Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gatos Ninos: The Kids Are Alright

This post is in response to my my father's inquiry, by way of a blog comment, as to how my kittens are doing. I'm not even going to try to convince anyone this is a normal way for families to communicate, but this is how we roll. I found out about my Aunt Louise's heart surgery through a Facebook post—from Aunt Louise herself.

Aunt Louise, who is doing quite well.

Anywhoo, they are well. Gatos ninos is the term we have assigned them, marking Husband's astonishing progress in his Spanish class. It's a conversational class, so they are often encouraged to share personal information as fodder for conversation: My daughter is nine. My in-laws are visiting. I like to eat. When I asked if he had told his class about his new kittens, he confessed that he did not know the Spanish word for kitten. Surely it's a diminutive form of cat, I offered, to which he replied after not enough some thought "Gatos ninos?" I was right, of course: It's gatito. But gatos ninos has grown on us.

The girl, Lily (although I have been calling her Lillian), although much smaller, is the dominant cat. She is first to the food bowl, finishing her food quickly so she can nudge him out of his bowl, and he lets her. She is quicker, more agile, more outgoing, and more vocal. And she is interested in anything I am doing in the kitchen. Mama's girl.

Loki is more shy, has almost no voice (his meow sounds like he is choking, and we almost never hear it), and draws back whenever someone makes a sudden move toward him. He is content to let her take the lead in almost everything. The adjustment to our home has not been as easy for him. After recovery from his initial reticence (hiding under a desk for two days), he's had what we think is an upper respiratory infection (he's on antibiotics) and has reverted to some of his early timid behavior. We're content to be patient with him and give him time to regain his comfort.

He is our boy, and we love him.

What's more, they love each other.

And this guy? Yes, we had another cat before we let these two invade our hearts and home.

At fifteen years old, I suppose we were naive thinking he would make a better adjustment. He hates them. In fact, I think he is terrified of them. Although he outweighs them significantly, in his mind I think he believes he is small and at danger in their presence. He hisses and runs. At least we're fairly confident he will not try to kill them. They, on the other hand, just want to get to know him. Their resilience is admirable: No matter how many times he rejects them, they are back for more, certain he will love them like we do. Which he probably never will.

I imagine The Who's lyrics running through his head:
Sometimes, I feel I gotta get away
Bells chime, I know I gotta get away
And I know if I don't, I'll go out of my mind
Better leave her behind with the kids, they're alright
The kids are alright
They are, we are, and he will be. Todo gatos.


Purple Flowers said...

Cute photos. I like hearing about how kittens adjust. Our new kitten Zach was abit skiddish at first, but has since come around. He has decided Hubby is the Alpha, and I just live here. He is cute though- aren't they all?

Kate said...

Those kittens are so fuzzy and sweet! I love me some kitty tummy. Poor First Kitty - I'm sure he feels a little displaced and pissed off by the whole idea of kittenish interlopers.

I Love Your Whole Face said...

Your kitties are so cute! very snuggly.

Lily said...

Your kitties are toooooo adorable! I love your pics!

lisagh said...
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lisagh said...

OMG!!! they are all sooooo cute, but your two new ones sound very much like my two.

For upper respiratory relief, why not take Loki into the bathroom with you when you're showering? The steam is very good for their little lungs.