The kittens are one year old today. None of our other cats have had birthdays. We must have known the date the Maine Coons were born because it must have been somewhere on their pedigree papers, but we never knew exactly when any of our other cats were born. We don't even know for sure which year Our Ginger was born, since he gradually moved in with us as a grown cat, and our first splendid black cat came from an RSPCA rescue centre. But the kittens came with a note from the kitten rescue place giving details of the worm treatment they'd received, and stating that they were born on 2 March. It seemed too mean to celebrate their birthday when Our Ginger didn't have one, so from now on 2 March is his official birthday.
On Tuesday I roasted a chicken, so that yesterday I could boil the carcass and today they could have bits of cold boiled chicken for lunch. The remaining flesh always seems pretty mere to me after it's been simmered for stock for eight hours, but cats love it. I sang Happy Birthday to them as they ate it, but they ignored me. The Systems Administrator laughed.
Now they are a year old they are officially cats according to the Channel 5 Secret Life of Kittens. I have told them that they are supposed to be sensible from now on. The recent episode in which a pair of binoculars that had got left on the sitting room window sill behind the curtain was swept to the floor and broke should be the last of its kind (keeping binoculars on the window sill is not especially odd when the main thing you want them for is to look at birds out of the window). I expect to be able to leave paper handkerchief boxes the right way up without coming downstairs in the morning and finding that somebody has excavated all the hankies out of it.
They will probably be known as the kittens, or at least the kitties, for a while yet because we need a collective term that excludes Our Ginger when discussing acts of feline vandalism that he had nothing to do with. Our Ginger has been too sensible to destroy any binoculars or boxes of tissues for a long while now. I must admit that, birthday notwithstanding, I am not holding my breath in the expectation that The Artists Formerly Known as Kittens are about to become sober and upstanding citizens, and did not celebrate their anniversary by unpacking the china that's been safely tucked away in a box in the spare bedroom since they were let out of the study.
They have turned into lovely cats, even if the odd thing does still get broken. Mr Cool has grown into a big beast, with long elegant legs and tail like an engraving by Eric Ravilious. Mr Fluffy is immensely sweet-natured, purrs as soon as you pick him up every time, even if he wasn't asking to be picked up and you have interrupted him in the middle of doing something else, and washes his brothers and Our Ginger zealously. Mr Fidget bounces relentlessly, in and out of the cat door and round and round the room when all the others are quietly snoozing. He might prod one of them to try and get a reaction. He can't sit still long enough to sit in a lap, barely manages to stop wriggling long enough to be picked up, and has no sense of time passing so he wanders off just before mealtimes, but he likes human company and hangs around with us. Mr Cool has an impressive grasp of time. He goes out as soon as he has had his breakfast, but will come strolling in at ten to twelve for his lunch at noon, and at five to four for his tea.
Roll the clock back to June last year, when Mr Fluffy kept hissing at us after trying to hide from us along with Mr Fidget inside the fitted bookcases, while Mr Cool was mute with misery and wouldn't purr or venture on to our laps at all for three or four weeks, and Our Ginger howled and tried to escape each time he was shown the interlopers, and you see that things have come on a long way. And Our Ginger finally has a birthday.