Monday, January 9, 2012

Family IV: The little tigers

Desmond is made of earnestness
Townes is made of silly putty

Townes (more gray, more spotty) and Desmond (more brown, more stripey)
I have two little tigers: Desmond, who outweighs Clover by two pounds, and Townes, who outweighs her by one. They are almost the same except when they are very, very different.

Desmond came from the shelter when he was six months old—the equivalent of a yearling, FarmWife tells me, as mules grow up slower than cats. He was old enough to be "assessed", in the sense that the humans were able to lock him in a small room with their cat-crazy toddler and see how he fared. He passed—every limp, langourous, purring-whilst-being-dragged-about-the-room inch of him. He was a good, unflappable kitten and as he grew he turned into a sophisticated, mulish cat. He is all poise and dignity in a plush, striped coat.

Townes looks exactly like Desmond except that he doesn't at all . . . at first glance, humans mistake one for the other. Then they notice that Townes is long (like a noodle), and drooping in the middle. This is because he was damaged as a kitten, though the vet knows not how. He wobbles to and fro when he perambulates, and when he builds up enough speed his gallop turns into an out-of-control wave which sweeps his hind end up and around and then down to earth. Townes, nevertheless, is a stalwart hunter. What he lacks in grace he makes up for in patience, and his 365 hunting days result in about three kills per year. (FarmWife sometimes supplements his meager gains with raw chicken wings, which he eats with gusto.)

Townes came from the roadway in Van Zandt, Washington. FarmWife and her coworkers found him, at six weeks of age, playing chicken with the logging trucks on Highway 9. It was suspected that he came from a nearby feral litter, but he is now a testament to domesticity. He enjoys human companionship very much and our two tigers are often found lounging about on any spare lap. They are both very malleable, though Townes moreso. This means it is usually Townes who is forced to play the dragon in the children's games.

My little tigers have motorboat voices and weak, squeaky little brays. They manage, nonetheless, to serve as a major source of information from inside the human habitation. This intelligence is second in quality only to that obtained by my super-secret hoofspy (who has since, regrettably, been sold).

Tomorrow, continuing up the family size ladder from scrawny to brawny, we will talk about my youngest human filly. Stay tuned!


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