Saturday, June 1, 2013

Our Cats, Part 3: Avishan

It's a well-known made-up historical fact that Al Gore created the Internet for the purpose of facilitating us talking about our cats. This is the third in a three-part series of the Cats of the House of Terra. Enjoy.


AKA:  Little Bit, Avi-Girl, Avi, Kitty Ninja, Paddlepaws, Flopishan, Fluffishan, Count Kittytoes
AGE:  9 Months

So Kyrian is "my" cat, and Felix is "Rhiannon's" cat, but that left Carol without a cat (or a kitty overlord, let's just call it what it is!). Even though Carol was without question the hardest hit when Spooky passed away, she wanted to first make sure that the other two of us had "our" cats, so that we both could savor the whole special bond with one cat thing.

But as last Christmas loomed, it was apparent that Carol was ready. We needed that third (and final!) cat for the House of Terra. So, on Rhi's birthday, coincidentally enough, we headed off to the Bedford Animal Shelter, since we had so much success there with Kyrian.

Carol has always had a soft spot for black cats. After all, they are beautiful cats, emblematic of Halloween (her favorite holiday), as well as her tendency to stick up for the, since many people are prejudiced against black cats. Although she wasn't ruling out any color cat, if there was a preference, she'd go for a black cat. Also, she really wasn't interested in a kitten.

After checking out a few adult black cats, the attendant invited her into the "kitten room", a special place set apart where the kittens could roam and hang out. The attendant pulled out a black kitten, shyly hiding, and Carol placed the kitten in her lap. The kitten then flopped over, relaxing in her lap like it was something she'd always done. I was watching Carol from the glass window, and when I saw the sheer look of a heart melting, I knew she was hooked. She had found her black kitty.

Avishan had been born in a feral colony, captured, checked out, spayed, and had her ear clipped, so she could be adopted as a barn cat. Someone apparently decided that she was tame enough to actually be adopted into a regular home.

And about that ear clipping...

In order to identify a barn cat as having been spayed or neutered and checked out, vets remove a small portion of the cat's ear. Someone apparently got a little too enthusiastic with the clippers, because her left ear is missing quite a chunk. One hopes that the person who performed the procedure never goes into the hair-cutting industry.

Oh, and her original name was "Horse". We have no idea why. And just when we thought that Kyrian's original name of "Nugent" was strange enough.

The name had to go. While Carol helped me out by suggesting the name "Kyrian", I returned the favor by suggesting "Avishan", the name of her half-elf Druid from one of our older Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. Avishan it is!

As a feral, Avishan proved to be shyer than your normal kitten. In fact, as soon as she got the measure of the house, she dashed through the cat door and down into the cellar, where she remained for most of the day and night. After a few attempts to keep her up here, I suggested we seal the door and bring the litter boxes upstairs (gag). We enacted the plan and kept the door sealed for two weeks. She eventually got the hint and her habits changed.

Avishan is a poly-dactyl. She has 24 toes, with enormous front paws and what almost looks like opposable thumbs. We expect her plans for world domination to be enacted soon, and I for one, welcome our kittycat overlords.

Assimilating Avi was a challenge. Kyrian, already having gotten used to Felix, was now finding his patience tested again. You could almost see the "Oh no! Here we go again!" vibe coming off him. He greeted the new kitten with half-hearted swipes at her, and lots of hissing. Felix, no doubt remembering how he was initially greeted with hostility, was a different...oh, who the Hell am I kidding? Felix hissed at her too, the little bugger. What was sad was seeing Avishan approach the boys and flop over, exposing her belly, no doubt trying to be friendly, only to get hissed at and batted.

But again, we tried doing the group play, the mixing of their scents, and one day, it was like a switch thrown. It's almost as if the boys suddenly decided at once "Okay, we can let girls in the club".

With Kyrian as the alpha male, Avishan soon learned the things to do. As a shy kitten, she wouldn't dream of jumping on counters- until she saw Kyrian do it. She wouldn't beg for food scraps- until she saw Kyrian do it.

Avishan still has the adorable habit of suddenly flopping over on her side in order to be petted. It's called the Avi-flop, and has given birth to a new song:

Do it in the night
And do it in the morning
Do the Avi-flop
And fall over without warning!

As a black cat, Avishan has that whole "blend in with the shadows" shtick down pat. Those big paddle paws of hers somehow make her footfalls silent, hence the appellation of Kitty Ninja. One moment she's not there, the next, she's sitting behind you, big yellow eyes looking up, acting as if she'd been there all along.

She also shares the same characteristics, coincidentally enough, with our dear departed Spooky. She loves to eat paper (the more important papers the better), loves eating turkey, and has this fascination with the shower after someone uses it.

If there's a downside, and it's a small one, it's that her shyness makes it so that she doesn't like being picked up, or sitting in people's laps. In fact, many times we've walked in on her, she's had this guilty look as if to say "Oh, I don't belong here? Okay!", then she takes off. But happily, she's been taking baby steps (kitten steps?) and is gaining confidence and trust. She's gotten to the  point where she'll follow Carol around, and she prefers Carol to the rest of us, which is what we've been shooting for all along.

And so, the House of Terra is now complete. Each of us has a cat that enjoys a special bond, and all three cats are good friends. And yes, we're stopping at three cats. Being Crazy Cat People is not a career path we're interested in taking!

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