Time Out

Kage Baker had a most admirable and exemplary work ethic. When she had to accomplish something, she just worked at it steadily until it was done. It often required working through meal times, breaks, sleeping … anything else at all. She would talk in her sleep about the project; more than once she sleep walked as well, announcing at 3 AM: “Okay, time to go back to work!”

I don’t believe that it’s true that sleepwalkers will have heart failure if you wake them suddenly. I threw a lot of pillows and shoes at Kage for this kind of thing, and she never skipped a beat.

But even Kage, whose work ethic was as a gate of steel and a tower of adamant, would vouchsafe that some things must be indulged just for sheer aesthetics. Among these things is kittening: introducing a new baby cat to one’s house and household.

We brought home a new kitten today. Her name is Ashby. She is an orange tabby, so she is rather rare: only about 25% of orange tabbies are female. It’s not as rare as a male calico (due to fatal recessives, males calicos are essentially 0% of the feline population) but orange tabby girl kittens are infrequent. But we have one, and the day has been spent in introducing her to the household and laughing helplessly at her antics.

She has tufted lynx ears and show-shoe paws. Her nose and toes are pink; her eyes are  golden, with an emerald green ring round her pupils. As she’s only 4 months old, it’s still uncertain what her eyes will do. Her tail is longer than her body and extraordinarily fluffy – looks like a squirrel’s tail, only orange and with stripes. She is calm, unafraid, cuddly and at present prefers to run sideways wherever she goes.

The Little Black Cat (now advanced to elder, with the recent demise of her own sister) is somewhat horrified. I think the skitter factor is too much for her just yet; when Ashby learns to locomote in a less eccentric fashion, things will doubtless cool down. The Corgi, on the other hand, fell instantly in love with her. He follows her around, bathes her and tries to herd her; she pats at him and ambushes him. It took Ashby about a half hour to discover that even a cat as small as herself can achieve enough altitude to ambush a Corgi … unless he licks her fur off, I think we have a good friendship there.

Harry is watching her for the perfect opportunity to scare the kapok out of her little head. She’s already unnerved by his talking and whistling; it won’t take long to convince her that he is NOT prey, but a more-or-less friendly demon. We’re hoping he’ll teach her to meow – he does it much better than the Little Black Cat.

We pitiful humans are her helpless minions, of course. She’s been here for 6 hours or so, and she hasn’t stopped purring yet. We’re all doomed …

So my work ethic has gone out the window today, knocked off by a paw smaller than my pinky fingertip. Not even Kage could resist kittens.

Now, excuse me, Dear Readers. There’s a kitten to indulge.