Escher made another big step this week. This handsome boy is shy and awkward and still gets frightened very quickly. If he’s lying all cozy on the bed, he’s okay if Justin or I walk into the room but if it’s both of us – he bolts. When the doorbell rings – he bolts. When company comes over – he bolts.
This week, my sister Shannon came by for some visiting. The kittens have known Auntie Shannon since they came to live with us but still, sometimes she won’t see them at all, especially Escher. Not this time!
One day, Shannon looked at Escher and Escher looked at Shannon and something amazing happened; he walked right over to her to say hi!
That was already swoon worthy but then he did something else, something that is his own odd little quirk, something that doesn’t sound very pleasant but is in fact a wonder: he gave her his bum. That’s what we’ve come to call it. When he turns around and offers up his butt, it’s an act of trust. It started when the kittens were wee. Whenever you reached out, Escher would quickly move away. He was always leaving. If you got lucky, you might be able to pet the very end of his back before he was gone and so that was the first place he got used to being petted. Knowing this, Shannon reached out and was able to give a little pet to her furry nephew to the delight of us all.
You never know when or how the magic is going to happen. But if you are patent and you pay attention, the opportunity for magic will arrive.
(Luckily it doesn’t always look like a cat’s behind!)
When we discovered the three abandoned kittens that would come to be ours, they were the quietest cats we had ever encountered. It seems that wild cats don’t meow. In fact, the meow seems to be a sound that is specifically for communication with humans. Having been alone most of the time, our three didn’t develop that tendency. The occasional mew would erupt at dinner time when they were kittens, particularly from Shibumi but generally, they were quiet.
Honestly, it was a blessing!
Now each of them seems to be developing a language of their own.
Escher has this sweet chirrup that bubbles up when he’s full of excitement, running up the stairs or getting the kitty crazies.
Scout has this languorous, dare I say, whine that is generally a desire for attention and a little meh-meh when he wants to play.
Shibumi has rather a harsh meow, being the bruiser that she is. More recently she’s adopted a kind of adorable breathy grumble when she brings her ball and says, “Playtime!”
Even though we thoroughly enjoyed our years of quiet (especially after our late Jinx’s insistent early morning meows), it is actually nice to see that they are trying to communicate. Our relationship is building every day. Meow!
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.