Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thunder Paws: How he told us his name

As she stands on the front porch, the kitten squirms to escape the grasp of the adoring Nabysko.

I had naturally assumed that Nabysko had wanted the kitten to have as a friend. Shortly after we arrived home, I turned the two loose in the yard and was soon shocked when I saw her place the kitten in a stewpot - Nabysko wanted to boil the poor little critter! She wanted kitten soup for dinner!

“Nabysko!” I shouted, horrified.

The kitten escapes, and dashes under the porch.

Nabysko searches, but cannot find the kitten.

I needn’t have worried. As the kitten would prove again and again, he was a thinking cat - thoughtful, analytical and resourceful. He analyzed the situation, thought up a solution and took action. A quick leap sent him soaring out of the stewpot to safety and freedom (see photos from Thunder Paws, part 1).

There's the kitten!

How the kitten loved his freedom! How he loved to explore, to see new things - bugs, grass, butterflies, rotting logs and hopping frogs! He studied all that surrounded him and he learned from what he saw.

Fire Kracker and the kitten walk together.

Deep into bright, sunlit, evening, the kitten roamed, sprung, pounced, and contemplated, exploring the lawn-free Kracker yard as Nabysko followed gleefully behind. Once, as she pedaled her tiny bike, the two charged straight at each other in a daring game of chicken, and, were it not for the quick application of brakes and paws, would surely have collided head-on.

Rye sneaks up on the happy kitten.

Each of the older children came home in turn and all were delighted to see the kitten. Rye picked him up and used him for a tommy gun. Sometimes dragging a string, sometimes not, Fire trotted across the yard as kitten, his tail held high, pounced at his heels.

Rye snatces up the kitten and uses it as a tommy gun.

“Oh, cute!” exclaimed Tryskuit, who had just come home from the ice rink, euphoric at having landed her first axle. She snatched the kitten gently from the ground to pet and stroke him. At some point, squirt guns and bottles mysteriously appeared and then the kitten found himself cradled precariously in Nabysko’s protective grasp as the battle raged around him. Blasts of water zinged through the air.

The kitten tries to take a shoelace away from Fire.

Toast Ed alone was not happy to see the kitten. Toast Ed was upset that I had let Nabysko bring it home. “What’s this going to do to Kaboodle?” he accused me. “Kaboodle is not going to like this at all. I doubt this kitten will ever be half the cat that Kaboodle is.”

Reader, remember these words spoken by a bitter Toast Ed! See what turn history will take!

The orange and white kitten walks toward me.

As for the Whole Kitten, Kaboodle, he was terribly distressed and even bitter with me for inviting this silly little creature into our home. After discovering the kitten, he followed me as I walked around the house. With each step, he “mowred,” growled, griped and complained angrily.

When we reached the place in the back yard where the green canoe lay overturned, he jumped up on it and gave me a swat with open claws.

The kitten walks on a log.

“Kaboodle!” I scolded, as I placed my hand down firmly on the back of his neck. “Don’t you ever do that!” Kaboodle jumped off the canoe, and bound away straight into the woods, where he disappeared. Dummy! When it came to cats, even Kaboodle, whom I had now known for over ten months, I still had so much to learn.

I felt sick inside. I feared that none of us would ever see Kaboodle again. Yet, the great frolic between the kitten and the Kracker children, the angry Toast Ed excluded, continued unabated.

The kitten walks away from me.

Even here, in Wasilla, Alaska, where the night sky of late spring holds no darkness but glows through the midnight hour with a sweet, lovely, softness of light, energetic kittens and rambunctious little girls grow tired, and must come inside to sleep. So, come the light of night, Nabysko found herself overwhelmed both with drowsiness and with affection for the orange and white kitten. “I love my pretty kitten,” she cooed. “I want him to sleep with me.”

Nabysko and the kitten almost collide.

