This was taken a while back. You remember Snowpocalypse? Then.
To the subject of now, which is, Bugsie playing claw-launch on my person at 3:30 a.m.
Of all the theories all y’all came up with to explain what he could be doing, the one theory that made the very least sense to me was that he was, simply, playing.
By me, my friends, nuh-UH he was NOT. The way I was feeling, no way could I hear that. To me it was clearly predation. Foraging. You know. Nature red in tooth and claw.
This just goes to show that all the heady-info in the world can’t help a Bean who’s laboring under the burden of fear and worry. I knew, intellectually, that cats practice their predation and foraging by play. I knew that. But again, until Bugs and I got to the place of me feeling some freedom from the constant fear and worry I was under
Well let me stop from going on with the philosophical point I wanted to make. One more piece of information I’d like you to know.
This morning Bugsie was even sweeter than I’ve been reporting over the past couple of days. This morning he dispensed totally with the claw-launch and even so much as mere gestures in that direction. He just skipped right over it. He went straight to the walking (not charging or leaping, I said walking or shall we say sashaying) over, and purring and head-butting and tail-wrapping. At 6:30. Not 3:30 or 4:30. 6:30.
Pause for frenzied celebration.
Next he walked down my legs and tapped my foot. At this point I said, “You know, Bugs, let’s not go there (Jackson Galaxy’s ‘no’). Let’s think of something else. Like – oh gee, I don’t know, what about something to eat?” (With Bugs, you can just imagine what a big “yes” this is, where this food-monster is concerned.)
So that’s what I mean, when I say we’ve got me some freedom from fear and worry. Like:
:: YES! ::
So now, halleluyah, I can contemplate the play concept.
The other day I was over at PetSmart. They had kittens. Oh my yes, they had kittens. So I spent a while hanging out with the kittens.
Three little scraps of neuro-ballisto-crazypantsness in particular. I mean these guys tore UP their cage. Everything was flying. Litter-box, water, fur, bed wadded up in the corner, man, it was total wild kitty-chaos.
What I saw, though, was that no matter how hard they
fought played with each other, they stayed safe. I saw one guy on his back and the other guy standing over him. The guy on his back was doing the bunny-kick thing on standing-guy’s belly. Standing-guy was raking bunny-guy with his paws, all over bunny-guy’s face even including ears and, scariest of all, eyes. The third little guy was playing slap-shot hockey with whichever tail showed up in reach.
And then presto-chango – bunny-guy became paw-guy became tail-guy and so on, round and round we go.
Here’s the thing: No hissing, no biting. No blood. No detached body-parts.
Just all-out neuro-ballisto-crazypantsness.
So, I thought. Play. The concept of Play. Maybe Bugs really was playing. Maybe he just never had the experience, to
fight play with his age-appropriate, species-appropriate litter-mates. Maybe he was just stuck on crazypants-play, with me. With no possible way – with me cowering in fear and worry – for poor Bugs to get that he couldn’t fight play with me like he could have done with his littermates. Or, as commentator OldCat said on last post: “Cats roughhouse with each other and our lack of fur can throw off the bite force calibration.”
Don’t you just love the authoritative ring of that? “Bite force calibration”? Sounds like NASA! Don’t you hear how it really works, to convey this picture: Fur-less, naked, skinny-skin me! Bite-force calibration! Yow!
But now, these days, with Bugsie getting the message and me getting happy –
We’re working this thing out. Or maybe it’s already worked out. After a year and a half, an overnight success.
Enough with the words. I went back to PetSmart, after I knew I was going to write this post, and took some pictures of some kittens. Stills, unfortunately, and no way can they possibly do justice to the crazypantsness of it all. But you know cats, so you can fill in the blanks.
I shot these while I was still hoping that continuous-shoot might work kinda-sorta.
Then I gave that up and just took snaps. Here’s a gallery. Prepare to faint from total cuteness overload.
And Mr. Bugs. Given he’s the star in my firmament. This time with yellow accents, to pick up the gold in his eyes.
And the shadow theme?
I dedicate this post to my dear friend and NVC colleague Pattie. Pattie probably invented the “play” concept. This morning the following phrase, lightly accented in dulcet Texas overtones, just popped on out of her mouth:
“Why, she’s just jumping over her own shadow.”
PROGRESS! The Horde here knows that a sleeve pulled down OVER the hand is the signal for nads-to-the-wall biting and kicking, They love winter when we wear sweatshirts and they can REALLY go to town. Bugs, pick your times better and you’ll have some fun!
Trish: I’d love to see some pics! Can do? Sounds like excellent spectator sport. Not yet ready to try it over here, mind.
