Sunday, November 4, 2012

Everyone Needs Cat Videos The Weekend Before A Presidential Election And The Week After A Storm Such As Sandy

Recent mentions of Buddy, the Freakishly Large Kitten (adopted with not even an inkling of a suspicion that he was a Maine Coon, the sort that do not achieve adult size until their third year...) have made me a sentimental fool.  So it's a Buddy Retrospective!

I have no shame.  It's 1:30 in the morning -- no, wait! It's but a half hour after midnight -- and I feel... catty.

The seemingly diminutive kitten...

                                          ....meets the Dobster for the first time:

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So I thought I'd do a very little mopping.  Buddy thought he'd help.Clearly, the following things are true in BuddyLand:1.  Nothing bad can happen on Buddy's Blanket.  Buddy, himself, has positioned (and repositioned, ad infinitum) said Blanket with an eye toward strategic advantage.  It lies next to the refrigerator, a tremendous source of wonder for him, and, paradoxically, warmth.  The little square of cloth is always carefully situated between the trash can, from which goodies may fall, and the Food and Water Bowls, the center of Buddy's Universe.2.  Only an attack on the Food and Water Bowls is sufficient cause to go to war.3.  While #2 is true, it is also true that hwho fights and runs away, may live to fight another day.  These conflicting truths make the decision to go to war much too much of a decision for a very small animal and leaves only #1 as uncompromisingly reliable -- Nothing bad can happen on Buddy's Blanket.

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Buddy the Kitten versus The Blanket
[my favorite captured moment]

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Ah, do you remember his "soft paw" training, for which foresight we are thankful several times a day?

Soft Paws.  I was able to make two very short videos of Buddy's training.  As usual, what I recorded turned out to be aberrant from the norm.  Dobby has become jealous of the Big-Little Guy and so his pink nose turns up quite close to the camera every time.  He's a bit of a diva.  And Marmy even has decided that there must be something inherently rewarding about this camera business, but when she pops up (she's the one who always looks a little confused), that scares Buddy in the extreme.  Her terrorism of him, early and often, is now paying its dividends.  In one of these videos, he has turned to chase the beloved mouse, after successfully tapping my hand at the Soft Paw command, and then he FREEZES.  That would be because Marmy Fluffy Butt decided to appear, just out of camera range.  It is a testimonial to her ridiculous power that the kitten nearly ceases to breathe, holds his crouch, and -- though we cannot see them -- allows his pupils to madly dilate as he points like a Bracco Italiano after feathered game in old Lombardy.
I've come to dearly love Buddy's face.  He is so clueless, you might think.  You might even hold this wrongheaded opinion for six months or so, and who could blame you?  Because until you have the chance to watch his cagey self on video -- hitting rewind with frequency -- you are fooled by the vacant expression, the goofy grin. 
He's sly, this one. 
He has developed little tics as he plays Soft Paw Fetch.  He wants to NOT tap my hand.  Or if he gives in, and goes for a tap, he wants to claw me to death, just a little.  But then he won't get the mouse.  So he bobs and weaves, ducks his head, does a little rope-a-dope.   
If you see Buddy tap my hand but not receive the Fetch reward of a Tossed Mouse, it's because he forgot the soft part of the command.  When that happens, he does sometimes have to do some Quality Control calibrations, the first of which is always to offer his head as a paw replacement.  This is terribly important to him, so I give him verbal praise, but repeat the request for a Soft Paw.  It's cool, watching him weigh how much he wants what, what he's willing to do, etcetera. 

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Next we have the Old Married Couple Series.  These are three videos of Dobby and Buddy, who suddenly have decided to promulgate peace, love, and understanding instead of trying to wipe each other from the face of the planet.  Okay, so Buddy is something of a recidivist, as he goes for Dobby's throat in the second video -- but he gets over the impulse and is soon right back to being a perversely large kitten, and all cuddly again in the third take.

As usual, please ignore the audio.  Seriously, it's embarrassing.

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