The two settled down in the bunk below Tryskuit (who, for what you can see was a most troubling reason, had gone to bed without Kaboodle). I lingered to tell the girls a true, made-up-on-the-spot-cat-story and as I did, the kitten dozed off. When the story ended, I reassured the girls that Kaboodle would be okay and that he would come home as soon as he had a chance to contemplate and understand the situation. I then stepped softly out of the room and gently closed the door behind me.

Nabysko protects the kitten as a squirtgun battle rages.

As I settled down into bed alongside Sunflower, I heard the surprisingly loud thud of kitten paws suddenly strike the floor in the next bedroom. This was followed by the furious scratching of tiny claws against the door, and by a tiny, constant, pleading, meowing. I then heard the sound of Nabysko’s feet as they tromped across the floor to the door, then tromped back to her bed.

Rye drives Nabysko away from the kitten with his squirtgun.

It was then quiet for maybe a minute, then once again, kitten paws struck the floor and the whole process repeated itself. This happened several times, until finally I heard the door to the girl’s bedroom open into the hallway. I then heard the sound of kitty paws dash into the hall as the girls’ bedroom door closed behind them. I heard the groggy footsteps of Nabysko as she plodded back to her bed, there to sleep devoid of the company of the kitten.
After going into the house, the kitten wants to go back out again.

Throughout the night, my sleep was disrupted not only by the worry I felt for Kaboodle, but also by a sound like galloping thunder as the kitten raced up and down the hallway as it’s tiny, dainty, paws pounded the floor. It sounded as though a thunder storm raged right in our hallway!

The next morning, I stepped into the hall to see the kitten thundering straight toward me. He braked at my feet, greeted me with a trill, then twisted his head all the way upside down, an action that caused his body to flip over with it. From beneath white, pink-bottom-padded, upturned paws, the kitten gazed up with bright, sweet, blue eyes into my bleary brown ones. 

“You have Thunder Paws!” I groggily gripped.

Sleepy though both may be after a hard day's frolic, Nabysko and the kitten bathe in each other's love. Nabysko wants the kitten to sleep with her, but, on this night, her desire is not to be.

Thunder Paws.

And so he was named.


Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Isn't it odd how the smallest of them is always the one that sounds like a herd of elefants running up and down the hall, the steps, your bed...

ZOOLATRY said...

Another wonderful story, and more wonderful photos... what a joy it is to visit here.

Parker said...

We loved that story. We play THoE here as well!

Standtall said...


Daisy said...

I love the Thundering Herd of Elephant game! It is a special trick to make paws sound loud as can be.

The Island Cats said...

That was a wonderful story about how Thunder Paws got his name...and the photos are terrific!

MaoMao said...

What a great bloggie you have! We Ballicai are happy to meet you.

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao!

Eric and Flynn said...

We loved that story of how Thunder Paws got his name. Our humans once had a cat whose real name was Marmi, but very soon became known as Thunder Feet for the same reason. He used to catch mice and if he didn't eat them at the time, bring them indoors to eat later. Very often they were not dead, just stunned, and in the middle of the night he would wake them up thundering around on the wooden floor trying to catch them again.

Grahamn Kracker said...

zss: And also so amazing how the same creature can later come upon you in absolute silence.

Zoolatry: Thanks you. I hope you visit often. Sorry that I get so busy sometimes that I delay my posts, don' answer comments, and fail to visit around the way I like to,

Parker: What a handsome cat you are.

Standtall: yea for Molly! Hope she quits running around, soon.

Daisy - Sometime, you should let us know it is done.

Thank you, Island cat. It would be nice if all the cats and I could come to the island. Actually, they probably would not be happy about.

MaoMao - Those kitty hugs and purrs sure feel good!

Thunder Paws was known to do things like that, too! Usually, though, he ate them right away.Our mice are shrews. Little tiny mice that love the north.

Margaret Cloud said...

I like your saga of "Thunder Paws", it is so interesting. Probably the reason he was so restless is he may not have ever been in a house before, can't wait to read more.