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Friday, November 13, 2009


tarbaby in a box

The vet wants to keep TarBaby awhile longer. The white blood cell count is still way high after antibiotics. It's pointing to more complex issues, like possibly thyroid problem, so Tar will stay a few more days. He doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get home. He appears comfortable where he is. Evidently he knows he's not well and this is the get well place. If he wanted me to take him home, he knows how to get the message across. He'd be all claws climbing all over my arms and shoulders howling.

He's always calm. I hold him awhile, talk with him and he's happy with that. When I put him back in the cage, he makes no effort to try to get out before I close the door. In fact, I can stand there and talk to him with the door open and he is willing to stay. Possibly the cage is a protection for him where the other cats and the dogs in there can't reach him. He's been in there almost a week and still no anxiety to come home. Fairly clear he understands his situation.

When our dog friend Aster was living, TarBaby wanted to be Aster's friend all the time he was growing up. Aster and I were the big ones and TarBaby wanted to be one of the big ones with us. When I brought the kittens in the house at 2 weeks old, Aster, who had raised a kitten before, Peck, was done raising cats. Peck had slept on Aster, jumped on her, slid down her back, generally used her for a cat toy. One was enough. She let the 3 kittens know by growling when they hobbled anywhere near where she was stretched out on her bed. She let them know from the start she didn't care what they did, but you don't get on the dog. Stay off the dog. That was Aster's only requirement.

The day TarBaby wandered out of this room into the kitchen, out of sight of the other 2 the first time, he was a little anxious, but exploring and finding more interesting details. He turned around and saw Aster. I saw in his eyes the moment he conceived the mission. A flash in his eyes and he took off running toward Aster lying on her bed. This was the first time I saw any of them run. He made a flying squirrel leap through the air, the other 2 watching in terror, because it looked bad. He landed with all 4 feet on Aster's rump. Aster was up in one move, turned around and had her whole mouth over TarBaby, whose head was in her throat, growling like a bear.

She slowly raised her mouth and I saw TarBaby sitting paralyzed. Caterpillar and Tapo looked on in awe, themselves paralyzed by fright seeing Aster eat TarBaby for his first offence. Aster sat up and looked at TarBaby with eyes that said, You don't ever do that again. TarBaby was so far gone in his paralysis he could do nothing but sit there. After a short time he started creeping to the edge of Aster's bed, slow as he could go, and the others watched. He hopped to the floor and all three of them hobbled to the middle of the floor when the rug at the time was a Chinese design with a medallion in the middle. All three of them walked to that circle in the center of the room, nearly comatose from fear, piled up in a knot and fell asleep. They slept there quite awhile. TarBaby never jumped on Aster again. Neither did Tapo or Caterpillar.

Later, when they were able to go outside, Aster would lie down in one of her places and the 3 kittens crawled around. When any of them, say TarBaby was headed toward the road, Aster went and turned him around with her nose to head him away from the road. And it took. I wouldn't have had any idea how to teach a kitten to stay out of the road without histrionics. Aster did it with a nudge from her nose. She was available to help teach them things they needed to know to live here, but the rule stood, don't get on the dog.

TarBaby growing up wanted to be Aster's friend with all his might. Because he wanted to be her friend so bad, he made himself ridiculous in attempts to play. One time when TarBaby was a big kitten, he followed when Aster and I went walking up the road. TarBaby was one of the big ones. He was walking with us, keeping up, being there, a big one too. He started getting anxious when we left sight of the house, but he was ok, because he was with the big ones. He walked out ahead of us a ways, 50 feet or so, turned around and saw Aster and me. Again I saw the flash in his eyes.

He took off running up to full speed straight at Aster, who stood beside me and watched with her head down relaxed. TarBaby's eyes were wide open and he was full bore, bearing down on Aster. He was going to pounce on Aster now that they're friends. Aster never moved. At a certain distance of maybe 10 feet he saw Aster's eyes that were just looking at him saying, Don't do it. TarBaby hit the brakes with all 4 feet on gravel road, all claws extended the max trying to get a grip on the road, sprawled out and turned half sideways in the slide, his eyes on Aster's eyes the whole time. The moment his momentum stopped, he sprang through the air from the middle of the road to the tall grass at the ditch and up the bank to the other side of the fence. He walked all the way back to the house with us on the other side of the fence.

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