Thug was not supposed to be a permanent resident here, but for all practical purposes the Purring Death has moved in. There are little hints that give it away, like being here pretty much every night, and every morning, and sleeping the day away on the bed. He would be on the sofa, I am sure, but the lounge door is shut, with a cat-flap for the others to get in and out – Thug hasn’t learned cat-flaps. Yet.
The real clincher, is greeting him with hello Thuggles...
Oatmeal is not happy, Piper is afraid but has worked out that Thug doesn’t understand cat-flaps, and Ginge is just plain pissed about the whole thing. I’m retaining the title of Purring Death for the moment, but Thug has calmed down and only chases Piper because Piper runs away. Of course Piper runs because Thug is a monster that put him at the vet over and over again. It makes for a mutually reinforcing conditioned response.
Thug turns up, comes in through the window (which is open because Piper and Ginge like it that way), has a munch from every bowl he can find, and then just waits for one of his newly-adopted people to do what every cat expects: unquestioning and endless worship.
There is a theory that cats rub against hands because they see that as an approximation to another cat’s face. Thug actively intercepts hands, jumps up to reach, and generally makes it clear that his love and attention requirements are not impossible to meet, just very, very challenging. Hours of dedication are required.
Thug also knows that people have faces too, just out of reach, so the hand business will have to do... most of the time. Of course, after working-hours, when the people are enjoying their down-time, faces are accessible. Just sit on the chest and look down. If only we could teach him to look but not touch.
The night-time routine is variable – Thug drops by as and when it suits – but there are certain constant features. Sit on my chest – check; stick cold, wet nose on mine and shove like I need a touch of rhinoplasty – check; snuffle around in my beard and claim it for all Thug-kind – check. When faces are accessible, Thug is having none of this pretending that a human hand might be another cat.
Then there is the night-time special. It works better during heavy rain, because nothing says here I am like sitting on your people, cold and dripping wet. The way it goes is like this...
First, stretch out in that cosy valley in the duvet between my people. Roll around a bit (especially when wet) and then reach, hook claws in that beard thing, and then pull – either the beard gets closer, or I slide up the bed. Whatever. Now, roll around some more, really get those claws tangled in and nibble. There’s a nice bit of cheek just there, or how about sinking teeth into the chin... nothing too serious, no drawing blood... I just ate... I think it was cat... again.
As Thug gets into the swing, so to speak, I get my hands in there to stop him. Thug has shown himself quite capable of getting carried away. And once he’s at the beard, there’s the wonderful trick of working his front paws under my chin, finding my throat and easing the claws out...
Thug is no longer truly the Purring Death. He is a monster, an adorable and adoring monster. And when he wants something, Thug is more than a little bit in your face.