Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celebrating the Birth of a Nix-Nootz

When Amadeus became a permanent resident of Ruttville last summer, he had only been a resident of the planet for four weeks.  He was a bonus in the transaction that brought his "older brother" Edison to my home; the feline equivalent of the untested prospect tossed into fulfill the "player to be named later" provision in a baseball trade:  While in the process of adopting Edison, I mentioned that I wanted to find a second cat as well, so that they would keep each other company while I was at work.  The folks I was adopting Edison from mentioned having another kitten they needed to place, and soon sent me the picture to the right.  Who could say no to that face?

Though not as immediately apparent from his appearance as Edison, Amadeus is also part Siamese, on his mother's side. As he has grown, the most telling feature giving that away is his apple-shaped head. It was never fully clear what breed his father brought to the mix. There's some tiger tabby in there for sure, but it would not surprise me to learn that there is more than a little feral cat in Amadeus' heritage.  From nearly day one, he has been the wilder of the two.  Where Edison seems to carefully plan out his activities throughout the day and remains mostly calm and aloof, Amadeus tears willy-nilly around the house climbing shelves, knocking things over, occasionally misjudging jumps.  You can almost watch him get an idea in his head to do something and immediately race off to do it, without benefit of the filter Edison employs to at least briefly consider the ramifications of his actions.

Amadeus is the one of the pair who has actually drawn blood from me - twice! Neither time was on purpose; in both cases he was flying around the house at top speed.  The first time, he was chasing his brother around. I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and suddenly they were both charging directly towards me.   Edison made a last-minute course correction and dashed under the coffee table, but Amadeus couldn't stop himself.  Instead, he used my arm as a runaway truck ramp, and, in his attempt to slow down, gave me a nice little scratch to remember the occasion. The other time, he was sitting on my lap when my brother came by the house to visit.  My brother's arrival on the porch just outside the window by the sofa startled Amadeus, who tried to take off running just as I was trying to pick him up and set him on the floor.  One of his back claws caught my lower lip, and a mildly gory scene resulted.

These events gave Amadeus one of his many nicknames, Slasher.  His previous owners hadn't named him yet, but early on called him Hot Rod; my father bestowed the title of Ricochet Cat to him for his tendency to go top speed until he hit a wall or other dead end, then bounce off that to another apparently random direction.  But it was my mother who gave him the most fitting nickname: Nix-Nootz.  It's a Pennsylvania Dutch term for a mischievous child who is always getting himself into trouble, often despite himself.  Not a bad kid, but one who can't seem to help himself from having a little devious fun when the opportunity presents itself.  And that, in a nutshell, is Amadeus.

He climbs to the highest perches he can find, and then hollers because he cannot figure out how to get back down.  He starts fights with his brother and finds himself pinned to the ground and on the receiving end of warning nip or two.  He's a bit of a thief, known to jump up on the table and snatch a paper towel or napkin and take off running with it, only for me to find it later shredded into confetti in the upstairs hall. He makes people laugh out loud with his antics.

But for all his craziness, he is one of the most loving cats I've ever known.  He throws himself bodily against me and rolls over on his back to have his belly scratched, purring so loudly you can hear him across the room; he always returns the favor by licking my arm. He curls up on top of me or in the crook of my arm to go to sleep, and usually waits until I have fallen asleep myself to leave.  He usually comes running when his name is called, hoping for at least a chin scritch.  He will engage in conversation, mewing responses to whatever I am saying.

Amadeus and Edison have grown into two cats with very distinct personalities, but I am so glad to have them both in my world.  As I've mentioned before, I know the positive effect they have had on my life; friends and family have also commented that I seem much happier having them around.  And now they have each passed the 365-day mark.

Happy Birthday, little Nix-Nootz.  Here's to celebrating many more of them for both you and your brother!