tiny. In all fairness, this is less due to an unusually small head than it is to her extreme fatness. Her head and feet are normal sized, but the rest of her looks like an over-inflated parade balloon. It has been pointed out that when Blackie sits back on her haunches in classic upright cat posture, her silhouette resembles that of a Christmas tree - small at the top, widening toward the floor.

    This has the unfortunate consequence of making it impossible for her to jump any higher than our bed. Her front end can jump much further than that, but the huge rear end inevitably drags the rest of her back down to earth, like a big furry Slinky.

  • Annie is a pretty cool customer as far as cats go. She always seems in total control of any situation and is at ease in just about any environment.

    The only exception to this (besides the vet's office, which is upsetting to most animals) is the presence of dogs. She HATES dogs, regardless of size, breed or temperament. It doesn't even need to be a real dog - she freaks out at dogs on TV, too. It's more of a phobia than hatred, I guess, although you can just see the hate rays shooting out of her eyes. She doesn't just run and hide, as would be expected. Instead, she literally climbs the walls, looking for the highest possible perch from which to hate them. It would be funny if she didn't seem so pitiful.

  • Blackie is much more cuddly than her sister, and would like nothing more than to be wherever you are. This is fine, unless we decide to leave the upstairs. You see, Blackie has never voluntarily left the upper story of our home - not since she caught her first glimpse of Josie & Alfie, my parents' cats and her archnemeses.

    Occasionally Alfie will come upstairs looking for action (he enjoys letting Annie beat the hell out of him), but he is always summarily dismissed when Blackie is around. She thinks he is evil and is personally offended by his mere presence. This despite the fact that Alfie was here for 3 years before she was (and should therefore have dibs), and is much smaller than she is. In fact, at just 8 lbs. he is less than 1/3 of her size. Yeah, like I said before, she's a fat load.

    In general, the girls differ from each other completely in temperament. Annie is bold and assertive, fiercely independent, and fears almost nothing (except dogs, of course). Where most cats are tentative when entering a new room or area, Annie will bust into that joint at full speed, never stopping to check for possible danger until it is far too late. She's been flattened on more than one occasion for her impulsiveness, but she doesn't seem to mind.

    Blackie, on the other hand, is skittish and a bit shy, very needy and quite easily frightened. While no one in this house has ever raised a hand to her (despite her unfortunate tendency to be a bit bitey with me), she still cowers and runs away whenever anyone holds something in their hand above shoulder level, regardless of what the thing is. The easiest way to get Blackie to move is to hold a throw pillow up in the air over your head. Considering her substantial girth, she can get away pretty fast.

    Despite all these differences, the girls seem to get along swimmingly.

    Sure, they beat the tar out of each other at least once a day, but they both seem to enjoy it. If I had been the one to name them (they were already 5 years old when we got them, complete with names), I think I would have called them Yin and Yang. Or perhaps Ying and Yong. Or how about Ping and Pong?

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