So encouraging to hear you two are progressing 🙂 That cute little orange kitty, oh my.
To eat like carrot. Completely irresistible.
I’m so glad to hear that things are improving! Because of what you said, I’m downloading the first episode of My Cat From Hell from iTunes as we speak… I need to check this out!
And oh. The pictures of the kittens. Is there anything on this earth that is cuter than a kitten? Even when they are playing so, so roughly with one another.
Holy Cod! iTunes! You are brilliant! I’m going there next.
Kittens are outRAGEous. There is NOTHING cuter. Nada, nothing, zero, zip. Unbelievable.
Dad gummit, I can’t find the show on iTunes. I did find one podcast interview, tho . . . . Any suggestions?
Huh. I’m not sure of why you can’t find it on iTunes. I did notice that it only has three episodes, but they should all be there… did you search for my cat from hell? I just watched the first episode a few minutes ago, and he is great.
Ooo. Another way to get to it, which might take some of the confusion out, is to go to his blog, http://jacksongalaxy.com/blog/, and then click on “My Cat From Hell” at the top of the screen. There’s a clip of the first episode, but below it there’s a big red button that says “Watch it on iTunes.” Should take you straight there!
Yes, Melanie, it did! Thank you so much! In the meantime, though, Teresa recorded an episode for me (for free, tra la) and we’re planning on watching it over the holiday weekend. Prolonging the suspense! But I’m so glad you’re on this. Really!
It’s my librarian research instincts kicking in. 🙂
In my opinion, librarians — especially law-librarians — are angels. Proof: That German movie where angels inhabit libraries (Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders). Didja catch it? I did around when it came out (late ’80’s) and have not yet forgotten it. B&W. The weathered, crumpled-up face on the lead actor (Bruno Ganz) alone is worth the price of admission. Lovely.
That tabby chap hanging off the bars would be mine. I love cheeky, inquisitive kittens and he looks chock-full of character.
I’m so pleased for you that things are still improving with Bugs and I love “Bite force calibration”. It’s perfect – I know exactly what he means.
Ellie, that little one reminds me of Spock, no? Pleased, pleased, pleased.
He definitely looks like a Spock! Check out the expression on his little face…and the belly! Oh, the chubby belly! I can tell just from the photo that he is purrrfect. I WANT THAT KITTEN! Perhaps you could parcel him up and post him to me? 😀
Rueful chuckling going on over here. WISH I could.
I think there is some Jackson Galaxy stuff on the Animal Planet site for his show.
There’s an old saying “Don’t ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity”. This can apply to a young cat all the time. If you think of him as a kid or even surly teen it might not be as scary. Or maybe more scary!
My newest cat Calpurnia has a habit of ‘making buscuits’ when near me. Its obviously not an attack, but the little stabs of her claws sting. Sometimes I remind her when she’s doing it and she switches to the cushion…sometimes I just wince and let he go on.
I’m glad you and Mr. Bugs are understanding each other a little better.
Well, and thanks to you! And the Jackson stuff on the AP site? I’m kinda upset with AP about that because I’m concerned that all I could find them showing is the preJackson, truly truly bonechilling stuff. I couldn’t see anything about how Jackson works his magic. I worry that won’t be good for cats, who get a bad enough rap as it is. If all the humans get is that they are that vicious, well, maybe it’s great for the thrill-seeking sensationalism . . . . but not much else, and possibly damaging. I like your little saying about malice | stupidity | teens. But, as you suggest, remembering myself as a teen, I’m (finally) able to empathize with my parents!
Well, I certainly can’t blame you for fearing his play. I made light of it once on my blog, but Zoe went through this stage where she viciously attacked my hair anytime it moved. My hair is fairly long, so it was kind of funny. Until I went to bed. Laying down, of course, my hair is all pretty close to my face and jugular. She scared the bejezus out of me, and I was afraid to relax and go to sleep – I thought it would be hard to explain how I died in my bed in a pool of blood with no one around but 2 cats. Then I had my ‘duh’ moment and just tied it up. But yeah, whether they mean to or not, they can inflict serious damage to us while they play. As for the kittens, there is nothing that can quite turn a bad day around than going to the shelter and watching the kittens be kittens.
Gosh, what a picture you paint! Can you see Poirot standing at your bedside? “Vairy interesting for the little gray cells.” Well, I sure feel the companionship — Zoe sounds like quite the handful. Interesting, isn’t it, how we make light of such things in our blogs. I’m so glad in our case I finally got a little serious, though. You can see how much good everybody’s caring attention has done!
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