Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bloody LILcat

Gossamer the Editor Cat is in his Big, Burly Cat phase of the year right now.

He’s still the smallest cat I’ve ever had, and at two and a half years of age I don’t expect to see his frame growing any more, but he has a seasonal shift in apparent bulk I’m getting to know now that he’s not a baby anymore. Like many animals, his coat changes with the seasons, and this winter it is as thick as I have ever seen it.

Goss’s fur is already the most luxurious I’ve ever known (in addition to being magical, and even obtaining analgesic properties; snuggling with him is literally good for what ails ya, I tell you), but with winter thickening he’s impossibly lustrous to touch. He has the appearance of jowls, his face is so full, and when he keeps warm, as cats do, by retracting all appendages just a bit closer to his trunk, it gives him a wonderful, Churchhillian kind of presence. When he’s settled on his tum, tail curled round and all legs and paws pulled in under his body, head haughtily back on his shoulders, he’s the perfect little loaf of puddy, and it’s all I can do sometimes not to scoop him and pet him and love him and squeeze him (though I fall short of naming him George).

In summer, though, his fur’s fineness is more trim and closer to his skin, and his posture elongates generally as his body stops conservng warmth, and Goss has a more athletic appearance.

The body itself, though – underneath all this rich, chinchilla, sweet-smelling coat – doesn’t change to speak of. Whatever his apparent size, his actual build isn’t any heavier nor thicker right now than it was in June. It’s all just design features I find cute and fascinating.

With his little bloody toe the other day, I’ve actually been thinking about animals’ fur a bit. It is, in my experience, pretty rare to see an animal bleed. Now, me – being the graceful swan I decidedly am not – I cut myself or get hangnails or whatever pretty regularly, and bleeding is not unusual in my life. When you are the sort of nit who uses hands for hammers and feet for battering rams, and you’re frankly uncoordinated to boot, these things will happen.

I also happen to lack fur to protect my skin.

Apart from the whiteness of his sneaker-feet, this is what struck me so about Goss’s having a little bloody toe the other day. He and Pen NEVER bleed. I’m sure I’ve never seen him bleed, ever, and cannot recall any injury with Penelope that ever violated the integrity of her skin.

And Penelope, brain as scary-fast and smart as hers is, is the mirror of her momma, for sheer, exuberant clumsiness sometimes. (Oh, sure, in unfettered motion, running and leaping, she’s truly magnificent, a veritable springbok in my own backyard – but, in the confines of a house with slippy floors, and plagued by her highly physical response to the slightest impulse of urgency, my girl is a menace to herself and others.)

They’re both protected by the miracle of their wonderful, pettable fur.

Pen’s coat has always arrested my attention; she is perhaps the smoothest animal I’ve ever seen – her color is so beautifully blended and her short coat so extremely thick, I literally have no idea what color her skin is except on her face (when it gets wet, her fur becomes translucent, and I can see the black face underneath) and the relatively exposed area of her tum. Where her black skin gives way is her mystery, and I”ll never shave her bare just to find out. :)

The fur on the top of Pen’s head has the most perfect nap I’ve ever seen; you can look down into the thickness of it, every hair parallel and apparently straight as velvet pile, into the shadows down to that warm skin.

Goss’s coat, especially on his well-groomed head, is like a pearl. I’ve said before, he’s almost so soft you can’t even feel his fur, but his color and his health add the visual lustre. Pen has a head like a beet, like a light bulb – but Gossamer has a head like a pearl. Their recent habit, of Pen licking the water off his head when he’s been playing in the drip from the tub, kills me with cuteness. And, when she’s outside and he pops up with his little diamond-wet headbone dappled with droplets, the fur is as smooth as a duck’s back, and the droplets sit up, intact, like he’s been Simonized.

I’m glad the little ones don’t seem to indulge the dis-imperviousness I demonstrate all too regularly, and that even a weensy drop of blood on Goss’s ped is unexpected. I’m even glad they don’t get bed-head like their mom (seriously, this recent haircut I indulged – still unfortunate, left unmanaged!). As adorable and ca-yoot and all that as they are, I still honestly admire the remarkable animals they are, and am grateful they’ve consented to let me take care of ‘em both.

And that Goss’s magical fur works for me sometimes better than aspirin. And that he lets me snuggle and snoodle him and call him adorable and ca-yoot, even though he is a Big, Burly Winter Cat.

Life ain’t half bad, with other heartbeats in the house.


Colin Smith said...

I take it you never found out how Goss sustained his injury?

Our Sam is possibly the klutziest cat I've ever known. He runs--no galumfs--with back legs splayed. His jumps are a little less than graceful. And when he eats his Iams, he gets almost as much on the floor as in his mouth.

But he's the best lap cat of all our feline companions. And darned cute with it. :)

DLM said...

He never did tell me, I'm just glad he's okay. Gossamer is the nimblest, most delicately balanced animal I've ever known; he's smooth and silent, it's wonderful to watch him jump. And darned cute with it, too!