Our newest member of the pod is a yellow tabby kitten. He thinks as most kittens do that Newfs are wonderful, soft and warm snuggle-buddies. Even Linus, the older heavily muscled protector of all cats, including the now frail (and no longer fat or hissy) Fat Black Cat, thinks that Banner is cat-friendly, or at least cat-safe.  Except that when Banner is outside, her wild-thing trigger pops.  Excitability is still her weakness, and she’s a bit of a thrill-seeker, even with bad knees!  Inside she can also cause cat-panic, although for the most part she is smitten and can’t believe that she can get so close to a CAT!

Banner reminds me of Banker when he was young.  He learned how to “accidentally” step on a cat tail or foot to get an exciting reaction.  Banner has learned about this too.  Most cats are surprisingly lenient in that they come back to the Newfs later.  Sylvia was less forgiving.  She was Jade’s bud, and she thought Parker was OK, but once in a while she would make a regretful mistake about which other black furry dog was outside.

Emily (terrier mix) on the other hand is read differently by the cats, with good reason.  Her mood swings range from the similar can’t-believe-I-can-get-that-close reaction when the cat is inside (and she’s in her crate) to a full-blown assault on all ears with crate-climbing and clamoring.  I try to keep her castanets trimmed, but it doesn’t take long for her to figure out how to make loud noise again.

At about 6 months, S’kerit is still a baby.  He spends days outside and comes inside for bedtime.  Except, like a Newf, when the snow came, he was fascinated, too fascinated to come inside!  He’s only missed bedtime on a few nights over the winter, and sometimes he comes inside during the morning for naps.  Whenever the construction people are here, he wants to come inside.  He doesn’t like noise, unless like Emily, he’s the one making the noise.  Today the cabin roof is being rebuilt, as the original builder cut some corners.  He has adjusted to the people doing the concrete work on the house, but this was new noise, so he sought the safety and comfort of his crib.

The cabin porch roof frame was built when the cabin was built, but the posts weren’t tall enough to install the frame.  It became one of those things that we intended to finish but didn’t.  Then we re-planned the garage for the house and there wasn’t room for a porch roof.  That’s right!  The garage is being built about 8’ in front of the cabin!

The cats think the concrete maze is a jungle gym for cats.  They like to hop onto the different walls, climb the mountain of earth and rock that was under the basement and walk the stem wall perimeter to survey their territory.  It’s a great place for a baby cat to prepare his attack of the Lion King.  Fortunately, this Lion King is very good-natured and very nurturing.  (and now neutered)  Another discovery point for S’kerit was the porch frame, leaning against the wall next to the bedroom.  There is a train track not far from us that runs from the center of town both directions, crossing the back of our farm.  When it passes, it can be felt and heard at the cabin, but that is nothing compared to the Cat of Thunder’s landing and running along that porch frame.  Even knowing what the sound is, it can still be startling.  How can one large baby cat make so much earthquake-rattling, booming noise!  He’s good morning shadow-art, too, well-profiled in the morning sun outside the bedroom window, behind the blind.

This morning the brave beast is taking his comfortable snooze inside his crate, in the company of two dogs.  When I put him in his crate, I scoop him up and cradle him on his back, then bend down to let him touch Banner.  He reaches those thick hairy paws down to pat her nose and knead the top of her head.  They’re both in heaven for a moment, then it’s time for naps.

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