Your Standard Fight-Play-Groom Cycle

I think there’s one thing all we catniks possibly agree on:  Our feline friends can be mighty subtle beings.  I’m aware – if I’m on my game, that is – that I better observe my cats carefully, and fast.  And if there are no other witnesses, well, sometimes I’m just not sure what I’ve just seen.

But I do think I’m seeing something real.

I’m appreciating Bugs as an understated, inward-looking chap.  The times he moves toward me are few, but in their rarity I feel their sweetness all the more intensely.  He picks his moments, usually when the Nuisance Dressed In White, a/k/a Fang, is not in the room.  If my mind is elsewhere, the moment is lost.  But if I’m quick enough to make space for his attentions, he’ll sidle up.  He’ll tap me with a fleeting, gentle head-butt, and a purr so soft I’m not sure I heard it.  Or if he’s passing, he’ll bump me with his hindquarters, briefly wrap his tail around me, and then be on his way.

I really love how I’ve learned to be with Bugs.  In the early days, I was so disappointed – crushed, really – when I felt him to be so far out.  When he was so wild he’d draw blood.  When I kept reaching toward him and catching empty air.  Read about it here, where I marveled at Kevin Richardson’s ability to snuggle up to lions.  If he could do that with lions, what was wrong with me?

But that was before my great friend and colleague Teresa arrived, to help out with her Tellington Touch.  And, now, there’s the fascination of getting to watch Bugs trying to carve out a life for himself with The White Nuisance newly on the premises.  How different the two boys are.  Poor Bugs.  With Fang on a tear pretty much 24-7, Bugs’s monastic life-style choices often tend to suffer.

But I also think the boys are learning to accommodate too.  The fights seem fewer and less passionate, and it seems easier for me to intervene if not.

Here’s an example, from just now.  I was on the phone, in a long conversation, and both boys were sleeping near me in separate places.  When I hung up, Bugs awoke.  He went over to the still-sleeping Fang and started to groom him.  This went on for some time.  The exchange seemed peaceful and gentle.  It ended not in tears, as would have been the usual case – it ended when I started taking pictures.  You can see where Bugs is just on his way out.  Look at those soft tails.

The happy outcome here may have been because I had more time than usual, this holiday weekend, to run Fang a little more into the ground.  It took many hours; fortunately it was fun for the whole family.  Except Bugs, that is.

The outcome was similar yesterday.  The encounter commenced with the boys playing gently and then separating.  The subsequent inevitable bloodletting in the Battle of The Beds did not happen.  This time, Bugs got Long Bed and Fang was willing to try another comfy alternative.

“Now see here Bugs,” he seems to be saying.  Really I think he was contemplating continuing to play with Bugs’s feet — and then thinking twice about it.

Bugs couldn’t leave it alone.  Here he is initiating combat.

No face-off, though!  Fang simply scarpered.  Here’s an animation showing Bugs tracking the scarpering, as Fang ran around the bed and into the next room.

ivDLr0 on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

And I can’t resist holding that last frame still.  Would you just admire with me the one-pointed focus.

I find this amazing about cats.  They have this intense laser-like focal ability – and yet their ability to relax off it fluidly is also simply legendary.  I find it endlessly amazing.

Fang’s a whole nother story.  He is balls-out crazypants pretty much 24-7.  It takes so very very much to get him to crash out.  Here’s a case in point from earlier today.

Here he is in mid-flight, contemplating his next move.

Here he’s just about launching into his nucleus-ball frenzy.  He loves that nucleus-ball to death.  I wish I could share with you the swing-from-the-chandeliers shenanigans he gets up to with it – but that would take video more hi-tek than I care to get.

Here’s the general idea of the ensuing mobilization.

Here he is switching allegiance to the Chip-n-Chirp.

He doesn’t even need the C&C for further frenzy.  Catlovers will recognize this next ploy:  Cat’s head under the ess and rabbit-kick-city with the hindquarters.

Finally, at long long last – but, even so, not without a toy close at hand paw, because you wouldn’t want to wake up without one handy paw-by –

The end.  For the moment.  Til the next cycle.

Wash, spin, repeat.

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About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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33 Responses to Your Standard Fight-Play-Groom Cycle

  1. Ah, I would say Fang will eventually slow down, but then I think about The Baby…13 years and still a kitten! Bugs’ only defense: Gain 10 pounds and engulf the White Menace.

  2. lahgitana says:

    fun for the whole family except Bugs?! hahahahaha!

    • nadbugs says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed that, Lahggie. Me too.

      • lahgitana says:

        yep–that’s the way it is–the interloper is happy! that’s our BuddyBoop, happy as a clam, and he bothers Calpurrnia no end!

        • nadbugs says:

          Wouldn’t you just know it.

          • lahgitana says:

            I often think of your two cats and you as you all became a family and I take hints from that–especially the one about fussing over the resident kitty when the resident is the aggressor.

            It has made all the difference to me–and to Calpurrnia, I think. She has mellowed a lot since he came swinging in. Tho’ she still does whap him on the head when she feels like he needs it!

