THE KITTENS have reached and surpassed five pounds apiece. They’re starting to fill out and look like cats instead of kittens, although they’re almost a year from full maturity. The picture of Aqua at right was taken three weeks ago — an eternity in kitten time. You can’t really see much difference in photos; you have to hold them or see them in context with something to give you an idea of scale. But in that context, you can tell they’re growing — and fast.
We still can’t tell Aqua and Schuyler apart very easily. The differences we can detect are slight and subtle and none of them singly or in aggregate add up to a clear and sure recognition pattern. In looking at the sequence below, I found myself trying to see which was Aqua and which was Sky. I can tell — I think — by the size of the head and the shape of the face, but those are things that only avail for identification when the two of them are juxtaposed. When you see one of them in the evening gloom, trotting across the living room floor — with only a flash of a flank or a tail — es macht nichts. You just can’t tell. As it is, with not much clue — and given the information that Aqua is actually larger than Sky in weight (I think, or is it the other way around?) — I defy anyone to tell them apart from any or all of the first three images. Only in the fourth can you tell, because you can see a little bit of Sky’s collar. When you run into him on the stairs, though, you can’t see the collar. And, since Aqua often sits on the stairs, waiting for me to go downstairs and feed them, I have several times said, “Move, Aqua,” then adding as Sky turns and runs down the stairs in front of me, “If only you were Aqua.”
Number One Daughter stopped by the other evening and announced that she thought she could see a clear “M” pattern in Aqua’s forehead markings, whereas Sky didn’t have one. I don’t see it in these pix, though, and haven’t been able to spot it live. We’re pretty sure that Sky’s mask is tighter around his eyes than Aqua’s, but it’s a subtle difference to spot on the fly, as it were.
And here you can see Schuyler’s collar, which for me affirms the guesses from the earlier sequence that it was Sky on the left, because he has a bigger and more manly head. But, as I say, I defy you to tell the difference when said head is bopping around in kitten play.
Not to neglect the others…
Belle is asserting herself in getting attention that was somewhat pre-empted by Rommie, who was a bit more forward in her demands. She shares the couch with me while we’re watching TV of an evening, although she really doesn’t like it when I shift from sitting-eating position at the south end to lounging, couch potato position at the north end, necessitating as it does my scooping her up and moving her. I always get a glare, and sometimes she’ll get down and go do something (like whale on Oliver) to express her disapproval. She always forgets, though, and comes back before the next commercial break, demanding pets, or taking her throne at the south end, one forepaw draped over my leg to assert her ownership.
And poor Oliver. If there’s such a thing as a Delta or Gamma male, he’s it. He’s the youngest of the adults — bottom of the real power structure totem pole — and too old, really, to be a bona fide member of the kitten clique. Which is a pretty tight clique to begin with, since the three of them are littermates and might as well be terrible triplets for all the kindness and concern they show poor old Ollie. He’s not helped by his squeaky, almost whiney, little mew. Sometimes, I swear, Belle finds it all too annoying and whaps him around just to get him to shut up. “Oh, grow a pair,” she seems to be saying, “Quitcher bitchin’!” Which is hilarious, because none of them have any. But that’s the attitude she projects. Loki seems to accept Ollie as a companionable goodoleboy, but doesn’t stick up for him in any way. And the kittens take advantage of him without pity or remorse.
Loki has Toni worried, because he seems to have settled down into adulthood way too soon. He’s barely a year old and shouldn’t be so sedate — and sedentary. Even Belle, who must be over two by now, plays more than he does. But he’s still the King of Gettin’ Inta Shit (although Jazz seems to be working for the title of Crown Princess of Gettin’ Inta Shit), and is constantly knocking stuff off shelves and counters.
And that’s Caturday at Casa d’Alger. Howzitgoin’ where you’re at?