I have had a run of kittens checking in to Notting Hills Finest Cat Hotel which has been heartwarming and exhausting in equal measures.
Coco and Gray a pair of 8 month old Ragdoll kittens arrive early one morning with a small entourage carrying their luggage. Coco whose eyes, ears and tail are the colour of chocolate is the more confident of the two and immediately starts climbing, cheek rubbing and sniffing objects. Gray is a little taken aback by his sudden change in circumstances and curling up underneath an armchair he watches his brother in silence. Before long Coco has learned to climb the complicated steps up to the platform bed nestled at the top of a tall ladder. Sometime later Gray comes out of hiding entranced by the electronic butterfly toy, fluttering enticingly, but it is immediately grasped by Coco and dragged off of the table.
At 4am Gray comes into his own chasing Coco around the apartment and spring boarding onto the giant cat scratching post. Landing at a right angle, he sinks his claws deep into the string before leaping onto Coco and wrestling him to the ground. Gray is also the pioneer when it comes to the balcony and loves to stand on the roof of the cat house and stare down at the street below. Coco prefers to stay indoors and steal all my pens, flipping them between his paws until he catches them in his mouth and carries them away. On the last day Gray manages to follow Coco up to the Kitty Cloud and they both sit proudly on the top steps surveying the room below.
The next guest is Micina and at 8 weeks old she is NHCC’s youngest and smallest guest. She is about the size of my hand and wears her finest tux, her paws and collar a soft white and her pretty green eyes nestled into a coat of black fur. Bouncing around with her tail upright, she stops to introduce herself to every object in the room before moving on. She finally freezes in front of the large window and I pick her up so she can get a better view. Micina wiggles out of my hands and after a few more bounces she collapses exhausted into my lap and falls fast asleep. 15 minutes later and she is awake again and ready for lunch.
At night I move Micina and all of her stuff into the bedroom. She curls up by my side and sleeps immediately. In the morning she greets me with the soft touch of her nose on mine, like the friendly handshake before a boxing match, then flattening her ears, arching her back and with her tail upright she bounces sideways into my hand and pounces on it. She strikes again before bouncing backwards and hiding behind a bump in the quilt. My hands and feet are the hunted and my bed Micina’s hunting ground. With a wiggle of her tiny bottom and her tail pointed high in the air the miniature cat lands on my arm in three bounces and wrestles it into the mattress.
Within days Micina has conquered a number of objects that seemed insurmountable when she arrived. The electronic butterfly that terrified her is no contest for Micina who now charges it and catches it between her tiny teeth. The large scratch post that she would claw at from the bottom, she is now scaling like a monkey up a palm tree and sits satisfied at the top. She curls her petite body into a round atop the post and is instantly asleep .
Batman is our fourth kitten to arrive this month. The three month old Ragdoll, like his namesake has a stripe of grey fur wrapped around his face like a mask. Also like the caped crusader he is intrepid, fearless, supremely curious and more than a little paranoid. On arrival he greets each new object with a mixture of surprise and suspicion before his attention is caught by something else. The large window stops him in his tracks and Batman hardly notices when I gather him in my arms and lift him up so he can get better look. He stares in wonder as the pavement, road, people and cars are revealed beneath him. Suddenly Batman becomes aware of my presence and slowly he turns his head to meet mine. His eyed grow wider and he stares at me for a full second before hopping out of my arms, landing upright on the floor and striding away.
Batman adjusts quickly, and he is affectionate, playful and sweet and like Micina, his life is a routine of eating, playing and sleeping. His favourite spot is the potted bamboo plant on the balcony and always ready for action, he curls his body around the stalks so he can view the apartment, the street below and the sky above with just the slightest move of his head.