Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mother Cat

I've heard so many people say they think they've been some sort of animal in another life.  And I, myself, have said, I must have been a cat in another life, since I have such a deeply embedded affinity for them.  But more specifically, I think I must have been a mother cat.

Ariel has brought out all my cat mothering instincts again.  Oh how precious she is.  I adopted her from Lakeland Animal Shelter in Delavan, WI.  She's been part of our family now for almost one month, but I signed the adoption application five weeks ago and had been visiting with her every day since then.  She'll be six months old in a few days.

This post will simply be me gushing over her so if it gags you to read such sweet, sentimental blathering, it might be wise to stop reading here.

I'm sure part of the reason I'm so in love with my cats is because I don't have children.  I often refer to my cats as my furbabies, and I mean it.  They are my babies, my only children.  And I can't imagine loving anyone as much as I do them.  But more about Ariel, specifically...

Ariel is simply adorable.  I adore everything about her.

I love her baby smell and when nuzzling her, which she and I both love, I take deep breaths of her sweet kitty scent.

I love her soft fur.  It's so fine and silky and plush, what a pleasure to pet and cuddle her.  I love the feel of her warm paws in my hand or her ears, soft and delicate as a butterfly's wings.  I love her squishy, relaxed body as it sinks into my arms, totally trusting that I will hold her and not let her fall.  Or how she drapes herself over my lap with her head or one long paw hanging over the edge, seemingly so uncomfortable, but she likes it.

I love the sounds she makes.  She growls when bored or wants attention or is excited about anything.  She purrs every time she's pet or napping in my arms.  She makes this baby chatter when watching birds.  She meows in that grainy, baby sheep bleat that is so diagnostic of Ariel.  I would know her voice anywhere.  She makes a little murmur when she's sleepy and happy, esp. when in my arms or on my lap. It's such a tiny, sweet sound.  I can't describe it.  It comes from deep in her throat and sounds so babyish.  I even love the sound of her breath and will often gently lay my cheek against her as she sleeps to listen to the precious baby breaths.

I love to look at her.  She has the most gorgeous cat looks.  Her fur is a mixture of everything I love, copper, chocolate brown, buffy gold, white, black.  She has it all, stripes, spots, mittens and stockings, triad splashes of reddish-orange, black and white on the backs of her hind legs, black leather around her mouth and eyes, a pretty pinkish red nose, a long, long plush tail and adorable white tufts that curl out from inside her ears.

I love her personality.  She is so loveable and trusting and brave and playful and curious and quirky.  She exhibits some new, fascinating behavior every day.  Today she was lying back on her butt against a pillow with her hind legs parted, front legs in front like a little man.  It was hilarious. She also loves to lie on her back, belly in the air, eyes closed, mouth smiling, her front paws folded as if begging or praying.  At these times, she stretches out her back legs  and is so completely relaxed that they hang squishy in the air, as if they had no bones in them.  I've tested this by gently bouncing or lifting one slightly.  They are so light like soft feathers.  Or she will curl into a ball in my lap or crouch there with both paws folded/hooked over my arm so she can watch the world below.

She loves David, too, though is taking longer to completely trust him.  He's spent a lot less time with her so it makes sense.  And I am the main caregiver, feeding, loving, cleaning, etc.  During an upcoming trip he will be her sole nurturer, and it will give them both a better chance to bond.  But even now, with the short bits of time they've had together, she will lie next to him on the couch and he can pick her up if she's sleeping, and she'll stay.  She'll even turn over, letting him give her belly pets, which is a huge deal.  A week alone together will seal that bond even more.

Ariel loves to play and discover every new thing.  A crumpled piece of paper or milk jug lid or a Q-tip are miraculous wonderments to behold.  So of course the birds and squirrels outside are absolutely, mind-blowingly enthralling.  She plays when she is not sleeping or eating.  It's the holy trinity of kittendom.  She loves to chase her feather toy or any string and revels in her cat body, running and jumping, diving for a toy, ending in a somersault, rolling and tumbling like a Olympic gymnast.  She loves the other kitties and sometimes copies them, move for move.  Once when Razz was on the other side of the room I watched her watch him.  He began to groom his left leg.  She immediately groomed her left leg.  He paused to scratch his right ear. She also scratched her right ear.

She will climb up onto my lap if it is occupied too.  If Finny is there before her, she will simply find another spot lower or higher and accidentally on purpose snuggle closer and closer to him until she eventually has her legs wrapped around him or cheek resting on her furry back.  She loves Finny.  And Finny loves her, often grooming her when they watch birds out the window or when they're both in the cat tree, bathed in sunshiney afternoon happiness.  Finn and Ariel will chase each other too and play box.  Sometimes it turns into a real battle, but it's early yet. They're still developing their relationship, and she still doesn't have as much restraint as she will at maturity. Sometimes her excitement and yearning to play come at a time when the other cats are at rest or otherwise engaged, ie. in "no mood for kitten antics."  They will give her a warning hiss or less then gentle pat if she doesn't let up.

Raziel is still trying to decide if he likes her.  He has stopped glaring. This is a good thing.  He occasionally grooms her, too, but prefers to keep a distance from her, especially if she is wound up.  He doesn't like her in high gear and tries to put himself out of harm's way if she's racing about the house in full steam.  But he eats side-by-side with her and even tolerates her if she tries to steal food, which amazes me.  Razz loves his food. I always nudge her away if she does this, but still it's amazing that when she tries, she just watches her nose into his dish with curiosity.

Okay, enough gushing.  Ariel is my darling baby.  And though I adore my Fhinnian and Raziel just as much, I have to admit I've caught the baby bug.  She is contagiously adorable, and I can't stop finding new reasons to love her.  I'm so grateful that I found her and that she loves and trusts me so much. I feel honored that she's made me her cat mother.