Friday, April 26, 2013

Iris Demands Indoor Privileges


This bit of Bad Poetry came to mind back in January, when it describes the behavior of the kitten Iris. It can be sung, to the tune of the Clancy Brothers' "Little Beggar Man," if you really want to try it. So far I've spared my family.

They tell me I was brought indoors just after I was born,
When, after a long early thaw, there came a frosty morn.
And now that I’m much bigger and much cleverer and bolder,
What has the weather gone and done, but turned a great deal colder.
I’m an energetic kitten, but for all that I don’t see
What’s more precious, in the warm room, than a pretty cat like me.
The humans call the temperature down cellar fifty-five
And say that that is warm enough to keep a cat alive,
But temperatures are like the things they put up on their shelves:
The humans always try to keep the best ones for themselves.
I like the air directly in front of a hot-air fan,
And I prefer to share it with a woman or a man.
I would lead them by their fingers, softly clasped between my paws,
But if they withhold attention, then I’ll grab them with my claws.
I cannot think why my human has this foolish urge to type
When I try to hold her fingers still and give them a good wipe.
I am a classic calico cat: from that you can see,
There is nothing on this planet quite so marvellous as me.
So when I’m put outside I will begin to wheeze and cough,
And when they bring me in again I turn that cough right off,
And lie before the hot-air fan until my paws are wet
And I put out my tongue and pant with honest kitty sweat,
And whatever other pillow may be offered for my head,
I’ll still demand a human hand, a lap on which to shed,
And then another hand to shade my eyes will also seem
The best way to protect me from a less than pleasant dream.
For of all the Patchnose kittens, surely anyone can see,
There has never been a kitten more adorable than me.

Update: by now Iris is a year old, and although the hot-air fan has gone into retirement, Iris still jumps up onto my shoulder, sometimes to demand indoor privileges, sometimes just to demand attention and affection. Antibiotics and warm weather seem to have helped her shake off the strep infection she had last winter. A manufacturer's sale on Friskies with gravy, into which worm remedies can be mixed, also seems to be doing all the cats some good. Iris is now bright-eyed, healthy, and even plump (she inherited her father's cobby build), but she's still small and young for her age (at least she's not trying to have kittens of her own). She learned rather quickly that, if she wanted to sit on my lap, the sound of typing was her cue to take a nap!

Iris is the bossiest cat we've had at the Cat Sanctuary since Minnie's reign in the 1990s, but very lovable. She is, so far, the only member of the Patchnose Family who actually likes riding in cars (Bounce and Magic also liked riding in cars). She's not stupid enough to approach cars until she sees that they've stopped and that a familiar human is climbing in or out of them, but then she leaps into the car, checks for food, and waits to see whether she's being invited out to a party. And she recognizes other Cat Sanctuary cats, and seems to enjoy visiting them in their new homes.

Would I part with Iris? What a joke...all three-colored cats come into this world knowing themselves to be special and superior beings, and it takes an ego the size of Iris's to keep the egos of Irene, Ivy, Heather, and Grayzel in balance. Like Elizabeth I or Victoria in England, she may look half-grown, but she was manifestly born to be a Ruling Queen.