Friday, 27 August 2021

The Daring Young Chip

Chip has continued to grow and thrive. He has even started to eat solid food. When not sleeping, he spends plenty of time play-fighting with Minnie. The two cats chase madly around the back yard and end up tumbling together, biting and clawing each other. It’s very rough play, but they enjoy it. It also seems to signify a subtle change in their relationship, as Minnie has now become more like a big sister than his protective mother. This does have its dangers.

Chip tries to follow Minnie wherever she goes. Our back yard has a four foot rear wall. Minnie can leap from the back garden to the top of the wall in one bound. Chip was stuck at the bottom, looking longingly upward. But later on we saw him following her along the parapet. We had no idea of how he got up there. The next day we waited and watched. Minnie jumped to the top of the wall. Chip bobbed his head for a while, as if sizing up the wall. He gathered himself and leapt at the pebble-dashed wall. We thought he would fall, but he managed to cling to the vertical face about halfway up. He was hanging onto the pebbled surface with his claws. Then he began to climb. He pushed one paw above his head, grasped the wall with his claw and pulled himself up. In a series of adept rock-climbing moves he reached the parapet, then ran across to the waiting Minnie. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t actually seen it.

But getting down from the top of the four-foot wall was a stiffer challenge. Minnie leapt down without any difficulty. She sat in the garden below and called to Chip to follow her. Chip stood on the parapet and looked down, bobbing his head. Minnie called him. But he turned back from the edge and wailed. We thought we should go and lift him down. Then Chip walked gingerly along the parapet, glancing over the edge from time to time. Near to the far end of the wall, he stopped and peered down. Minnie called him again. Chip launched himself from the top of the wall. He flew through the air like a ginger missile and hit the flagstones with a sickening thud. Minnie ran over to him. We did too. Chip got up, shook himself and bounced away.

It was an incredible leap for a small kitten. Minnie is four times the size of Chip. The equivalent leap for her would be from the apex of the roof of a bungalow. Minnie could probably do this if she really had to. But in order to keep up with her, young Chip is making this huge leap several times a day. Frankly, we are concerned that he might fracture a limb. So we have now put a large upturned cardboard box on the flagstones where he leapt down yesterday. We hope that Chip will use it to break his headlong dive.

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