I'm sure you all remember that picture of a hairball I posted a few days ago to lampoon the various UCF Organizational Charts that were being created. The thing that brings me back to that is the fact that, with a hairball, it's really hard to find the end. I challenge you to indicate some point on it and say, "this is the front", or "this is the back side". It's a hairball. Pretty much the same all around.
Kittens, on the other hand, in spite of their resemblance to hairballs, have clearly delineated front ends and back ends. For you engineer-types, plumber-types, and flow-chart-making-types, the front end is the intake and the back end is outflow. Ingress and Egress...couldn't be easier. (The back end is also the end they choose to put in your face as often as possible. Pet a cat anywhere south of its shoulders and they have this instinct to present their hind-quarter.)
The next thing you'll discover about kittens is that knowing the difference between one end and the other is a fairly useless piece of information. Kittens are able to travel in all directions, change directions, and change orientation with such speed that they seem to be doing it all simultaneously. Kittens don't really have ends at all. They are Omni-endulous!
And guess what. They're sharp and pointy everywhere. They think we have tough leathery skin like they do and that we don't notice their lethal spikiness. As with many things, they're wrong about this. I'll admit that I'm only the victim of this kitty obliviousness about 10% as often as GF is, but at least, I can say I've experienced it and understand. You see, much like couples settle into who sleeps on which side of the bed, we have our own assigned spots on the couch. GF just happens to have the end of the couch closest to the window.
Now, granted, the kitties are big enough now that they can leap directly from the floor to the window sill, but when they discovered the window, they were about half the size they are now. At the time, it was really cute to watch them climb GF's back, make a leap to the arm of the couch, walk across the table and make the treacherous 8" leap to the window sill. It's not so cute anymore...because they do this at Warp Speed with all their pointy bits extended for added traction.
They don't seem to know their names yet. They think the word "No", screamed loudly, is just another endearment, proving that there's nothing they can do that doesn't make us love them more. I'm sure we'll be able to break them of this little piece of behavior, but I'm not sure we can do it before GF's back looks like Denzel Washington's back in that whipping scene from Glory. Clearly, that's not a good thing.
Yes, we have pointy, lethal, autonomous, light-speed hairballs in the house. Would it be animal cruelty to wrap them up in gaffer's tape? Wouldn't they be cute rolling around the house like it's an oversized pinball machine? I can even label them so we know which one's which. I'm pretty sure they'd learn their names in another two or three weeks, and I swear I'll leave little openings for the inflow and outflow.
Hey, it was just an idea!
That's how they get you. When they're tiny, those pointy ends aren't sharp enough or long enough to do much harm. And so they're oh-so-cute when they want to attack your feet or climb your legs or wrestle with your hand...
...and then, without warning... one day it really, really hurts and it's not nearly as cute. That is, it's still cute, but the cuteness is defeated by the pain and welts and cursing. And they just look at you with those eyes that are still, at that age, just a little bit too big for their heads, wondering why you're not as much fun as you used to be. Because, obviously, it's all your fault you no longer like being climbed on--you've changed, man. You've changed.
One last word of warning: that port you mistakenly listed as "intake" also serves as an output. Coincidentally, this sometimes also involves balls of hair; albeit soggy mooshy ones and not ones with sharp bits. Be aware.
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