Friday, December 8, 2006

Clarence & Lola

Tonight I am thinking of that wisp of a cat, our Lola.

If not for Denny and I, she would have grown up wild in the forest to a short, harsh life. Now she lords it over the Boys in the Back, a perfect little princess of a cat.

In some ways, Lola is reminiscent of Newt—another small, quick, silky black cat. But Lola is quicksilver where Newt was steady. There are aspects of her personality that recall Dinky, but as of yet, she hasn’t shown the heart that Dinky has. But these are not shortcomings—Lola is just what she is, a quick and quick-witted creature who is still finding a way to be our kitty.

Lola and her brother Clarence are blessed among our cats. Born in the early summer, they have never known what it is to scramble for survival in winter’s cold and dark. The most traumatic event of their young lives was also the greatest blessing--when they were trapped by us and given passage into the world of humans.

Clarence has adjusted to life in the back (with the Boys in the Back) remarkably well. I felt badly for him, that first week or so after his banishment. But it was so liberating not to have to search the house each morning to find where he has sprayed, to deal with the laundry and cleaning and deodorizing, and resenting him for it.

And--as often happens-- having found his niche in the back rooms, he seems to have stopped spraying—-or slowed way down on it. He has gone from being Lena’s timid shadow to being one of the dominant personalities in the back.

He’s bulked up a bit, too--not growing fat but more sturdy. His new contours echo Bart’s blocky body and it no longer seems odd to think that they are father and son.

Gone is the dirty-white kitten who bolted from me that first day, the first time we realized that we had kittens eating on our porch.

His smudged features have darkened into red-gold points and his pale body taken on that golden cast that flame-point cat acquire. He retains a pantherine grace that suggests the wildness of his youngest days, but he loves to be stroked, pressing against our hands with a decidedly non-feral urgency.

I think in time he will mellow to the point where we can let him come back into the main body of the house.

But cats are creatures of habit above almost anything else, and the Boys in the Back have formed their own stable and happy social group. Pickle Boy still moves between both worlds, as does Lola on occasion. Bart and Punkin visit the back rooms but rarely stay for more than a quarter hour or so.

Clarence may choose being a dominant cat in his small domain over being one of the lesser cats in a larger one.

No comments: