Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 11, 2013

Cathie Shaffer: Boxed in by a quandry: 03/12/13

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

GREENUP — So I woke up the other day to the baby cats — who are now almost a year old — recreating the fight scenes from “Clash of the Titans” in the hall outside my bedroom.

Batman (she’s a girl; ignore the name) is longer, leaner and just plain bigger than Bitsy, who got her name because she was the tiniest kitten in her litter. Although these two are separated in age by about a month, had different mothers and even came from areas miles from each other, they are soul sisters.

So when they fight, it’s all play. I’ve never seen, well, heard, them growl at each other. But although they play-fight silently, you can’t miss hearing them.

Batman gets up on her back feet, rises to her full height and jumps three feet in the area on top of Bitsy. Bits is ready for her, eyes narrowed and tail swishing. The connection brings thuds and thumps on my hardwood floor outdone only by the whomp-whomp-whomp of the cats chasing each other down the stairs and through the house.

On occasion, my older cat Tabby will join in the fray. It’s not unusual to see Batman running down the stairs with Tabby in pursuit and, a few minutes later, Tabby heading back through with Batman close on her heels.

Free entertainment is always good and it is amusing to watch the cats romp and stomp. Also shocking on occasion, as when Batman and Bitsy took their flight through the dining room and across me to head for the safe zone beneath the couch.

When they finally wear themselves out, they flop down and go to sleep the first place they can find. While Tabby prefers a cushion on the couch or a sunny spot in the kitchen, the younger cats have yet to make their preference known.

Back when they were younger, you never saw one without the other a few feet away. They do take occasional breaks from each other now, although they’re usually in the same room.

Bitsy likes my bed. Sometimes she’ll be joined by both Batman and Tabby, but usually she sleeps there alone and uninterrupted. Batman, however, plops down wherever she feels like it.

If I’m sitting in my recliner on the laptop and watching TV, she cuddles into a spot right next to me. She prefers to go to sleep with a paw outstretched across the keyboard and her head on my leg.

But I’ve come home from work to find her sleeping on the stack of newspapers headed for recycling. Or snuggled down on a jacket she’s knocked off a dining room chair back or curled into a ball in whatever box she can find.

The cats all like boxes, but Batman is especially fascinated by them. The minute the box is opened, she’s in there and quite peeved if you remove her so you can take the contents of the box out.

Curiosity being a trait of cats, Bitsy will soon be joining her faux-sister in the exploration of the divine carton. I walked into my living room the other day to see both the young cats in a box and Tabby, back paws on the floor and front paws on the edge of the box, assessing them thoughtfully.

I’m pretty sure I know what she was thinking:

“Can I get this box closed, sealed, addressed and the post office before these two idiots wake up and realize they’re being sent to a catless family on the other side of the world?”

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net