August 20, 2008

Meet the beasts – Trouble and Pax

Posted in cats tagged , , , at 4:45 pm by Lauren

I spent a good week brooding about cat names, and now our boys finally have some! When they arrived, we tried out Cyrano and Darcy, but found that they didn’t fit well or roll off the tongue. After one day of throwing those names around, we tried a different tactic: waiting. We didn’t call the cats Spark and Toby; we didn’t call them anything. I’d say, “Hey, dudes,” or “The black one did the cutest thing!” or “Where’s the orange guy?” Allen was slightly fearful that they’d just end up The Black One and The Orange One.

Trouble, our all black cat, got his name first. Within a matter of days, it was all I could think about when I looked at him. I don’t mean to say that he is actually troublesome or annoying. The name is more in the spirit of “Here comes trouble,” and “He looks like trouble.” He has a look about him that suggests that he’s always thinking, and he’s using that brain power to either plan or execute some kind of mischief. (Favored mischief includes jumping on the kitchen counter, seeing how high he can get in our house, and pouncing on his brother.)

Trouble, earning his name, has actually gotten stuck on the ottoman because his claws are too long.

He’s quite an adventurous character. I’d describe him as being very cavalier. He’s not afraid to climb any height, and he’s not too responsive to a firm “no!” if he jumps on the counter. (And honestly, most of the time I think he’s just trying to get closer to us.) He’s not afraid of anything, not the front door or the vacuum cleaner or his brother. But his strong self-assuredness also comes out in affectionate ways. He follows us around the house the way that a puppy would, sleeps next to us on the couch or in bed (often, he’ll climb into the bed in the middle of the night and sleep touching one of us), and sits contentedly on our laps while we type.

Being fierce and mischievous is very tiring, so Trouble curled up on my feet while I cross-stitched.

Pax, our orange and white tabby, took us longer to name. We kept waiting for him to do something that would make us come up with his name, but we actually came up with Pax when we were thinking of good names to go with Trouble. (We named him for his peaceful nature, though he is certainly happy to get into it with his brother! We liked the contrast in the names.) It’s hard to say something like, “Pax is the sweeter of the two,” because then you really have to stop and think about it; they’re both so good-natured. But Pax is more relaxed and more reserved. He’s eager to please and afraid of getting caught doing something bad. I think of him a little like a nerdy and nervous teen who hasn’t quite figured out how to be comfortable in his own skin. He hangs back a little, but runs to you when he realizes you want to pet him or pick him up.

Pax has got his big golden eyes fixed on me, and he’s climbing up to “let” me pet him.

He is always in your peripheral vision, as he loves to be around humans, but sometimes it’s as if he doesn’t want to be a bother, so he’s several feet away or watching you from around a corner. But if you pull him up onto your lap, he puts his front legs around your neck (I am not personifying him; he actually does “hug” you around the neck) and nuzzles your chin and ear. (I’m trying to break him of the ear nuzzling habit, as he drools or drips from his wet nose, and it’s just a little too much.) Unlike Trouble, he won’t just sit on your lap quietly; he’s shifting and angling and trying to encourage you to pet him or cradle him the whole time. He too will sleep on the bed and follow you around the house, happy to be in whatever room you are.  

Pax is waking up from a little cat nap here, so that he can follow me into the other room.

Something about this picture (his head butted up against the candle holder) really shows how sweet Pax is.

Since the two of them are brothers (though we think Pax is a few months older), they interact constantly. Trouble is always taking care of big brother Pax, though he usually gears up to lick him by jumping on him first. Pax can put up a good fight though, and the two of them race around the house. (Fortunately, they do plenty of this during the day and tend not to wake us with their antics at night.)

Here, the beating has stopped and the licking begun. They alternate beating and licking.

The two of them seem to have worked together to get comfortable here, usually with more dominant and fearless Trouble exploring and showing Pax that everything’s cool. This was the case with the cat condo we got (as we’d seen that they enjoyed them in both the pet store and their foster home). Trouble, who thinks very vertically, was the first up it, pulling himself up onto the top with some Mission Impossible moves that included his mile-long claws. Pax started more cautiously on a lower level, but now sleeps on the top of it too, once he observed Trouble playing around up there. (This, of course, works in other ways too; Trouble also showed Pax that the kitchen counter is accessible.)

Thwack! Trouble uses his higher ground advantage to get in a hit on Pax.

Anyway, they’re both doing really well, and we’re really enjoying having them. I was home with them all last week (before teacher orientation started this week), so I think that helped them settle in, and now Allen is home with them all this week. Allen’s making up lost ground, since they still tend to leave the room to follow me or try to get up on my lap instead of his. But with him around all week, I’m sure he’ll tip the balance with them soon. I came home today to find him covered with white hair, a dead giveaway that Pax had been on his lap for a while. (Note to self: wear less dark colored clothing.)

Now where did those kitties get to…?

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