You've Read of Several Kinds of Cat
“But,” I can hear a percentage of my readers saying in increasing plangent tones, “what about the new kittens?”
Well, you cat-people, the kittens are fine. They are now half-grown girls, being of great length and some width and having had their Very Special Operation. Their names are still Anne and Diana, which made more sense when they were only staying a month or so. Anne and DiANA are entirely too similar for ease of differentiation; usually, we just say “Annandiana,” as if they’re conjoined. Consort avoids the whole situation by referring to both girls as “He.”
I kept waiting to write about them when their shadow-side appeared, figuring it made for better writing. Also, having lived with Lulabelle lo these many years, I assumed they’d be nothing but a shadow side, with briefs shafts of psychic light between the dark clouds of mouse-death. But these girls are so darling it almost cloys. They wear dolls dresses; they not only consent to being carried around like babies, they purr while it’s happening; each one chases her tail. If they could, they’d braid each other’s ears. After having lived for many years with the cat version of Marianne Faithfull (the heroin years), I’m now roomies with Vanessa Hudgens (the High School Musical years). Which is how I finally came to give them their first nickname:
Readers, may I present…the ingénues.
All round cheeks, round eyes and perfectly clean little paws, their greatest goal in life nothing more than twenty minutes bossing around the felt mouse followed by cooing attention from a small girl. I didn’t know Lu well at their age, but I can guarantee she had already felt the singular joy of a bird’s neck snapping in her mouth. The ingénues are like those kids who think hamburger meat grows at the Piggly Wiggly. They are no more allowed to go outside than the star of a Disney sitcom is put on the interstate and told to hitch her way home. My job with them is to protect their innocence; my job with Lu was to keep her inside often enough so the local fauna could replenish itself.
They have exactly one oddity; at 10:30 every night, on the dot, they race around the house very, very quickly. Then, having warmed up for a few minutes, they stare fixedly at a spot on the wall and jump at it for about a half-hour. Did I mention this spot is visible only to them and is about five feet off the ground?
Because in my house, even the ingénues need a quirk.