Our kittens officially turn into cats today (May 16) – a whole year old! With festivities in full swing, I’ve decided it’s an appropriate time to reveal a secret my husband and I have kept to ourselves for a month or so. We’ve discovered Butterfield has a superpower. More than one even.
During the day, this feline, with her unusual display of stripes and spots, convinces the world she is a gentle, affectionate, malleable soul. She likes to roll on chairs, for example, twisting her head through spindles to invite passersby to rub her exposed belly – or save her from strangulation. Now that she is so mature, she restricts her acts of extreme naughtiness to a couple of times a week.
She saves her superpower for nighttime, a secret treat for her favourite humans. Once she has staked out her ideal placement on the humans’ bed, she unleashes her power – the ability to morph into hippo-weight. Yes, I know. This is truly amazing. She is already a sturdy girl compared to her sister, with a promise of middle-age spread to come, but her sleeping weight is ridiculous. There is no moving her without bringing in a hoist. Best that the human simply curl their legs into appropriate pretzels.
Her superpower hits a different gear as the first threads of daylight stream into the bedroom about 5:28 a.m. At that point she becomes a marauding hippo, tumbling over imaginary foes with great enthusiasm. Actually, if we could understand cat language, we’d hear: “Get up, unworthy human! The. Cat. Is. Bored!”
A month ago Butterfield discovered a different power: the ability to make the woman of the house – that would be me – scream uncontrollably. A mouse had foolishly discovered a tiny hole by a basement window and thought it would come in to explore. Butterfield, switching from hippo to stealthy tiger, was on that mouse in a flash and proudly carried it to the front hallway, ignoring its wiggles and pleading squeaks. She probably didn’t anticipate my reaction. Certainly Dwight, who was minding his own business in the upstairs bedroom, didn’t. (He later suggested I save my bloodcurdling screams for a time when zombies are pounding on the backdoor.)
All of this is strange because for the first few months after the pair adopted us last July, we thought Butterfield’s sister Iris was the naughty one. Indeed, Iris is wiry and lively and goofy and likes to whip around the house at lightning speed, her alternative to a membership at Goodlife. But we have come to realize Iris is all show – she is just performing for the humans, sneaking glances in our direction when she’s spinning around on the hall rug, wrestling with one of the soft little toys we foolishly refer to as Mousy.
For a while, it seemed Iris was happy just to get by on her good looks. And she is eye-catching. Parts of her calico coat are in such straight lines they could be stitched by our quilt-making daughter-in-law. In other areas, orange, black and white splotches mush together like the canvas of a tipsy artist in search of their muse.
But lately Iris has discovered it’s cool to be smart. She’s learned to fetch Mousy, for example. Now in true feline cleverness, this is not about pleasing the humans, but about interrupting them. She’s learned that if she hauls Mousy up to the attic and deposits it under an office chair, the humans will be charmed. They will toss the toy across the room, so she can bring it back. Again. And again. And again.
Likewise, Iris’s bedroom antics differ from her sister. She prefers to stretch her lithe body out beside me, strategically placing her head in my armpit and a front leg across my chest while purring like a jet engine. Awwww …. So sweet. And after a half hour of rigid compliance, it’s so ridiculously uncomfortable. But so sweet….
The girls celebrated first thing this morning, but I think it was more of a break from their warm weather lethargy than about their birthday. With a cool breeze flowing in from the dining room windows after several days of hot weather, the pair burst into action, unveiling their latest Cirque du Cat routine. First, they thundered around the downstairs in perfect tandem, up the sofa, down the other side, through the hallway, round the kitchen and back. At that point, Iris veered left and streaked up the tall, narrow screen in a dining room window, only stopping a quarter way from the top to wonder what the human was hollering about. Not to be outdone, Butterfield launched herself onto the curtain beside the patio door in a death-defying leap. (Yes, I did threaten her.)
Pooped from their workout, or so I thought, the kittens took a break. Then the other human came down for breakfast and they were off again, intent on providing proper feline entertainment for his morning coffee.
Thanks, girls. Happy birthday. We love you. By the way, how old are you in human years? Please tell us this is the end of the terrible twos and not the beginning of the turbulent teens.