Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Me and My Shadow

I realized the other day that we probably should have named Hedge "Shadow." Not that "Hedge" isn't a good name for the little guy, but, in reality, he was living under a fern when he first appeared in our yard. Of course, "Fern" is a terrible name for a cat. Carnivores should not be named after plants. "Shadow," though, would have been a perfect, if trite, name for him. Not so much because he's a black cat with the ability to disappear at will, but more because of the way he mirrors whatever Quint is doing. When I saw them the other day, they were both asleep on the bed in almost exactly the same position, parallel to each other and lined up equidistant from the sides of the mattress. I quietly exited the room and grabbed my camera from the office so that I could capture the moment. They both awoke at the snap of the shutter and in a wonderfully synchronized movement looked up to see what I was doing.

Hedge eats when Quint eats, naps when Quint naps, and always is ready to play, even when Quint would rather not. However, Hedge isn't always the shadow, sometimes he the invisible presence waiting to pounce as Quint walks by. Hedge is also more inclined to play with the multitude of cat toys available to him, whereas Quint's interest in all the dead toys waned once he got Hedge to play with.

But then, Quint has always preferred to play with his housemates rather than with a toy. Quint is more of a social critter and always very curious about what is going on around him. So curious and playful that he makes it quite difficult for Carol to get anything done around the house. He particularly likes to help her wrap gifts and write in the cards. He enjoys making his mark on each envelope by perforating one or more of the corners with his teeth. Quint also seems to enjoy watching movies with us, or at least being in the room while the movie is playing. He doesn't really watch. What he does is lie down on the couch next to Carol and take a nap while we watch.

Hedge, in shadow mode, will sometimes join the movie audience briefly, but when he discovers that Quint is napping and not ready to play, he usually finds something else to do on his own. Quint continues to be a good influence on the little black cat and so Hedge is finding himself more and more inclined to be in the company of his humans. So much so, that, of late, I am able to scoop him up and trim his claws regularly. Hedge's claws grow into needle sharp little hooks that he has trouble controlling. If I don't keep them trimmed, the poor guy gets hooked on the blankets and towels that we have put on all of the furniture to keep the cat hair deposits at a minimum. A cat's natural reaction to getting a claw hooked in something is to pull back against it, which drives the claw further into whatever it is he's grabbed. I'm sure this works very well on mice and birds when you are trying to catch and eat them, but having a blanket attached to your foot makes it difficult to move around easily, so I try to keep his claws trimmed to a manageable length.

We're thoroughly enjoying the interaction of the two animals, and since I'm not at home as much I used to be, I'm glad they have each other as playmates. It's also rather rewarding to see Hedge's continuing evolution from recluse to contributing group member. It's a lot more fun having him around when we get to interact with him, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment