(Written Sep. 11, 2008)

When Banker (Parker’s dad) first came to live with us, a cat that had adopted us had a litter of four kittens.  It became HIS responsibility to check on these kittens any time he was outside.  He was always a natural Mr. Mom.

Parker was more into excitement.  He loved to encite chase.  Well, that was partly Roadway’s doing.  Roadway was a tabby kitten I had found wandering down a street, who turned out to be Mr. Personality.  I tried to convince him that it wasn’t a good idea, but he persisted, and Parker gladly obliged.  Roadway was pretty impressed with himself and always enjoyed this exercise.  And, Parker loved to run, from 0 mph to the Black Streak faster than a race horse.  He was so enamored with his speed when he ran that once he forgot about everything else, and when Roadway went straight up a tree, Parker didn’t notice that there was a tree in his path.  Roadway had an expression that said “I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

These days, he still loves to run, but he isn’t quite the Black Streak of his youth.  (This is partly from an accumulation of all those lesser-than-wise choices of his youth.)  Yes, Parker is reaching maturity, a little at a time.  I do appreciate that it isn’t happening too fast, so that I have a chance to adjust.

The cats that Parker has been around have been young or mature cats.  It has been a while since someone “gave” us a cat that was pregnant, but a lovely little black female cat showed up at the beginning of summer with a slight bulge at her abdomen.  A few weeks later, there were 6 cats at our house, when before she arrived, there was one.

It may be partly that the little ones simply bring out the maternal instincts in adults, but Parker is thrilled about these kittens.  At first, it was the excitement response, but Mom quickly disciplined him.  Mom has even spent time coaching Parker on how dogs are supposed to treat cats.  (Like royalty, of course.)  Parker has reached the point that he is more curious about the kittens than he wants excitement in play.  The boldest of the four is a little black girl who is the image of her mother with a similar personality.  There is a brown tabby and a light grey tabby, both curious boys but surprisingly less bold than their little sister.  Then there is Miss Phffft!  Phffft!, a blue kitten who is a little more skeptical of his manners.  Parker is slowly learning that if he gets too pushy, they run away.  But, the little black one comes back.  I think Parker is as amazed about that as I am.  She gets panicky when he starts moving those big paws quickly, spinning in an effort to keep up with her, and he has considered that Newfy tactic of putting your foot on something to hold it still, but he thought the better of it.  There is a sure sign of maturity in decision-making, except that it may be more a matter of learning how sharp those little claws are than that she is too little for his foot.  Maybe I’m not giving him enough credit, because he really is growing up in a lot of ways.

Last night, he wanted to go out several times, and what he wanted each time was to go to the barn door where the kittens were playing around their mom.  At one point, he walked to about 20 feet away and simply laid down to watch.  In the past couple of weeks, the kittens have reached that very playful stage, and they are quite entertaining.  They are learning all those cute antics that go along with kitten-hood, and they are learning about their cat-skills.  They are a little impressed with themselves occasionally too.  And, Parker appears fully smitten.

NOTE:  The little black kitten was named Bubbles, for its effervescent personality, and before we found out that Bubbles was in fact, a boy.  <g>

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