Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Catblogger


My kitten is terrified of my new duvet booties. Well, technically she is neither a kitten nor mine. She joined our rather ramshackle family back in May when the Patient Partner completed his doctorate. Hence, her name is Jacques Monod.

(A few weeks ago one of my favorite friends was visiting, and we explained the name, and then noted that she really was attached to the PP. "Wait," my friend said, "Jacques Monod is a she?" But of course!)

For those of you who are not biochemists, Jacques Monod did many things, including win a Nobel Prize, but for the purposes of this story, his most important accomplishment was crafting the equation that was the centerpiece of the PP's dissertation.

[The PP notes: the statement of the equation to which I have linked would drive his dissertation director batty. What they call the "half velocity constant" is really not a constant. No, no, no. It varies from one compound to another, and so would better be termed the "half-velocity coefficient." Thank you very much.]

And our little Jacques Monod does many things, too, but we are pretty certain she's not going to win any prizes for them.

She climbs the screen door to let us know when she wants to come in. Correction: she only does that as a second step, after she is certain that bodyslamming the door has not worked.

She is an ace rebounder, with her little foam golfballs, which she can catch in midair with both paws. I am working on teaching her the alley oop, but she seems quickly to be exiting her learning years.

She follows the other cats around, and sticks her face in their face, or up their ass, and it is hard to tell which one they like less.

She climbs trees, but then does not know what to do when her momentum runs out and she is only four vertical feet from the ground.

She does windsprints up and down the hallway in the morning, and then leaps up on the bed and puts her face in the PP's face.

Sometimes when I am feeling goofy I put my face up in the PP's face, and he says, "You're getting all Jacques Monodish," by which I do not think he means I am going to win a Nobel Prize either.

But now she is afraid of my new fab slippers. At first I thought it was the sound, because she was sitting on my desk on Sunday night, and then looked a little freaked out, and when I slipped my be-slippered foot along the wall, making perhaps a slightly high pitched scratching sound, she launched herself vertically, then diagonally, then horizontally, disrupting the numerous contents of my desk.

But now I think maybe it is the smell, because she was sleeping sweetly on the bed, and when I came up to her and petted her and called her Baby Faroukh, she was very sweet for a while, and then started to look besieged, and then looked at my feet and twitched her little gray tornado nose and then got up, stretched, and bolted.

This is the first thing that Jacques Monod has ever been afraid of. She is not afraid of either of our cats, or of either of my parents' cats, despite their impressive names, Scylla and Charybdis. She is not afraid of rain or thunder. And, she would like to point out, she is not afraid of the coffeegrinder either, even though she sprints down the hall when it startles her. But the booties? They are another matter entirely, a veritable mystery, here in the furious household.

When you meet Jacques Monod, do not call her Jacques or Monod. She is like Charlie Brown, always gets the full name. You may call her Baby Jacques Monod, but probably only for another few months, because she is already strong and edgy enough that she does not much care for being scooped up and carried around like the bitty baby that she will always be. You might choose to sing to her: "The lovable, huggable Jacques Monod. She's Jacques Monod to you," but she will not dance with you, unless you scoop her up first and then hold on tight--and watch out for the razor claws.

6 comments:

Brumaire said...

Those booties look like they would be good for a moonwalk.

Are your booties silver, like the picture? I find that my never-fearless feline is terrified of anything metallic -- though I must admit I have not tested her with my silver sandals and this behavior is most evident when step ladders and ironing boards are carried about and opened and closed.

From your blog I feel like I can almost picture Jacques Monod -- can't imagine her markings, but I can see her movement out of the corner of my eye.

I'd forgotten the names of your parents' cats. Scylla and Charybdis. What incredible names!

Brumaire said...

Those booties look like they would be good for a moonwalk.

Are your booties silver, like the picture? I find that my never-fearless feline is terrified of anything metallic -- though I must admit I have not tested her with my silver sandals and this behavior is most evident when step ladders and ironing boards are carried about and opened and closed.

From your blog I feel like I can almost picture Jacques Monod -- can't imagine her markings, but I can see her movement out of the corner of my eye.

I'd forgotten the names of your parents' cats. Scylla and Charybdis. What incredible names!

Isis said...

Hi Brumaire,

Funny you should say that about the moonwalk: I often pantomime same to the PP when I am walking around in them. I usually add little sounds that sound more like Godzilla walking around, but still.

You know, the booties are Carolina blue (not that they did any good when I wore them during the ACC tourny game v. GA Tech...).

I will send you a picture of JM. She is a hoot.

Brumaire said...

Sorry I posted twice... I came back today to post that comment because the other day Blogger told me it had failed... twice. *sigh*

Look forward to the picture of the kitty!

Corinna said...

I came upon your cat story -- which I find delightful -- after googling, because yesterday night (GMT+1) a friend at dinner pretended that Jacques Monod had written a book about cats. Nor did Fran├žois Jacob. I cannot imagine with whom she got him mixed up.

I just lost my cat, a month ago -- I mean, he died.

Isis said...

Hi Corinna, Thanks for your note. I am sorry to hear about your kitty--they are like family. No, they are family.