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It will turn into a cat

A friend of mine, on hearing I had a new kitten, said I'd be sorry, because "it will turn into a cat." I remember cats. They sleep almost continuously. Mmm, sleep.

I don't understand kitten people. I am lucky in this respect because "kitten" is such a fleeting state. Or seems fleeting when you are not actively being used as a scratching post, climbing structure, and banking surface. I agonized about the 30 or 50 little claw marks I'd gotten as my perky new arrival bounced off me all afternoon, and another friend said, "By Christmastime, all this will be a happy memory as he snoozes beneath the tree." That will be the best present ever.

I am still enchanted with this kitten, though. Contrary to belief in some quarters, I am not a masochist. A large part of my increasing affection for the little tulku is that every day, he becomes a little more adult, a little more sedate, a little more weighty. The fuzziness of his kittenhood is gone, and his ears are no longer enormous tents. His tail has lengthened. He is still full of beans, but he is no longer a pure energy being.

He is showing some of that cat deviousness that amuses me so much. In the vet's office, they gave him a pill coated in Cheez Whiz, and he happily gulped it right down. "Wow," the vet tech said, "I've never seen a cat fall for that trick before." I thought it was adorable that my kitten was as stupid as a dog, but I find it more amusing that for the follow-up dose, he's refused to eat the canned food I ground it up and mixed it in with.

He may just prefer crunchies to canned food; I won't complain if he does, although he needs that pill, dammit, so the wet food stays in the bowl until he eats it. He's a well-behaved cat -- he's never missed the litterbox, and he uses the designated scratching post preferentially. He's a sweet cat -- he definitely prefers to sleep on or near me, and he visits me constantly, not just at meal or play times. He's most certainly a cat -- as I sleep, he completely displaces my head from my own pillow, and when I wake he is curled in the middle of it, like a wedding ring being presented at the altar.

I am changing, too, my first flush of infatuation still strong but giving way to some capacity, however embryonic, to concentrate on other things. At dinner today, a friend remarked that I didn't seem quite so obsessed. I no longer feel compelled to post every single halfway decent picture of him, now holding out for the really good or really unusual ones. I look at him and think less, "how darling!" and more, "how beautiful."

He is not grown up yet. He still bounces, and now the claws are large and mature enough that they require trimming. He is still wide-eyed most of the time, even if the flash from the camera makes his eyes look more like languorous slits. He is not sleeping quite enough for my taste. But I'm in no hurry. During this time, he is becoming the companion I plan to share the next decade with, at least. It is a time to establish the few boundaries he'll have and to enjoy his transformation from small to big, young to old, feral to domestic.

July 26, 2002