The Tiger's Eye: Morning fun at Casa Panthera tigris altaica

24 December 2007

Morning fun at Casa Panthera tigris altaica

I’m replacing the batteries in the touch-pad operated LED lights under our kitchen counters. When I hear;” Scramble, scramble, bump-thump, jingle, jingle, thump…” (accompanied by the sound of cartoon scrambling cat-feet on hard flooring as Pete zips behind the sofa).

“What was that?” a disembodied voice came from the bedroom, “What do you THINK it was?” I replied walking from the darkened kitchen switching on the lights to see if any of the “X-mass Tree 2007” was damaged beyond repair. The sound underneath the tree was Pete attempting to rearrange the presents to further his possession of the kitty cave made by the tree, the presents and the corner they sit in. Most of the day if you look under the tree you will see a pair of green eyes peering back at you. He is convinced that Mom built this fortress just for him.

“ZIIIIP!!!” Pete scurried past me into the bedroom.

“Yeah; you’d better get in here and tell Mommy what you did!”, “What were you doing in there?”

“Morrrrow!” - And so it goes all before 6:15am on this Christmas Eve.

(Sidebar comment) Much of my time at home these days is spent chuckling to my wife talking to her cat as if he were a small child. I swear he knows how to respond like he understands. That and the fact that our house now often sounds like the soundstage for “Rodger Rabbit” with the scurrying feet and bouncing cat bodies.

When living in the house with two adolescent male cats you liken it to having a pair of “related-but-not-brothers” pre-teen boys around. You know those guys that at the family reunion that always seemed to know how to get into the most trouble while finding something fun to occupy their time; those guys who always had angelic smiles when talking to the adults but in fact were little hellions away from supervision?

That’s our house now. Before last Thanksgiving we were “Dog people” The kind of people who live quietly on a cul-de-sac with two old dogs in a fence that all the neighborhood kids know. After Bailey’s sad demise we became the crazy cat couple who everybody whispers about when strolling past. “See them in there? They have cats now. She treats hers like a BABY!”

Most mornings begin early, as in 3am early. Max (Back to camera, bookish quiet guy who would rather keep to himself) sits quietly staring at himself in the darkened window.

I swear he sits at the window all night peering at “that identical cat who is staring at me outside, whyHEevenblinkswhenIdo!”

We finally figured out why Max is so skittish (even for a cat). When he was a kitten he was dumped in a field where when found was near death of exposure and sickness. The nice folks at our Vet took him in and patched him up but one of the side effects appears to be some severe hearing loss. He is constantly being surprised by almost all noises. Walking into the room startles him and the most startling thing of all is Mom. It doesn’t matter how nice she is and how soft she pitches her voice, he just won’t relax around her.

Pete on the other hand (“bright eyes in the picture) is still busy getting into mischief. Remember the little punk down the street who would always find a way to piss you off when you were busy doing something? The kid you just wanted to thunk on the back of the head but always seemed to be a hand-length out of reach? That’s Pete. He appears to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get Max to play with him only to irritate Max to the point of near murder. Even as I sit here sipping cold coffee I hear scrambling feet and the sound of cat-wrestling in the living room.

No it’s never a dull moment around here and the day hasn’t ever really started yet. .