The Frost Giant Is Five

WHEN WE FIRST got Loki, he was all white. Well, nearly all white. There were hints of his markings on the tips of his ears, his back, and in his tail. And then the ones around his face came in and it all got dark. But to start with, he was mostly a white cat.

He also had these little, delicate, girly paws. Most kittens have huge paws. They have to grow into them. And I get the impression (though it may be a folk myth) that the bigger a kitten’s paws, the bigger he/she is going to be as an adult. And he was the King of Getting Inta Shit. Still is, although less in a cute and mischievous way and more in a klutzy way. I tell him he needs to learn the difference between surfaces and objects. Surfaces usually stay stable under you, but objects will collapse under your weight — or slide out from under you in a cascade that ends you suddenly three or six feet below where you started, on your ass, trying to pretend that you meant to do that. So we named him after the Norse Trickster God, the Frost Giant, Loki.

Toni doesn’t really believe this, but I have noticed it from his first night in our house, and remarked (at least to myself) on myriad occasions over the years, that he has, every night, led me to the bedroom, talking to me, and jumped up on the bed and demanding a ritual petting before letting me drop off to sleep. Sometimes, he flops down on the floor in front of me, (sometimes tripping me up), sometimes he runs ahead and jumps up on the night stand (blocking my view of the clock, which — in a dark bedroom — is my only guide). But he always talks. He is also the only cat I can remember who responds to conversation directed at him — by name — with “words” of his own. He also seems to know that, in the evening, when I close the lid on my laptop, it’s getting close to bedtime, and will run over to me and start talking — speech which only accelerates when I dim the overhead lights and get up to go to the bedroom.

Not entirely a robust and vigorous cat, although he plays happily, both alone and with the other cats, and the vets can’t find anything specifically wrong with him, we just sense he’s not as strong as he could be. He may not be with us as long as some others. That said, it’s been wonderful having him here these past five years. Happy birthday, little guy. Many happy returns of the day.

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