Skinker, Slinker, Shrinker and King
My favourite cat, Sibyl, is a skinker. That’s right, skinker. Unlike our other three cats, she doesn’t stalk birds or rabbits or mice or rats. No, she spends her entire day with her nose firmly embedded in the dirt searching for skinks. I’m forever finding skink tails here and there – minus the skink. Sometimes we find the skink under the mat in the laundry – of course, by then, it’s too late. Today she brought one in, and as usual, let me know in no uncertain terms. “Mffflllrow!” The sound of a cat crying with a mouthful. She lets it go in the laundry and it promptly runs under the washer. Great! With some well-appreciated help from my daughter’s boyfriend, we managed to capture the poor thing and release it – still with tail intact. I have no idea what makes Sibyl a skinker. Her nose is forever dirty from snuffling in the dirt, so I have to clean it. But she seems very proud of her achievements, so I won't complain.
It never fails to amaze me how different one cat can be from another. They all have their own little personalities. Another weird thing about Sibyl is she hasn’t quite figured out that our labrador, Jasper, can’t feed her. She’ll come in and head-butt him continually to try to get him to get up and go to the refrigerator. He’s a bit worried about this, since our other cat, Percy, will come in and lick him as though cleaning him, then unexpectedly take a bite out of him. Sibyl’s sister, Piper, has her own little oddities. She's a slinker. She doesn’t like her head touched by anyone but my daughter and her boyfriend – her true owners. This despite the fact she’s lived with us for almost all her adult life. Once she went missing for over 9 days. We were sure she was gone for good – even had a small funeral service for her. Then one evening there she was, up on her perch looking for food. We still have no idea where she was for all that time, but aside from looking slightly skinnier, she’d come to no harm.
Jessica, our long-haired tabby, is a shrinker - overly skittish. If there’s the slightest sound while she’s on someone’s lap, she’s off like lightening; usually leaving welts and screams of pain behind.
Percy is the king of the house – though I’ve never seen him swipe at, bully or abuse any of the females. He must have some secret code that keeps them all subservient. But I do believe he teaches them bad habits. As a kitten, Percy brought in frogs and crickets and moths. He quickly advanced to mice, then rats and finally large rabbits. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find the remains of a cow in our living room one morning.
Daily I’m bemused by the foibles of all our felines. I don’t think I could ever live without a furry four-legged friend in my life.