Friday, October 12, 2007

Nauseatingly button-like

I want to tell you a little (or not so little) about my family's pets. First, I need to explain the pattern my mom has of giving them not-so-subtle and not-so-original names. Back when I was a child (when I had to walk five miles to and from school through six feet of snow, uphill both ways), my mother was a self-proclaimed "chocoholic." (Clearly this was pre-diabeetis. Once she was diagnosed, she had to go through the twelve steps rather hurriedly.) So, when we got a Siamese cat, she naturally named her Cocoa. We bred her and kept one of the kittens, who got named Fudge. (As a kid, I didn't really think it was strange to go around the house yelling about chocolate in an attempt to find a cat.) Then we got another cat -- all black, but it looked like he would develop some white markings (but they never came), so he got named Oreo. (I know Oreo's don't actually taste like chocolate, but they are supposedly made of chocolate wafers.) The chocolate thing died off with her years ago, but you get the idea.

So, when we more recently (still several months ago) got an orange striped cat, she naturally named him...Tigger. You know, T-I-double guh-er. And that brings us to the present. But really, Tigger is an awesome cat. Unlike our other cat, Lola (named by my younger sister), who is scared of her shadow. Tigger does a number of funny things, including but not limited to lying in very funny positions for hours and getting in the most unusual places in the home. (No, he doesn't use the toilet, sadly.) Yet one of the most noteworthy habits he has (and has thereby caught the notice of our neighbors, who think it is absolutely adorable) is that he follows our large (90 lbs.) dog, Lightning (that one is actually my dad's doing -- the name, not the dog, silly), for walks. He's not at all afraid of the dog that could gobble him up for an appetizer. (Perhaps it's because the dog it old, arthritic, and lethargic -- but whatever. That kind of info ruins the suspense. The dog was once a vicious squirrel and bird chaser. Until he realized they always got away, either up a tree or to the sky.) Aaaaanyway, to the pictures!

Here we have our first glimpse of the phenomenon. He's keeping a leisurely pace, which puts some distance between them.

But Tigger isn't at all concerned about getting all up in Lightning's grill.

He'll even rub himself against the dog. That's brave.

Even though he's old and arthritic, Lightning still has to be held back from chasing things -- and he'll chase just about anything. He's been fooled by leaves being blown along the ground before. So now, he typically takes a more cautious approach and stares down his intended victim first. (I've stood with him for several minutes, as he intensely stares down inanimate objects, like those cement lawn decorations in the shape of a rabbit. Once, he even stared down a life-sized deer statue. He would not let me pull him away for the longest time.)

Here, he's staring down a cat (in the shadow of the tree). Strange, considering he has a perfectly good cat a few feet away. Tigger must intimidate him in a way other cats don't.

Meanwhile, Tigger enjoys the shade.

And Lightning still wants to go after that other cat.

When I said Tigger likes the shade, I meant that he really hates the sunlight. (He's not allergic to it, like me, or vampires, but he still shuns a goth, or a redhead.) He waits in the shade until we get to another shady spot, then runs to us.

That's about how all of our walks go. And now, some of his cute sleeping positions.

He gets a lot of attention by being so cute. So of course, under very specific and rare conditions, when Lola actually wants attention, she takes to mimicking him. (Note that she is not actually sleeping.)