Panther, True Tales V

Posted: December 27, 2016 in Panther, True Tales
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A Batman Villain Emerges

I took a slow and relaxed pace to waking up the next morning. I had turned my alarm off before I had gone to bed the previous night with the goal of allowing my body to awaken at its own pace. Its own pace, as it turned out, was about five minutes before my alarm would normally ring. This was normal for me, the typical morning involved hitting the snooze button a few times while I prepared myself mentally to go to a job I really didn’t want. My regular morning process was broken that morning by a fuzzy black face putting me through what had become our mutual morning routine.

Today’s morning greeting was an extended one. There were no pressing matters to attend to so I allowed Panther to determine when the wake-up procedure was complete and the day could begin. Panther was content to stretch out our morning ritual for half-an-hour, his eyes all but closed and a continuous purring rumbled from his chest as he focused on not missing a millimetre of my face with his chin. Once he was satisfied he hoped to the floor and I got up, our day had begun.

I filled his kibble bowl and topped off his water bowl. I left him crunching on his kibble and went to make some coffee and a breakfast. We were to have an entire day to get to know each other better. I had picked up some toys, some treats, and was eager to see what he liked. I was prepared to make my home into his home. I was going to watch him, learn where he liked to sleep, and rearrange the detritus of my life to suit his habits.

First on the agenda were the toys. I had picked up a package of realistic looking toy mice. I had also grabbed a wand with exchangeable ends; feathers, strings, stuff like that. There was also a variety of small balls I thought he might enjoy chasing around.

No interest was shown toward the small rubber balls. I rolled some toward him. I rolled some away from him. I rolled some across the front of him. They couldn’t grab his interest. He sat and watched them absently but made no move to chase or swat at them. Rubber balls didn’t appear to be his thing.

I unpacked one of the toy mice. These were some of the most realistic looking toys I had ever seen. The little fake rodents were covered in fur of natural colours and were an accurate size. They were infused with catnip to help entice feline interest. These seemed promising, they come in a pack of six which made them cheap enough that he could tear them apart as he willed it.

I tossed a mouse in his direction. My imagination had him pouncing on it, throwing it around, and chasing it all over the apartment. My imaginings couldn’t have been further from the reality. The mouse dropped to the carpet within paws’ reach in front of him. There was almost a look of disgust on his face as he glanced down at the toy now at his feet. He gently swiped at it before looking up at my face. The look on his face spoke volumes. “I am not a kitten,” he seemed to say, “I don’t play with toys.” He backed away from the toy and lay down on his side. His eyes never left mine.

Okay,” I said to him. “You have no interest in fake mice or rolling balls. What about feathers?”

I picked up the clump of feathers and attached the short chain to the wand. In this way I could dangle a collection of three feathers above him like a fishing lure. This allowed him to either chase it or jump at it depending on the height it was held at.

I dangled it above him, bouncing it up and down to make it seem more bird-like. Panther took a few halfhearted swings at it when it dropped down near him but wasn’t interested enough in it to rise up from his side. It looked like all the toys were a fail as far as he was concerned.

Do you want to try your treats?” We were on the floor at the edge of the kitchen, the treats were just a hop and a skip away. I had picked up some soft meaty treats and some Temptations. I already knew he liked Temptations, it was the soft treats I was curious about. They were of a higher quality, and a higher price, than the Temptations were. I was looking to spoil this cat with all the best options available for the modern feline in toys, treats, food and litter. The litter and the kibble had been successful, the toys a flop, but I was sure the treats would be a hit. The softness made them seem more like a piece of meat than kibble.

Panther tends to be rather set in his ways, stubborn really. He likes his treats to be of the crunchy variety. He has no hesitation about demanding treats when he feels he has earned them. He won’t accept anything he doesn’t like just to be polite. Raw, brutal honesty was what this cat believed in.

I placed four pieces of the treat on the floor in front of him. Panther took one sniff at the offering, turned his back to it and started miming the kicking of litter over it. Point taken, this was the type of stuff you buried in a litter box not the type of stuff you ate. By contrast the Temptations I gave him as a replacement disappeared almost as fast as they hit the floor.

We spent the afternoon exploring the high and low places within his domain. It was my desire to determine where he wanted to nap and make sure we had everything setup so he could do so easily.

My kitchen table is mostly just a storage platform. I had a handful of board games and various books that made the top of the table a permanent home. Panther found the stack of game boxes to fit his curled up body perfectly so I added some soft blankets to the top for his comfort. He could now lie on the stack and keep me company while I worked in the kitchen.

I have a case of cubbyholes standing up against a wall perpendicular to a window which overlooks the building’s parking lot. Panther discovered that he could sit atop the case at the end by the window and watch all the birds, rabbits and squirrels that played in the alley. There was a smaller curio shelf atop the cubbyhole case which was the perfect length and width for his to stretch out on. There was a raised lip at the front of the shelves that combined with the wall created almost a box-like setting. This allowed him to watch the going-ons outside while leisurely lying down if he chose. He would chitter away while he watched his prey, announcing to the apartment that he could most definitely catch them all if he was out there.

I had a glass topped coffee table with a mechanical dragon as its base in the living room. The top was a large enough oval surface that he could lie on his stomach and comfortably stretch his front and back legs out while still having plenty of space to shuffle around in. The glass surface was cool to the touch and made a wonderful surface to relax on.

In his room he found the wall of comic book boxes to be the right height for another bed. This bed was made out of the gym bag of laundry that I kept on top of the boxes. The bag of laundry was easily his favourite napping spot.

My roommate returned home that evening bearing a gift for the newest member of our household. He had brought home a mini-flashlight that displayed the bat signal. It was without a doubt the best toy Panther had ever seen in his life. He chased the symbol back and forth down the hallway, the speed and accuracy of his pouncing brought to mind doubts about his brain damage. Curious about how serious he was about catching the bat I flicked it onto a wall. He didn’t even slow he just hit the wall at a gallop and jumped to where the signal was displayed. The higher I moved it, the higher he jumped. He could jump from the floor to my shoulders. He showed no sign of tiring and let loose a grunt of annoyance when I turned the flashlight off for the night.

He was aggressively dedicated to his pursuit of the bat symbol. I realized as I drifted off to sleep that night that this fan of Batman had managed to adopt a Batman villain: the Panther.

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