            • nadbugs says:

              This is wonderful to hear! I must pass your news along to Kim, where this wisdom came from. Certainly not from me. I just do what I’m told! And BB probably needs a whap or two from time to time, to keep him in line, is my guess. True?

              • lahgitana says:

                According to Calpurrnia, it’s true he needs to be whapped. According to BB and witnesses, he’s just standing there! Anywhere is just too close for C.

                The most recent whap was getting cookies in parallel. Big Mister kept placing each cookie closer together until they were inches apart. They each peacefully ate the last proffered cookie, sat a moment, then C whapped BB and she walked away! Guess who’s boss?!

  3. CATachresis says:

    It seems us ailurophiles are endlessly fascinated by the minutiae of cat behaviour. Never tire of observing! Austin does that tail wrapping thing. I find it so poignant for some reason, but he seems to be quite affectionate anyway compared to Bugs … except when I initiate it! lol.

    Nice gif :) Must admit to being a bit addicted now to doing them!!

  4. nadbugs says:

    I just commented, on Isobel’s blog, how there are no issues when it’s the cats doing the deciding — the problems arise when we beans want something. No dice. Good to see it confirmed in your case.

    Old tail-wrapping Austin. How I wish I could meet him. I love the peekaboo tongue in the birthday card.

    Those gifs are really cool, aren’t they. Didja notice how offhand I was about them in the text? The old hand over here. No big deal. Actually, I have to confess, for your eyes only, that I stare mesmerized at them flipping back and forth for longer than is probably good for my eyes and my brain. There. Now I feel much better, getting that off my chest. Authenticity is healing and restorative. When kept to a discrete minimum. Like in comments that only you and a handful of others on a good day might read. That way I get to keep my self-image of authenticity, while not exposing myself too vulnerably to the readership as a whole. It’s working for me!

    And — wasn’t it you who did a 3-way gif? That really inspired me. I wonder how many ways you could do it, before it wouldn’t work.

  5. Oldcat says:

    If it is any consolation, Julius is a lot more overtly affectionate these days than when he was younger in the way that you mean – the sit on your lap and purr kind of thing. Before that there was more of the drive by kind of things you describe. So as he grows older he may be more accomodating.

    And probably as Fang’s energy fades a bit their play might become more scripted and calmer.

    Till then remember that you can grab them for a minute and snorgle them when you need to. They get over it, especially if you bribe them to.

    • lahgitana says:

      heeheehee– drive-by snorgling! I do agree!

      • nadbugs says:

        I actually don’t write about what I do, in the forced-snorgling department. Maybe I need to come clean here too. Awright, since it seems to be bare-all time. I actually put my arms entirely around Bugs and bury my face in his back-fur. How do I achieve this incredible accomplishment? When I’ve lured him up on top of Nelson’s Column with treats, and he has nowhere to go. I then do my thing. The little lambkins — he just stands there quietly and tolerates it. I don’t push my luck though. Thirty seconds max.

  6. Wazeau says:

    I am ever so grateful my two came as a multi-kitten package. I very very rarely have to intervene in any way with their interactions – usually only to save Neko from an over enthusiatic Sassy, or make sure Neko doesn’t eat all of Sassy’s dinner. I love your gifs and photos, and the words that accompany them – thanks :)

    • nadbugs says:

      Oh you’re so welcome, dear Wazeau, I feel like I’m returning the favor for your wonderful posts . . . Sounds like I, too, would do things the way you describe with the two-kitten package, if I had it to do over again. But I went into this madcap lark a complete innocent. I mean I had not one single clue, not one, of what I was getting into. Thank heavens it’s turned into the best “decision” of my life. What a mercy!

  7. Sounds a lot like my boys. Sleeping, slobbering, then screaming. It doesn’t always happen, though, sometimes its just good roughhousing. Occasionally I have to tell em to cut it out, even if they don’t listen. I’ve been cogitating on how two cats seem to be able to get along, but three just messes things up. Although apparently when you get into double digits it all calms down again. I’ve not had an unaffectionate cat in years, though, and I think I’d be very sad to only get the occasional fur-snorgle!

    • nadbugs says:

      Sleeping slobbering and screaming. Really makes you ask what we were thinking when we got into this deal . . . . Fortunately it’s worth it. I am glad you get your quota of snorgle. I hate to think of you sad.

  8. I too, love the gifs everyone is going. I did a five way one with Leo and I’m looking for pictures to do one for Star. I wish they would make up between fights like your boys seem to.
    Leo likes to wrap his tail around a leg as he passes too and yup, I grab him for snuggles when he just wont come to me. MOL Star would take my face off, so I have to pet her on the floor until she decides it’s time to climb up for snuggles on her terms.

  9. rumpydog says:

    When I finally figured out Malachi was gonna be staying here, I worried about him getting along with the other cats. You’d think I’d be worried about the dogs, but no, for some reasons cats seems to get along fine with my dogs. Anyway, it’s been a slow process, but he has made friends with Hissy Fit Jones and Yella, and he’s not afraid of anyone, so that was one less thing to worry about.

  10. Cats are never boring, not a for second. Fang reminds me of Odin’s crazypants behavior. Any snorgling is good. We take what we get :-)

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