If cats have 9 lives, is 13 months the cat equivalent of the “Terrible Twos”?
Howie and Vinnie will both be thirteen months on Thursday – a fitting number considering their behaviour over the last few days – and although Howie looks like a heavier monster than what Vinnie does they are each a neat 5kg. Neat, that is, until they both jump on your chest in the dead of night.
Since yesterday there have been two more rooms barred to them when not supervised – the family room and the lounge room/my office. R’s office was the first to be off limits after we discovered Howie sitting in a nest of obliterated phone chargers, while the bathroom came a close second, right after I caught Vinnie chewing my toothbrush (I wondered how long that affair had been going on).
However, it seems to be Howie in particular who has recently taken up two new habits:
Habit A.) Climbing the interior. This means anywhere inside; vertical (up curtains, fly mesh and my office screen), horizontal (around and around the borders of rugs and the bases of lounges) and upside down (underneath lounges, beds, etc). In fact he has all angles well and truly covered.
Habit B.) Plucking at things until they fall apart. Not content with the plethora of cat appeasement devices and feline-hardy furniture, Howie seeks out the soft underbelly of things. He gnaws and jabs until a portal into another dimension forms, sucking into its singularity hair elastics, pens, human patience and wine corks.
My office screen is the latest casualty on both fronts. I made it by hand with kittens in mind and thinking that their impishness would fade into fat and lazy neuteredness, which it did, sort of, for a while. But beware the lull. The screen is no match for a bruiser of was-Tom moving at Grand Prix speeds. I have experienced being deeply ensconced in writing at the moment Howie has crashed the screen over the desk on top of me, Venus flytrapping me inside it.
Likewise, the screen door has become a nascent subject of destruction. It came with the house, which was once a rental property, so it must be pretty hardy stuff to have withstood probably a decade of punishment. The kind of punishment I’m talking about includes countless guests (and myself) attempting to pass, spirit-like, through it while it’s closed. Usually spirits are involved and they tend to strain through the mesh from the glass held by the stunned person who just realised there was a flyscreen there. Even the cats have pelted into and climbed it with gusto, hoving themselves towards out-of-reach moths. All, till now, has been without damage.
However, yesterday Howie discovered where the magic mesh tucks into the rubber seal …