Currently Watching: "Insomnia." Bill and I just caught this at the Arlington Drafthouse last week. It gets the Insomniaville seal of approval -- I found it almost as gripping as "Memento." Maybe even more so if you consider that "Insomnia" gets its story across without the use of gimmicky plot construction. (Not to knock "Memento", which I also loved.)

Other than that, we've been watching a kitten. See main entry.






















The Entry of Much Schmoop.

Sasha, the newest and cutest member of the Nicole/Bill household.

Say hello to Sasha, the newest and tiniest member of the Nicole/Bill family.

On Saturday, Bill and I went out to Herndon to run some errands; some of my relatives were coming to see the house for the first time the next day and we had Saturday all taken up with buying food at Trader Joe's and gifts at Reston Town Center before going home to clean, clean, clean. We stopped for lunch at Hard Times Cafe and I asked "Do we need anything from Fox Mill Pets?" a little too innocently. We buy most of our non-prescription cat food there, but we also like to gawk at the animals they sometimes offer for adoption. They almost always have puppies and guinea pigs and bunnies. Sometimes, but not always, they have cats.

We walked down to the pet store after lunch, and before I even got inside I could see that people were standing in front of the cat cage and making cutesy-wootsie faces. When I got closer, I saw why: there were two adorable kittens inside. At first, I focused on the beautiful Himalayan kitten, a ball of soft white fur with blue eyes and gray points who seemed somewhat like the dainty and ladylike type of cat I missed dearly. But then I got a closer look at her cage mate; I bent down and saw a buff-colored fluffball with a perfect miniature Rascal face peering back at me. She looked dejected when we took the Himalayan out of the cage first. When the clerk put the Himalayan back too close to her on their little cage shelf, she hauled off and clobbered her. "Hmm. She's feisty and she can defend herself. That wouldn't be a bad quality to have with two big cat brothers around," I thought.

And so, after an extended round of "Should we or shouldn't we and if we should which one should we?", the little buff-colored kitten came home with us. I named her Sasha before we even left the store; seeing figure skater Sasha Cohen at the Olympics this year had already gotten me thinking that Sasha would be a cute name for a girl cat. Sasha the kitten squirmed out of my arms in our truck and tunneled under some boxes in the back seat, yowling all the way home.

I felt a little guilty about dropping the "new kitten" bomb on an unsuspecting Rascal and Mindy. They've bonded a little bit since Cleo died; they were never buddy-buddy but they seemed to play together more and to want to be around each other. And now I was about to upset the delicate peace all over again.

We put Sasha down and I held Rascal in my arms on the floor so he and the kitten could check each other out safely. Sasha trotted right over to him and started nudging her head under his chin, as if she thought he was her mother. I was just about to Awwww when suddenly Rascal let out a gale-force Death Hiss of the Apocalypse that nearly blew the poor kitten across the room. Mindy observed from a safe distance with a worried look that said "What is that? And is it going to beat me up?"

Oh well.

Rascal glaring at Sasha on the staircase.

On Saturday night, Sasha ponders how to get past Rascal the level boss, who isn't about to share his upstairs with this impudent little upstart. It's cute that she let him think he had a choice in the matter.

I've read time and again about How To Introduce A New Kitten to a household: seclude her in her own room and don't let the other cats see her for a couple of days; rub towels all over her head and let the other cats sniff them to get used to her scent; introduce them gradually for the safety of everyone concerned.

Yeah. Right. Sasha had her own ideas. She trotted around checking everything out, visibly delighted to not be inside her smelly cage in the pet store any longer. She held her ground during several instances of Rascal hissing at her and making threatening chatter in her general direction. The only things she didn't seem terribly sure about were the two humans in her new living space; she'd dash off if we got too close to her. Despite that, she stretched out under our bed that night to sleep. Since she was close by, we didn't see any point to secluding her.

sasha playing

We have lots of store-bought cat toys strewn around the house. The cats? They prefer strips of packing cord.

By the next day, she'd shaken off her skittishness around us. She happily trotted downstairs after Mindy for the morning meal and nudged up against my hand when I called her. She put on quite a show for my family, playing and dashing around and letting out insistent mews in her piercing baby voice. And by Sunday night, I found her stretched out on my pillow next to Bill and purring when I went to bed. Hey. That's my spot, dammit.

The one thing she hasn't done yet is win over Rascal completely, although it's incredible that he actually allows her to sleep on our bed. He makes a show of burying his nose in her fur and sniffing as if he's trying to pick the cleanest place to start biting the hell out of her, but if she holds still and doesn't fight back and doesn't budge, he gets disgusted and gives up. I don't know how much longer that's going to last.

sasha going for rascal's tail.

Stunts like this one don't help her case with him. She's in the phase where she thinks anything dangling loose is a toy for her to smack. He isn't amused. But on the whole, I'm impressed at how well he and Mindy have taken to this newcomer on their turf. And I'm amazed at how quickly she's made the place and this family her own.

The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville...

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