Genghis And Houdini
     In June 2002, a stray cat started paying us daily visits. He took over our porch like some conquering emperor, so we started calling him Genghis Khat as a joke, and the name stuck. He'd be Genghis for as long as we knew him. We fed him, brushed out as much of the "stuff" (loose fur, burrs, dirt, grass, and other debris) out of his coat as we could, and gave him a place to sleep. After less than two weeks, he disappeared. We feared the worst, but kept looking for him for a few more weeks. Three months later, we noticed him our neighbor's window. We went over to talk to our neighbors, and found out that he'd been visiting them in June as well, and that one day, he came to their place with a hole in his tail, which was also broken. They took him in, got his tail fixed, got him fixed, and turned him into an indoor cat. He seemed happy, but the cat that our neighbors already had wasn't. Genghis was far more playful than she was, and basically terrorized her, so we were asked if we would want to take Genghis in and give him a new home. We were ecstatic, and Genghis moved in with us on Saturday, September 21st.
     Genghis is skittish, playful, and very loving when he wants to be. He's very independent, but frequently tells us that he appreciates and cares about us. He's slow to warm up to new people, and runs to hide under the dresser when he feels threaned. On the other hand, he makes sure our home is free of crickets, or at least living ones.
     Cheryl was going to be starting work soon, and Genghis is a very active cat, so we thought it would make sense to get him a companion. We wanted a kitten, but one that wasn't so young and defenseless that Genghis would rip him to shreds, so we went to a local humane society adoption fair. We met an adorable 5 month old kitten (born 4/25/02) that seemed like a perfect fit. We were told that he was very active and playful, and got along well with other cats. We brought him home on Tuesday, Oct 1st, and after a brief introduction, (Genghis did not like the idea of someone intruding on his territory!), we put the kitten into a separate room, and only let him out when we could keep a close eye on the two, to make sure the kitten remained in one piece. Unfortunately, every time we opened the door to that room to go in, the kitten would deftly escape his confines, no matter how carefully we tried to squeeze through the doorway without leaving room. With escape skills like those, it seemed clear that this kitten would be named Houdini. After a few short weeks, Genghis and Houdini were getting along really well, and while they haven't yet (as of 10/20/02) been very affectionate towards each other, they play with each other a lot, and have at least once slept on the same side of the couch.
     Houdini sleeps a lot, is very playful (and hyper), and is very loving. He kneads everything with his front paws - the floor, the couch, the air, my face, etc. He's also very curious, and immediately likes everyone he meets. In other words, he's a pretty typical tabby kitten who has never had to live on his own.

I've taken countless pictures of the two cats, and I've chosen a few that I thought were most worth showing here. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image (larger images are scaled down to fit into a 640x480 box):
Genghis Sleeping
Genghis, sleeping peacefully on our couch.
Genghis Sleeping
Genghis, sleeping, baring his belly. Obviously, he feels safer here than he did in the wild.
Genghis baring his teeth in his sleep
His teeth are almost always out, even when he's sleeping.
Genghis walking upside-down
"Wow, this back scratcher is fun!"
Before we got Houdini, Genghis used to lie upside-down under our futon and walk along the bottom with his claws. It's bad for the mattress, but we thought it was hilarious.
Genghis, ready to pounce
Genghis is staring at the blue feather, planning his attack.
Genghis Pouncing
Mere milliseconds before Genghis lands on the blue feather and claims his victory.
Genghis meets a pumpkin
"Is it friendly? Dangerous?"
Genghis paws a pumpkin to determine if it's dangerous or not. Since it's not, he starts swatting it and biting the stem.
Genghis Sleeping
Genghis has decided that my computer chair is his, so I have to use Cheryl's. Of course, sometimes Cheryl's computer chair is his, too.
Houdini Sleeping
Houdini relaxes in the cat house/structure in our living room.
Houdini Sleeping
Houdini, kneading in the air while sleeping.
Houdini Sleeping
"Rub my belly!"
Houdini seems to want me to rub his belly, even though he's sound asleep. He was sleeping in this position for 15 minutes or so, not stretching in his sleep.
Houdini Sleeping
"I love my mom"
Houdini cuddles up with Cheryl and falls asleep.
Houdini Poses for the camera
"I'm ready for my close up!"
Houdini looks into the camera and poses for his glamour shot.
Houdini and the scratching board
"Scratch? Nah, I'll just rest here"
Houdini and Genghis both scratch at this, but they also find it comfortable to just sit on.
Houdini Jumps for the feather
Houdini is hyper when he plays. If the feather arcs over him, he leaps and flips in the air to catch it. Our friend Danielle entertains Houdini while I try (and fail) to capture him in mid-flip.
Hide and Swat
"Let's play!"
Genghis is in Houdini's small teepee, waiting for Houdini. Upon his arrival, Genghis greets him with paws and teeth.
Letting their guard down
Genghis has finally figured out that Houdini isn't all that bad, and falls asleep next to him.
Almost cuddling
Genghis and Houdini, as affectionate as I've seen them, sleeping right next to each other. The sound of the camera briefly makes Genghis half-opem his eyes.

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Copyright © 2002 Erik Harris.