It was last fall when I first brought Hunter and Crash home. I went to the rescue for one kitten to replace the 16-year-old cat I had lost, but was talked into a bonded pair. My friends, along with the shelter staff, convinced me I needed two. I worked long hours away from home. They would keep each other company.
I had forgotten how cute but troublesome kittens can be. Wait, what’s that noise? The rumbling sound of horses hooves on the stairs, followed by two flashes of fur racing through the living room at top speed. Hunter chasing Crash? Crash chasing Hunter? It’s a toss up.
When I first brought them home, Crash the grey tabby was bold and not afraid. He hid, but within 15 minutes was checking out me and the new digs. Skittish little Hunter just disappeared. I frantically searched everywhere in the house, finding him hours later curled up in the bottom of a black bookcase. Black cat in a black bookcase…invisible until I spied those scared little amber eyes staring at me.
Worried that maybe Hunter wouldn’t adjust to this new home, I locked him and his brother in my bedroom for a few days, hoping a smaller space would make them feel more comfortable.
Watching television in bed that night, Crash, the grey tabby, was all over me, purring, laying next to me. Hunter hid under the bed. Then suddenly, as if he’d had an epiphany that this old broad might not be so bad, Hunter jumped on the bed, climbed into my lap, and purred. Score! He’s been my shadow ever since.
While Crash is bold and crazy, Hunter is timid yet curious. I’m glad cats have nine lives because I’m sure Hunter will use every one of them. While Crash is entertaining with his antics, Hunter is needy and always in trouble. It’s a cat-tastrophe everywhere Hunter goes.
When I turn on the printer, for example, curious Hunter rushes to watch the paper mysterious emerge from the noisy machine. When it’s finished, he paws at it, trying to get the paper inside. One day, he stuck his paw in so far it got stuck.
Or there’s the time when I heard thumping and a cat crying from the kitchen. There was Crash meowing and staring at the refrigerator. Not unusual for my fat tiger tabby who lives to eat. The thumping started again from somewhere near the fridge. Was Hunter in the fridge? No, he had jump off a counter landing down behind the refrigerator and was stuck. Not hurt, just had no way to get out of his predicament. I had to pull out the refrigerator to release the furry monster. And it’s not just the refrigerator, I also had to build a barrier so he can’t get behind the stove.
Once in the middle of the night I heard what sounded like a catfight on the stairs. Screeching, hissing. Definitely not cats playing. And the kittens were no where to be found. I finally located Crash hiding in the attic closet, scared out of his mind. It wasn’t like fearless Crash to be so afraid.
Now I was really worried, because I couldn’t find Hunter anywhere. I figured it had to be an altercation with some critter that may have wandered into the house. What else would make Crash so scared? Was Hunter hiding somewhere, wounded, dying? My mind went to all the dark places a mind goes when you can’t find your kids.
After checking every room several times, I headed back to the bedroom. There was Hunter, now on my bed, looking helpless and scared with a blue plastic grocery bag stuck around his neck. Luckily it was not choking him, but it was wrapped so tightly I had to cut it off.
The best I can surmise is that Crash, who was wondering what the hell was around his brother’s neck, went to check it out. Hunter, scared because of his predicament, lashed out at his brother in fear. Crash was terrified that his brother had attacked him, probably wondering if he was Abel and his brother Cain. It took several hours before Crash was comfortable around Hunter again.
I have a grand baby arriving soon, so we’ve been assembling lots baby stuff– a crib, bassinet, stroller. With each project, Hunter has been right in the thick of it, supervising, sniffing every screw and piece, even trying to sit in the crib while we were assembling it. We’ve tripped over him, dropped parts on him, even accidentally locked him in the baby’s room, but he still comes back, more curious than ever.
I had wanted another black cat like old Salem, the 16-year-old cat I’d just lost. He was my baby, my cuddle bunny, who insisted in sleeping with my arms wrapped around him at night. Be careful what you wish for.
Hunter is Salem 2.0. Not only does he sleep with me, but if I don’t move so he can position himself on my pillow, he stands over me, howling in my ear. I’ve never owned a more talkative cat. He meows to announce that he’s entered the room and meows when he leaves. He meows when he’s bored. He meows when he wants attention, which is pretty much all the time. And he trills and coos, making sounds like a bird. Go figure.
When his brother steals his favorite sleeping spot, he comes to me when I’m working on the computer, caterwauling until I pick him up and hold him in my arms, where he falls asleep. Spoiled much?
So my days in COVID-19 lock-down have been reduced to watching Hunter’s cat-tastrophes, saving him from peril, and spoiling the soft little bugger, while Crash is content bringing me his toys to throw. Two litter mates, two opposite personalities.
I figure Hunter has used at least four of his nine lives, and he just turned one-year-old last week. Well, I’d like to write more, but Hunter is calling me. Must be time for his evening cuddle. I am no longer master of my universe. I’m coming Hunter…!