Our introvert. Too much noise? He’s out of there. Unexpected stimuli? He’s out of there. I remember my Aunt saying, “You can’t see his personality yet. He’s only showing his fear.”
Now, when Escher feels safe and comfortable, his sweetness comes out. When he’s on his own, he’ll often sleep on his back, tummy exposed, feet in the air. Often, he just likes to be in the room where I am, on his own but nearby. If I call to him, sometimes he’ll come running over, ready for a few pets.
This week poor Escher had to go to the vet. Just for his regular check-up but it terrifies him. Getting him into the carrier involved running, hissing and even a deep growl. Still, we managed to get him there and back again. The good news is he is healthy. Plus within minutes of getting home he was stretched out on the kitchen floor relaxed. He even let both me and Justin pet him! Amazing.
Though there are still challenges, Escher’s progress continues. My big hope is that one day we’ll be able to pick him up – and he’ll like it!
For a long time we have hoped the cats would join us on the couch. Very early on they decided it was a comfy spot but would generally leave when we were there (mostly because they didn’t like the noise of TV). Recently Shibumi has taken to sitting in “my spot” and last night, not only did she stay once I sat down, she stretched out long, putting her back paws on my legs and curled over, belly exposed and bliss on her face!! Shibumi almost never makes that cat move! I was in heaven despite the fact that she totally stole my spot.
Scout has a gift for making everyone feel at ease. You could really see it when they were those scrappy abandoned kittens. Somehow things would get more relaxed if Scout was in the mix.
Every day the kittens hang out together, often at the kitchen window or curled up on our bed. But each of them has a time of day that seems to be their very own and it tells you a lot about them.
Shibumi needs very active playtime every day. If we go near the cabinet with the cat toys, she’s right there sticking her nose in what she hopes will soon be an opening door. She plays hard and fast (#shibumiwins). Generally the other cats watch from the sidelines as she expertly catches that ball or dangling string in seconds flat. Don’t let that hunter’s instinct mislead you. She is so fiercely happy with this opportunity to let loose that it leaves her content and affectionate, rubbing up against your legs with joy.
In contrast, Escher is keenly adorable when he finds some alone time. While the other two are sleeping, you can sometimes find him in the kitchen quietly and imaginatively stalking his favourite toy – the spring. He’ll bat it around like a hockey puck. He’ll coolly walk away and then prep for a surprise pounce! He’ll even bring it over to me and drop it at my feet waiting for me to throw it. When I do, he’ll leap high in the air to catch the treasure. As an introverted kitty, Escher takes great joy in having time that is just for him.
Scout loves that time right before bed. He runs up the stairs, jumps on the bed and expectantly waits for cuddles. He’s irresistible. Rubbing his tummy and murmuring purrs and sweet nothings has become our nightly routine. I’ve taken to calling him Romeo.
If I were to cast the Studio Kittins into a story, they would each be members of a royal family in a fantastical world. I imagine Shibumi, the fierce warrior-queen, confident, courageous and a bit of a bruiser with a constant expectation of victory (#shibumiwins)
Scout would be the poet-prince, sensitive and high-strung but also the flirt, the peacemaker, the bonvivant…
And Escher would be the prince who stands apart, the expectation of imminent betrayal has him wary with all but a very few. His good looks but cold demeanour capable of breaking more than a few hearts.
Escher has been feeling so much more at ease. A few times I’ve seen him lying outstretched, tummy open, in front of the open window. And yesterday, as he was sitting on this sweater, I went to pet him and just for a moment he did the traditional cat curl, flopping over to his side, leaning his head back and exposing his belly just a touch.
Yesterday, I was working in the studio when I heard a bit of a bump and shuffle downstairs. As any cat mom would, I flew out of my chair to have a look. As I went down the stairs, I heard a scrambling and thought, “Who is in the sink?” Then I saw Shibumi, holding herself up by the paws on the frame of the kitchen window, the window above the coffee maker. Her feet were trying to find purchase. Clearly she had tried to jump up into the little window edge and hadn’t quite made it. I could see where she had tried to touch down on the table but had hit the top of the sugar container instead, flipping it over and giving her nothing stable sto stand on.
I reached out.
With her level of tension and her past, I knew I might be in for it. She would likely use my arm as a safetly ledge and spring/tear away with vigour and speed.
But that’s not what happened.
Instead she came to me easily and leaned in, her poor little heart beating a million miles a minute. She stayed in my arms, letting me pet her until she calmed and even began purring. Then she was ready to be off on her next adventure.