Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Kitten Update, with Pictures

Stardust shows signs of knowing what her name is! Or more accurately, of knowing that the words "Here, Stardust" mean that if she comes, she gets a cat treat. So she comes. Whereas if I say "Here, kitty," she completely ignores me.

She also shows signs of being leash-trained. I bought a cat harness and leash a couple of weeks ago, but the harness turned out not to adjust to be really quite small enough for her. I put it on her anyway, from time to time, and watched her wrestle her way out of it. She had never shown any promise whatsoever of becoming willing to actually wear it and walk around with it, until today when I attached the leash to it and held the leash up in the air to keep the slightly loose harness from drooping, and she actually took three steps without trying to wrestle her way out of it, and then another three steps later. It wasn't much, but it was enough that I decided to try taking her outside, to see whether the joy of being outside would distract her from the horror of being leashed. It did! She instantly stopped trying to get out of the harness at all, and led me downstairs and . . . into a lot of bushes that were not really the sort of things humans can easily walk through. I extricated her from the bushes and carried her over to the lawn. She continued trying to dive into all the bushes at the edges of the lawn, but eventually she seemed to reluctantly grasp the fact that she could only go leash-distance into the bushes before getting pulled back.

It was all going astoundingly well, really, and she attracted all sorts of admiration from passersby. But then we met a cat! A great big adult short-haired orange tabby. Stardust arched her back at it. The orange tabby came as close as any cat probably can to rolling its eyes at the idea that she could pose any threat to it at all. It did not feel any need to bother with even the faintest back-arching in return. It wandered off, bored, through the bushes. Stardust tried desperately to chase after it. (Next thing I know, she'll be chasing bears up trees.) I had to explain to her all over again that humans do not fit very well through the middle of bushes, and that therefore we would need to go around the bushes, not through them. We went around the bushes, and she found her way back to the orange cat. I let her get as close to it as she could without dragging me into the bushes, but this kept her about a foot away from it, and she was not at all happy about that. She started wriggling, and eventually wriggled her way right out of the slightly-too-big-for-her harness!

But she seemed to be rather disturbed at suddenly finding herself actually free, and turned to stare at me questioningly. I waved the leash in front of her on the ground, and she, predictably, ran forward and pounced on it. So I caught her easily, and carried her back inside. She's probably not going out again until she grows into the harness some more (particularly because, among other discoveries I made while outside with her, I noticed that she has no apparent fear of moving cars). Still, it was an altogether bigger success in my cat-training efforts than I had been expecting.

And now I bring you pictures of her other recent exploits.

Yes, I do know that these totally belong on I think the best part of this next one is how one of her front paws is in midair.

Here she is with one of her favorite toys - a bunch of feathers attached to a wand.

And here she is with the computer cords that she thinks are her toys. I even bought something called "Bitter YUCK!" and sprayed it all over the cords, because that supposedly discourages cats from chewing things. It does not seem to have discouraged her much. It has, however, an impressive tendency to leave enough traces of itself on my own fingers whenever I spray it on anything, and to remain on my fingers for so many hours afterward, that inevitably I end up sooner or later licking my fingers and tasting it myself, which has rather effectively discouraged me from wanting to ever spray the horrible stuff on anything ever again.

Here she is hiding from the purple octopus I bought for her and strung from a ceiling vent in the living room for her to play with.

Eventually she came out and watched it interestedly.

And chased it!

And continued chasing it for hours on end, with an increasingly crazed look in her eyes.

Later, she demonstrated her musical talents.

And her talents for squeezing through ridiculously tiny spaces. I couldn't believe she actually wedged herself through the brick and into the tiny space between the brick and the wall.

She is fond of playing with my shoes. This is much less bothersome if I arrange not to be wearing them at the time.

She is also fond of playing with my fingers. It is a lot more difficult to arrange not to be wearing those at the time. However, she generally keeps her claws in, and rarely does any damage that way. (What does do damage is her efforts to climb onto my lap by scaling my legs with clawholds through my skin.)

The end! Currently she's climbing on the back of my chair and attempting to read over my shoulder. I need to get around to explaining to her that she does not actually know how to read.

Edited to add: Mere minutes after I posted this, she also discovered how to unroll an entire roll of toilet paper all over the floor. I am not pleased about this demonstration of her cleverness.
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