Friday, June 27, 2008
Communing with Kittens
There are three little kittens in this brick house.
One slave kitten and 2 feline kittens.
We haven’t lost our mittens.
We found each other.
Or rather, I found the other two.
Of course, to be precise, none of us are kittens exactly. Putting aside the issue of species, I’m well beyond what could be called a kitten. But such is the magic of a pair of creative minds when one of them is brilliant and manipulative and the other is embarrassingly suggestive, that not only do I often feel somewhere in the vicinity of being feline, I quite often enough feel ridiculously young.
As for the felines, I learned from somewhere that being fully domesticated puts cats into a sort of extended childhood, and their adopted human becomes the mother they would normally have left long ago. So they live in a suspended animation of kittenhood, in addition to being my ownly children (I like that typo – “ownly” - so will leave it as if it were a deliberate portmanteau word) and therefore eternally my babies.
Being a slave kitten in addition to their adoring mother, I observe them closely. They amuse me and delight me, and their snuggly presence is of especial comfort given the protracted absences of my owner and lover, my master and best friend. I observe them for amusement, and also in hopes of learning.
I had hoped to illustrate this essay with a picture of Ketzel in her “Look How Cute I Am” pose. But in truth, Ketzel cute is Ketzel in motion. She is the embodiment of squirm. The first Yiddish word I taught N, my old housemate cum friend, was shpilkes. My mother always defined it as having ants in your pants. My friend the eminent Yiddishist says it comes from the Slavic; the same word also means “pin” in Polish, which makes complete sense. Ketzel indeed has shpilkes. Oh, she’ll sit in the same spot for hours, seemingly sleeping but always aware of everything around her. I could swear that inside, her little mind is going click-click-click. She is the alpha kitty after all, and is responsible for keeping the house running smoothly – or at least according to her definition. She keeps Marko in line and does her best to protect our little plot of land from cats and squirrels and bunnies and birds who dare to cross the border. This despite being confined to the house and having such a clear sense of boundaries that she treats the door frame as if it were one of those invisible dog fences. Deer, she doesn’t argue with. A pair of deer once entered our little suburban yard and she watched with saucer eyes and drank of their beauty and grace as they pruned the tree and executed balletic leaps back and forth across the chain link fence that separates me from my boring boy neighbors.
But ah… Ketzel being cute. She cocks her head to one side and says “love me.” Once, as a very young thing, she tilted her head so far that she fell over. N and I laughed our heads off as she struggled to regain her dignity. She lies down on the carpet, rolls over on her back, tucks her little paws up under her chain and says “adore me.” One would think she wants her belly rubbed, but it is all a ruse. Come close and she will pop up, make her cute face, rub against the coffee table, beg to be groomed, and then refuse to hold still for it.
She’s a shameless flirt, my little girl. She just might get that from me. But I’m no alpha kitten. I have to control my flirting. I certainly can’t throw myself on the floor and proffer my naked belly to anyone who walks in the door.
She may get her shpilkes from me, too. I admit that I have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time. This is an interesting weakness for the fucktoy of a sadist with a penchant for bondage – not to mention having to hold still for a caning without the comforting restraint of ropes.
Ketzel demands attention, but she never begs. She presents herself for love and she never doubts she will get it. She is a princess and it is her due.
Marko, on the other hand, is just needy. Even as a baby, he always had that worried look, as if he were never quite sure the dream wasn’t going to end. It’s rather sad, in a way, how he almost desperately walks all over me and lies tight against me, begging for the security of my love. Which of course I give him. Maybe I should remember this, when I worry that the philosopher will walk away from me for being too needy.
And then I think again of Ketzel. For, in fact, her actions are basically the same as those of her fearful brother. But the sparkle and self-conscious cuteness with which she performs them are both endearing and reassuring. She wants my love and attention but has no doubt that she can survive perfectly well without them. She has me exquisitely trained, offering her love and displaying her cuteness as both a lure to play with her and a reward for feeding her. She looks like she is begging, but I suspect it is all for show, the crumbs of dignity she tosses to allow me to save face. Marko is not the only one over whom she rules.
It’s not a new idea, in BDSM. In the end, who owns whom? Who is the master and who the slave?
The philosopher claims to hold the leash in his hand. But we are both prisoners, and we smile and we snuggle in the cell that we share.