Once upon a time, there was a Russian soldier named Leon Nasevich. Like most of the people I know, he is fictional. He can be found here (yes, sometimes the Dear America series stays with you ten years later, which reminds me–I need to buy this book). I bring him up because he says something relevant to this post, which is that kittens’ genders are stamped on their bottoms.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
YOU LIED TO ME, LEON. Okay, fine, there IS something down there in a kitten’s um, area, but what is it? WHAT IS IT? Even our vets can’t tell at that stage, they said so.
As you might have guessed, I have a new kitty. Actually, it’s not precisely new–we’ve had it since Halloween–but it wasted no time in inserting itself into our lives and routine. I refer to the kitty as “it” because it hasn’t decided whether it’s a boy or a girl yet. Currently, it is a non-gendered entity that occasionally goes by the name of Toothless.
My mom heard what sounded like a meow outside, so we trooped out and began the kitten hunt. Despite the fact that we have two large dogs in our backyard, people frequently dump kittens and puppies near our house. We hardly ever take them to the pound. We can’t quite bring ourselves to.
In the firewood pile, I saw a pair of huge green eyes set in a tiny black head. I immediately thought of this.
Hence the name. Mewing loudly, it darted through every tunnel in the wood pile before I was able to reach in and catch it. Despite being perfectly mobile, it fit in my hand, which led me to believe that it was a) starving and b) somewhat older than it looked.
Once we gave Toothless a bowl of food, it calmed down and tamed up. We assumed it was a boy–why, I don’t know–but now that it has grown up a bit, we’re not sure. I kept laughing at how Toothless broadcast its position by endless meows while trying to escape from us evil humans.
But a few days after we took Toothless, its meows began to make sense. In our backyard, a dead black kitten’s body was discovered. A Cane Corso Mastiff lives there. His name is Severus, also known as Sevvie. A lovable monster, Sevvie is known for his cat-killing ways. How the kitten died was easy enough to conclude.
Toothless had had a sibling. Working back from the dead kitten, it was easy to imagine what had happened. Someone probably dumped them, perhaps down the road from our house. If they were particularly cruel, they tossed them over the fence where Sevvie could get them.
However they arrived in the backyard, the kittens had a dilemma. How to evade the dogs and get across the yard to safety? Going around the backyard probably never occurred to them. When you’re one month old and tiny, navigation is hard. For some reason that only the kittens know, they made the dash. Alerted to a moving object, Sevvie gave chase and snapped up one. The other kitten ducked under the gate and escaped to the wood pile, sending out a homing signal for its sibling. That’s why it was meowing.
And I just made myself sad.
Today, Toothless is much happier. Perhaps we shouldn’t let it sit on our shoulders and bat our forks away from our mouths, but hey, we gotta keep it happy, right?
Mom taught it to jump on her shoulder. Now it hitches rides all day long. I’ll be washing dishes, and bam! There’s Toothless, rubbing its butt in my face. Occasionally, Toothless will get cold, find me in my bed, and nudge me until I lift the blanket so it can curl up inside.
Toothless has also imparted much wisdom concerning its species to me, not all of it decipherable. After being followed to the bathroom too many times to count (and catching it waiting by the door when I am done), I have been able to conclude one thing. Cats are not aloof.
I just hope it doesn’t reproduce. That would be a real hassle.