Sunday, February 6, 2011

Leela (Part IV)

Though Leela's not as adorably cute as now as when she was a kitten, she still has lots of traits that we love about her. Our favorite is the snoring purr. In general she has a loud, rumbling purr, but when she's especially happy, the tone changes a bit and it sounds like a human snoring.

Leela is the queen of flopping over for pettings. If she likes you, she'll flop her belly up and ask for you to pet her. And if she's walking, you can just push her over and she'll auto flop. Oscar even picks her up by her tail and she'll relax all her muscles and flop.

I really wanted to declaw our cats. I'd had a declawed cat for a year growing up, and he could still climb trees in spite of his handicap. But Oscar was against it. Plus most damage by my cats is done with their back claws, and I wouldn't be willing to declaw the back claws as well. The vet said you should worry more about a cat's teeth than their claws anyway, but none of our cats has ever bitten anyone. In fact, you can stick your finger in their mouths as much as you'd like, and they won't bite down. They'll play bite if you tease them or pull their tails, but nothing that ever breaks the skin.

Leela is definitely the most easily scared of all the cats, which is likely due to her experiences as a stray before she was caught by the pound. Even as an adult my husband's electric toothbrush terrified her. She gave me some really nasty cuts, though she's usually extremely docile and doesn't object to being held. When Oscar turned on his new vibrating toothbrush while I was holding her, the sound completely spooked her. She jumped out of my arms and her back claws gave me one cut in particular that I thought might need stitches. But luckily it closed up and healed nicely, though you can see a tiny scar if you look close.

Leela loves to climb as high up as possible. We have an extra foam mattress from when we had a 2 bedroom apartment that slides sideways next to our washer dryer. She likes to climb up to the top of the mattress. I don't even think Fry could do it if he tried.

She also adores this little basket we got as part of a wedding gift. It was at the top of our closet in Bothell, which she would get to through a series of jumps from the built in shelves. She could sit in that little basket all day long, and did on the day we moved out. She's not as big of a fan of it now that it's not super high anymore, but she'll still squeeze into it occasionally.

And, taking her lead, Nibbler enjoys the basket too.

But Leela's favorite place to be is under the covers, either snuggled up under our arms or under our legs if we've got our knees up. She could stay there for hours on end. And she acts super cute and cuddly. She'll stay and paw and paw and paw. It doesn't break the skin, but when she has nails it hurts a bit.

Leela's not a hissy cat, but she certainly can hiss when she wants to. She'll hiss at strangers who chase her, at new cats (enemies), and at us when we trim her nails. One time she got caught by her nails in the DVR. She thrashed around trying to pull herself out, but since she wasn't moving up in the same direction the nails were curving, she was only hurting herself and having no success. I had to pull her out nail by nail, and she hissed about 10 times. But then loved me immediately after wards. At least she has a good excuse for her hissing and doesn't hold grudges.

As long as we've known her, Leela's had a tiny, kinked tail. Her tail is noticeably shorter than Fry or Nibbler's, and it has a very pronounced kink in its structure. A kitten care book we have says don't buy a kitten with a kinked tail since it's probably a sign of abuse and you'll get yourself into more trouble than it's worth. But the vet says she was probably born that way, the tail getting kinked inside the womb due to the position of all the kittens. In any case it doesn't bother her in the slightest, and I'm glad we got her or we would have missed out on a very affectionate little kitten.

She's extremely agile, and it's fun to watch her think through how she's going to get up to a certain height. She'll figure out her way up through a series of multiple jumps. She used to do that in our old closet all the time, so when we moved here she really wanted to get to the top of our current closet. But there's no way (except one time when I'd left some storage boxes piled up and before I even noticed her she was at the top of the closet). One time she actually got stuck on my clothes trying to jump up and not quite making it.

She's not always playful, but when she is she's by far the funniest. She's been known to do back flips to get what she wants. She might not be as playful now as she was as a kitten, but she still loves Oscar's belt. He once said "I can't take it now. She's enjoying it too much." She goes nuts over it. She also LOVES elastic. She finds it so amusing that it can keep stretching even while she's holding it down with her paw. And her new favorite toy is the wii nunchuck.

Both Fry and Leela are hilarious with catnip. She and Fry just drug it out. A bottle Oscar's mom sent for Christmas accidentally broke (we didn't even know catnip could be consumed. We thought it just got put in toys for them to smell), and then I saw them on their backs looking totally drugged.

Unfortunately Leela stopped being a lap cat after her first 6 months with us. I have no idea why, but she would go out of her way to avoid even walking on us. This really made me sad and I kept waiting for her to start lap sitting again. She continued to be adorable and curl up under our arms while we slept, but any attempt to put her on your body would result in immediate jumping off. But she can still be incredibly sweet. One time I was thinking about how much cuter my cats were when they were kittens, but then Leela decided to prove me wrong by curling up under my arms, cuddling sweetly, and purring like a Harley Davidson.

Instead of on us, Leela's favorite places to sit were on the cat perch donated by my sister. This picture is her on the only white Christmas we've had since I moved to Seattle.

And on the computer chair. This old one she's sitting on here got destroyed by the cats.

And for the cat you've all been waiting for, proceed on to Nibbler (Part V)

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