14. Butter paws
Trigger and I often play ball in the hallway. He is really good at it and loves doing it. I roll the ball down the hall and he ambushes it from one of the doorways, often with great skill and acrobatic style. On rare occasions he misses one.
"Butter paws!" I said as the ball went right under him. He looked back between his legs.
Tigger sniffed his paws and licked them. "There isn't any butter on my paws." he said.
"It's just another figure of speech. People say that when other people drop something, they usually say 'butter fingers' to the one that dropped something."
"But I don't have fingers.... uh... never mind. Besides, I just wasn't ready for it."
"Oh. Sorry. I usually ask if you are ready but I didn't that time did I?"
"No, you didn't." he said as he groomed his paws, getting them ready for the next ball.
I rolled another ball and he pounced on it with a flip and rolled hard into the wall. He got up and shook his head and walked slowly back to the doorway to be ready for another.
"Tigger! It's only a game. Don't kill yourself. You keep throwing yourself into the wall. I don't want you to hurt yourself."
"Don't worry about me. Besides, it is more than just a game to me. It helps me learn to catch things because I need to be a good hunter." he said as he continued to shake his head and rubbed his head with a paw. All of a sudden he noticed movement behind himself and attacked the offending thing... his own tail. Noticing it was his own tail he switched to grooming it for a moment as if nothing had happened. Finally he was ready for me to pass him another ball.
"What do you mean you need to be a good hunter? You don't have to hunt for your food do you?"
"Not yet. You make sure I have plenty to eat but one never knows... I may need to hunt some time. Besides, it's fun pretending that I'm hunting."
I rolled another ball and he made another spectacular stop and continued to wrestle with it as though it were a prey item and he was about to dine. He finally left it and sauntered back to an ambush place for the next one. We continued for quite some time until he had run out of steam. He headed for his bed as the nap attack followed close on his heels. He slept for about three hours.
Eventually he woke up and went through the usual routine of stretching, yawning and grooming. Eventually he noticed that I was watching and became self-conscious.
"What? What are you looking at?" he asked.
"Oh, just watching you wake up. You are cute when you sleep and when you are waking up."
"Cute? Cute? You think I am cute? I'm a boy cat! I am not cute!" he exclaimed.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to insult you but I love to watch you sleep and wake up. Maybe 'cute' isn't the best choice of words but... " I just couldn't think of a better word to use.
He gave me a dirty look and occupied himself grooming. Suddenly that strange tail caught his eye again and he attacked it with more vigor than usual, probably mad about being called 'cute'. As soon as he discovered it was his own he switched to grooming it as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
"What say we go for a walk in the yard?" I suggested.
"OK. Do I have to wear that stupid harness?"
"Sorry, I'm afraid so." I said. I got the towel and the harness. I put the towel around his neck like a bib and worked the harness on him. With the towel on he lets me do it but without it he fights like mad.
"Here we go!" I said as we went out the door.
He chased the lead and occasionally got distracted by crickets, wasps, bees and other bugs. He tried to use all of his skills honed in the hall chasing balls to catch the insects. He still needs more work.
I had the idea of helping him with games in the yard. I had put one of his balls in my pocket before we finished the game in the hall. I took it out and tossed it for him. He bounded after it with gusto. I picked it up and tossed it into the air and intended to catch it and throw it for him again. Something he did distracted me just enough to make me fumble it and drop it.
He regarded me with utter disdain and said "Butter paws... uh... fingers..."