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EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD! - in which kittens learn that freedom isn't free, or some other bumper sticker bromide

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July 5th, 2014


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03:46 am - in which kittens learn that freedom isn't free, or some other bumper sticker bromide
The kittens did not have a good Fourth of July.

Thursday the city of Somerville shot fireworks off at Trum Field, which is on the other side of Ball Square from us. We didn't go, having plans to later that evening to see the Boston fireworks from Prospect Hill. You could hear the percussive reports at home, nice bass thuds which were fun for us but sufficiently loud to unnerve kitten, um, nerves. Hestia ran into Sonya's room and hid underneath a picture frame; Autolycus was just really really really on guard for quite some time. The puir wee bairns.

The Boston fireworks had been pushed back from Friday night to Thursday because of * Arthur. The * means I am lazy and as of this writing have not looked to see if it's a tropical storm or an actual hurricane or what. I'll look it up later. Then the fireworks started fifteen minutes earlier than that due to another incoming storm with no name. Sonya and I knew about the former but not the latter as we traveled to Prospect Hill. All we knew was that good god that looks like the Esplanade fireworks and didn't they say 10:30 and maybe someone accidentally dropped a match in the fireworks box or something. (It's been known to happen.) We got to the hill, sat down with rushthatspeaks and gaudior and a friend of theirs, watched the rest of the show, and then we all got caught in the huge monsoon which hit us approximately five minutes after we started back to Highland. Rush kindly drove us home through glass-like sheets of water and the most ferocious cloud-to-cloud lightning (and a few ground strikes) I have ever seen on land. We made it home and discovered that the kittens aren't too fond of thunder, either, at least when they're not the ones responsible for it.

This, then, brings us to Friday, the actual Fourth, which saw us in Lexington for most of the day. The kittens were fed and watered and assured that no fireworks were going to go off near them tonight. They were cool with that.

At this point I should mention that these cats are learning new and wonderful tricks. Hestia is getting very good at jumping onto things. She can get onto the kitchen counter with a running start half the time. The other half she reaches the counter with her front paws, flails at the cabinetry with her back paws, and flops to the ground for some composure grooming. Meanwhile Autolycus, who has more difficulty learning mobility what with oversized paws and all, is obsessed with bottle caps. He loves to scoop a cap up in both paws, rearing back on his hind legs in the process, then stick the cap in his mouth and run off it with all proud-like. Sometimes there's the problem of not enough loose bottle caps on the floor. Autolycus has observed us drinking from one-liter and 20-ounce bottles enough to understand that if you want the cap off the bottle, you have to turn it. We have watched him grasp the bottle cap in both paws, again rearing up on his hind legs (both of them are going to be bipedal cats before the year is out) and then attempt to hop-circle around the bottle. He doesn't have sufficient grip to create any kind of torque, but my god he's got the principle down.

(Anyway, the joke's on him; he was hopping righty-tighty, not lefty-loosey.)

While we were out, Hestia learned to jump over the gate we keep at the top of our entry stairs so that little cats don't lurk by the front door and accidentally on purpose get out. This is a slightly dangerous endeavor, jumping over gates at the tops of stairs, but Hestia had so much fun hopping over the gate she apparently convinced Autolycus to give it a try and wouldn't you know, the little fellow succeeded. What fun! What victory! What naughty kittens!

Then came this thing called consequence which cats will never seem to grasp, no matter how many cognitive skills they develop. The gate was high enough for the critters to hop over from the top of the landing, yes, but the other side is one step lower. The resulting ledge was too high to clamber back over and when we came home on Thursday evening we found two kittens sitting on that low step out there in NO CAT'S LAND. We have no idea how long they'd been there, though it appears thankfully not long enough for one of them to really need to use the now-inaccessible litter box. They freaked out a bit when they saw me round the stairstep corner, both flashed that "Oh, shit, we're nicked" look, and tried to jump back over the gate simultaneously and at the same time. This plan failed: they crashed into each other in mid-leap, landed on the low step, scrambled to get out of the way, tripped over each other again, and generally scrambled around in PURE KITTEN PANIC. Hestia recovered and, upset, managed to clear the gate from the lower level and ran off to the water dish. Autolycus, meanwhile, tumbled down three or four steps, was very annoyed by the whole deal, and ran off to the water dish as soon as I undid the gate.

They are doing fine several hours later though Autolycus has since fallen down the stairs twice; first while chasing a mouse toy he thought had gone that way. We hadn't put the gate back yet and I felt really bad about it. The mouse hadn't even gone down the stairs. After I put the gate back up Oly jumped over just to make sure. He landed hard on his paws, tumbled again, and was really shaken for a while. I went out to check on him while writing this and upon hearing my office door open he ran with a prrrp at a bottle cap by my feet, slid along the hardwood floor with cap in paw, bounced off the wainscoting and looked right up at me with big bright eyes. We're going to have to watch that gate, but yeah. The Ex-Runt is gonna be okay.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:nineweaving
Date:July 5th, 2014 08:23 am (UTC)
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I so love reading your kitten diaries.

Nine
[User Picture]
From:sovay
Date:July 5th, 2014 06:23 pm (UTC)
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He doesn't have sufficient grip to create any kind of torque, but my god he's got the principle down.

He knows it works on doors: he's gotten my office door open once already and last night I could hear him trying again. Because the door is stationary in its frame, all he has to do is get the doorknob between his paws and hang his weight off one side or the other sufficient to rotate the knob and slip the bolt.

Meanwhile, Hestia was just up on her hind legs, walking her way across the big window in the living room with her front paws braced on the glass, like a climber on a cliff face. I don't even know what that means, but maybe we should worry about them buying that ice axe after all.
[User Picture]
From:muffyjo
Date:July 5th, 2014 10:20 pm (UTC)
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I love their adventures! Thank you!

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