Starting to see results dog-training the kittens. They both come and greet me at the door when I arrive home without me calling them. Leo bounds over to say hello vocally, cavorting and purring loudly. Think feline lawnmower. Lily takes her time as though she’s slightly resentful of having to turn out when she was, after all, fast asleep. Her purr has got louder. You no longer have to place a hand on her back to tell if she’s purring or not by feeling the vibrations.
Just being there is enough for Leo but actions speak louder than anything else as far as Lily’s concerned. She’d prefer it if I had a table tennis ball on me so she could dribble it crazily around the hallway. Actually she’s probably roughly the same standard as the England football team and being just 15 weeks old, she’s bound to improve. Being a mutant does help her, having that extra finger like an opposable thumb on each front paw. Looks like she’s got a pair of baseball catcher’s gloves on and provides excellent passing finesse which Leo doesn’t possess.
Leo is much more of a dog. He’s more inclined to bring the ball back to me than pass it on. Definite “fetching” possibilities. He nicked some cheesy nibbles and had a furtive sip of g&t the other night and comes and miaows loudly in the kitchen if there is food about as though appealing for me to “accidentally on purpose” drop some in his direction. When Lily innocently padded over to see if there was any cheesy nibble going spare, the greedy big brother actually growled at her and she backed off, startled. Not that she can’t hold her own. Next time they playfight she no doubt let him have it straight in the face – a hard jab with both back feet. She could have taught Jackie Chan.
The “off” command is known to both of them now and usually effective. Sadly, they understand “No” only when they feel like it. The reaction is far too slow to stop one popular houseplant – a kind of cat leisure centre – being very gradually shredded by Lily who climbs it, hides in it and fights with it.
They will both sit and beg (not very tidily, I admit) for nano-bites of vintage cheddar. Leo will do a “down” and rolls over for a tummy tickle. You talk to him, he talks back. As a dog-like cat, he shows great promise, although I realise that his may be a passing phase and when the day comes – in less than two weeks – when he can venture into the great outdoors, his feline instincts will kick in and overwhelm any remote tendency to be dog-like.
Mutant dwarf Lily is growing into a pretty, sweet thing but gives affection strictly on her terms. She sees DT man as a challenge and takes every opportunity to flirt, nestling on to his lap for a snooze and generally schmoozing shamelessly. Same with my brother. Same with my eldest. She is a compleat tart where men are concerned but we have our tender moments too. Leo, on the other hand, isn’t interested in anyone but me.
A friend has a gorgeous working cocker pup. We compare training notes. I think that, in advance of the kittens going outside, I should maybe train them to a whistle.
“Sounds like they’re ready for dog training classes,” said my pal.
“They’d be a sensation. Tasty!”