Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Caution: Flying Kitties

We don't entertain often, which is a good thing. We need first to post a notice beside the kitchen: "Caution! Flying Kitties"

Our little darling kittens have learned not to climb or jump onto counters or tables, thanks to certain tools for behavior modification, which claim to be -- and are -- effective at discouraging cats from climbing onto or jumping onto counters and tables. These little aerosol cans, attached to motion sensors, respond to kitty encroachment in disallowed areas by spraying a mist. I'm not sure whether it's the mist or the hissing that works -- in any event, these devices are quite effective at eliminating two potential sources of kitchen contamination: kitty fur and unwashed paws.

Our intelligent twins quickly deduced that there are two kitchen surfaces they are allowed to use: "their" kitchen stool and -- although I must say I hadn't really considered this -- our bodies.

The cute little kittens aren't actually so little anymore.

One recent evening, I was standing at the kitchen stove, engrossed in the task of creating a smooth bechamel, carefully balancing the temperatures and flavors while daydreaming about traveling to far-distant lands to use the languages my homeschooling daughter and I are now studying -- idly wondering if we might put together a single, complete, and useful language from several smaller bits of French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Latin, German, Arabic, and the fourteen words of Urdu I once memorized -- when the kitchen lurched with an unexpected impact.

Suddenly and inexplicably, my sweater seemed thicker, heavier, and much pointier. Ouch! The deafening buzz-saw in my left ear gradually resolved into a familiar sensation -- the friendly, nuzzling bite of a proud little kitty -- all 15 pounds of her. She had evidently leaped high and soared far from her original perch to land sweetly spread-eagled across my back, claws considerately extended in order to ensure a stable landing.

Since the initial assault, the art of cooking has grown ever more challenging as during the intervening days Kitty Number Two -- heavier and far more solid -- has adopted this friendly and charming behavior.

Our once quiet kitchen has become a veritable playground for kitty aerobatics. Frankly, we're now afraid to turn our backs. My husband and I now routinely face each other for protection. ("Watch out!" -- WHUMP! Purr-rr-rr.)

Oh, but do visit us! You're welcome, any time! ... And if you happen to wander toward the kitchen, hmm, just be sure to travel in pairs.

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