Thursday, June 26, 2014

No Photo of Kiba the Fang

(Reclaimed from Bubblews...the site that ate my precious blurry cell-phone pictures. There is no longer a picture of Kiba. Sorry.)

A Chatabout contact suggested Kiba, a Japanese word for "fang," as a kitten name. I thought it was cute and decided to bestow that name on the first little nipper who nibbled on my finger. Kiba learned fast that there are better ways to get my attention than biting. Generations of social kittens have trained me to pick up and pet any kitten who hugs my ankle.

He also learned that Kiba was his name. All the social cats seem to learn their names, whether they actually become Listening Pets or not...because their mothers teach them. I would not have thought of making this up. I've seen the older cats in this family nudge a kitten to move toward me when I called its name.

Kiba was the most affectionate in this group of kittens. All of them are friendly, but Kiba seldom missed a chance to run up and hug my ankle. Some of it may have been genuine gratitude and affection; shortly after the kittens' eyes opened Kiba's mother isolated him from the others, and I gave him a home remedy for tummy-bugs and a bath, and his mother let him return to the nest. His litter mates missed him while he was gone and welcomed him back.

Unfortunately, Kiba got the Manx gene; his half-tail is even slightly twisted, and I wondered whether he likes being petted so much because his deformed spine is a source of discomfort. I know that humans who have either odd-shaped feet or full bosoms always like a back rub!

I don't usually keep tomcats, but was prepared to make an exception for Kiba. However, he left the Cat Sanctuary last week.

(Some readers naturally enough wondered why he left. He left because he seemed at risk for toxic fallout after the poisoning of Route 23, and I regret to report that he died anyway, for no obvious reason.)