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Monday, March 8, 2010

LAUGHING TAPO

tapo napster


Tapo is the cat that likes to pull pranks. They all do, but Tapo stands out. She's a little fur ball, a soccer ball of black cat fur with 4 delicate legs sticking out from it, a tail that is automatically up when she walks and a little round head with cat ears that bobs when she walks. Sometimes I think of her as Ms Wobbles. When she means business, she's sleek and quick as any cat. She walks to the food bowl a few times a day. The rest of the time she's curled up in one of half a dozen places. In the afternoon when sun lights up the bathroom floor, Tapo is in there soaking up the rays. As the light moves over the floor, she moves with it. She used to sun on on a window seat, but as she's getting older she can't jump like she one time could. I may have to arrange something for her to get up to it easily. It's one of her favorite places.



She's the bottom of the pecking order. She's the smallest and the least aggressive. So she has to take it from both TarBaby and ill-natured Caterpillar. Both are bigger, good fighters, good hunters, so there's nothing for Tapo to do but take it. She dislikes it immensely. The fights are less and less as they grow older. By now it's very seldom TarBaby or Caterpillar light into Tapo just for the thrill of making certain she understands who's dominant. Like in mafia movies when 5 guys in suits show up at the door wanting the boss's money now. It's on, whether you want it or not. She gets her comfort from the giant who loves her just as much as he loves Caterpillar and TarBaby. She's not the bottom of the pecking order in the giant's eyes.



Perhaps the funniest prank I've seen Tapo pull was on Caterpillar. I've seen her pull 2 good ones on Caterpillar and laugh. One day TarBaby and Caterpillar were on the table I feed them on, anxiously waiting for me to the get the catfood can open and served. They walked in a circle that grew tighter at a quickening pace. I knew it was going to happen and it did. One touched the other and it was on. Caterpillar muscled TarBaby to his back and was on top of him popping his head with her paws, holding him down while he was trying to escape. Tapo, hearing a catfight came to the kitchen to watch. Suddenly she leaped into the air like I'd never seen her do and landed with all 4 feet on Caterpillar's back. It scared Caterpillar so bad she lost her mind. She hissed in hysteria and ran out from under Tapo. As soon as she got out from under Tapo she shook her head so fast her ears sounded like hummingbird wings. Then she stood where she was, looking dazed with no recollection of anything before. Tapo laughed like crazy. It was fun for her to make Caterpillar jump. Tapo can't beat Caterpillar up, but she can make Caterpillar's heart race and her mind lose all sense.



Another time, outside, I was standing around looking at something and Tapo was on the ground a few feet away. Caterpillar came ambling along, 15-20 feet from us, cool and nonchalant, she walked at her relaxed pace, in slow motion from one place to another. I looked at Tapo and saw in her eyes that she'd just seen what she was going to do. She took off running at Caterpillar so fast and of a sudden that Caterpillar didn't notice until Tapo passed by Caterpillar about a foot in front of her nose. Caterpillar jumped straight up hissing. Tapo stopped, turned around and watched. Caterpillar turned all the way around in the air and landed headed where she came from. Tapo is the equivalent of rolling on the ground laughing. Her face was lit up. Caterpillar looked around trying to figure out where she was and shook her head again to sound like hummingbird wings. It made Tapo's day. Caterpillar gets so befuddled she never goes after revenge, because she has no idea what happened.



With 3 cats in the house, one thing I've learned about cats is it makes them laugh to see a cat jump, just like it does humans. It tickles them to see a cat jump straight up hissing. TarBaby has pulled tricks on me. Tapo has too. Caterpillar isn't much of one for mirth. Caterpillar is serious and walks about in full confidence that Caterpillar rules. It's the same puffed up pride you see in the movie mafia boss. Nobody is going to disrespect him and he knows it in advance, until Steven Seagal comes to town. Tapo doesn't seem to me to like Caterpillar. I remember the time years ago when she quit liking Caterpillar. Tapo wanted to get along with everybody, but Caterpillar beat her up every day. She never hurt Tapo, but was a relentless nuisance. But I don't feel her dislike for Caterpillar is as strong as it used to be. Caterpillar largely leaves her alone in this time of their lives. Yesterday I saw them both on the bathroom floor lolling in the sunlight about a foot apart.




Tapo has more peace now than she's ever had. All Tapo wants to do is curl up on a nice cushion and snooze. Some time ago, I would take them on walks in the woods. TarBaby and Caterpillar would beat up Tapo repeatedly until she went home. Finally, she quit going with us. As a result of them not letting her go outside without a challenge, she stayed in the house all the time. She became the house cat such that when TarBaby and Caterpillar were in the house they were in Tapo's territory giving her a new status as the ruler of the house. They would defer to her inside the house. Though not always. Sometimes Tar or Pillar will get possessed by catness and light into Tapo to back her up in a corner and make her hiss. Cats also think a cat hissing is funny.



Tapo is the 1 of the 3 cats that favors their mother. She was a tortoise shell short haired cat with delicate legs too. She was a small cat with a small head. Her fur had the texture Tapo's fur has, something like a new teddy bear's fur. The day her babies opened their eyes, she ran under a car leaving her babies to me. When I buried her, I promised her I'd take good care of her babies. The vet told me they wouldn't live, but I knew they would. I knew they needed mother love as much as food. I wouldn't have any problem giving them that. Turning on the mother love was the easiest part. And Tapo was the cutest kitten I'd ever seen. I've not seen a lot. She has a charming personality. All the cats scatter when somebody comes into the house. Tapo is always the first to come out and see who it is and get some bonus petting.

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