Why I think Vazra is insane

Since rescuing Vazra just last August from a life in the wild, I’ve noticed the cat demonstrates a few signs of possible… er… um… probable mental damage.

He’s fascinated with the bathtub…  It’s not as though he gets in it to do his bathroom duty.  No, that’s not the case at all.  He gets in it and plays.  Oh, how he plays.  He runs from one end to the other, spins in circles (more on that in a moment), chases anything—from a tuft of fur to a shadow to the drain (the drain!?!?).  He runs under and around the shower curtain.  He leaps in and out and in and out.  It’s terribly entertaining to watch.  Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to grab the camera when all this hoopla is taking place.  Mind you, it almost always occurs in the mornings and evenings while I’m brushing my teeth and tending to other personal care activities.  One of these days…

He loves to spin in circles…  I at first thought he was chasing his tail a lot (which he does; more on that shortly).  However, I watched him closely and finally realized he’s just spinning in circles.  I now call it his “happy dance” because he’s always in an excited mood when he does it.  He calls out gleefully, sometimes with a bit of mischief in his voice, whenever he starts spinning.  The odd thing is that he almost always spins to the left—rarely to the right.  This goes along with his tendency to hold his head cocked to the left all the time.  I know it’s meaningful that both habits turn to the left; I don’t think it’s anything to worry about… at least not yet.

He chases his tail…  Although this is not news to me, this morning offered a rather entertaining episode.  He doesn’t chase his tail all the time.  When he does, though, it’s all sorts of fun.  So this morning he leaped into the bathtub and did a bit of the happy dance, did some running to and fro, and did some excited talking.  Then he sat at one end with wide eyes and a playful look on his face.  Because he was backed against one side of the tub, his tail was pushed up in an arc that left it laying to his side.  In his excitement, he kept wagging his tail happily—and that caught his attention.  His eyes turned completely black as he focused on this moving object resting beside him.  Each time it moved, his head bobbed up and down with it, a sign he was tracking it intently.  And then he jumped at it.  Would you be surprised to know it got away from him?  It even sneaked in behind him, almost as if it were laughing at him, toying with him in a way.  So he gave chase again, and it again escaped.  This happened several times before he got smart and finally caught it in a last-ditch effort to reclaim his cathood (a feline should never let prey get the upper hand).  I laughed so hard it made my sides hurt.

He gets overjoyed after using the cat box…  Vazra’s a bit finicky when it comes to the cat boxes.  If there’s been too much activity in one of them, he won’t use it.  Since there are four and they’re cleaned each day, this is not a problem.  But his after-toilet reaction is far more entertaining than his sometimes methodical search for the just-right litter box.  One he’s tended to his duties and carefully seen to it that all traces have been covered, he springs from the box and runs through the house, caterwauls a few times with unbridled joy, then spins in circles a few times.  It’s like an adolescent being potty trained who has, for the first time, successfully used the bathroom and feels the event worthy of praise.  I told Jenny once that watching him do this makes me think he’s just discovered cold fusion.  He’s simply overwhelmed with his accomplishment.  Or quite relieved to have the unpleasant business taken care of.

He talks a lot…  All of the cats talk.  There’s no denying that.  In this sense, Vazra is no different, although not having grown up with us means he learned it from someone else.  I’m grateful for that.  I enjoy having all the felines openly vocalize and communicate in that manner.  It’s a good thing.  I am still learning all of his vocabulary, though.  Boy, but can he can blabber with the best of ’em.  He knows how to ask for things, how to say he’s upset or unhappy—or downright pissed off, how to proclaim his excitement, and the list goes on.  His vernacular is robust, and he certainly isn’t shy about using it.

He digs…  Okay, perhaps saying he digs is a bit of a misnomer considering there’s nothing in the house he can actually dig in, but he paws at everything.  When it’s time to take a nap or go to bed, he paws where he intends to lie until he’s certain it’s perfectly manhandled.  On the carpet or couch or even the bed, this accomplishes little.  That doesn’t change anything.  He’s gonna smack around his spot until he’s sure it’ll stay put, doesn’t have any lumps, and is situated correctly.  This can last for a few swipes or can go on ad nauseam.  I’ve yet to figure out the idiosyncrasies of what determines the amount of groping and molesting a spot needs before it’s ready for occupation.  Perhaps in time.

He’s a flopper…  Kako is a flopper as well, so this is not unusual here at Crazies R Us.  But Vazra, like Kako, sometimes gives the act of lying down a new connotation, one of broken legs and loss of control.  It’s like the act itself is too tedious for serious thought, so once a position and spot are decided upon, the legs flip out from underneath him and down he goes.  There have been times in bed when he does it and I sit up abruptly to make sure everything’s alright.

He opens doors, although not always with a plan…  As I explained some time ago, Kazon taught the other cats how to work doors, especially cabinet doors, and gaining entrance to blocked locales is one of his specialties (I’m constantly amazed at how he gets into things I considered secure).  Vazra did not learn this from Kazon like the others, however, as he joined us with the ability already honed.  But Vazra doesn’t always have a plan when he opens doors.  In fact, there are times when I think he’s suddenly confused by what’s become accessible when he’s holding a door open.  He’ll peer inside, give it a few good sniffs, glance about with some confusion on his face, and eventually let the door go and walk away as though he needs to ponder the possibilities before making a decision.  He’ll sometimes stand for a minute or more with a door held open with one paw as he looks inside, looks around, and repeats.

Needless to say, Vazra is as crazy as the rest of The Kids.  And like the others, he shares in some communal insanities while harboring a few personal flavors that are unique only to him.  I guess he found the right person to rescue him.

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