Because the animals are mentioned on a regular basis, I figured it’s high time I introduced you nice and proper. (How rude of me.) Complete with their very first glamour shots by Deb,* here is each edition to Manny and I’s menagerie.
First, the Cats #thecats
Technically not the eldest, but having lived with us the longest, first comes Cheetoh, the dainty cat. She is 15 months old, tiny, and loves treats. She’s also an avid climber, hopping into (or whining to be lifted into) any cabinet that’s opened. Cheetoh got her name as a kitten, when Manny made a joke about how orange she was – he then spelled it with an “h” and it stuck (even though she’s now a blonde).
Fun fact: Cheetoh can run 50-feet up a tree in a matter of seconds, which she prefers to do at night. When headed outside after dark, we include a door “air lock” system, allowing only one back door to be open at a time, and ensuring that she’s behind both of them.
She only likes to play with toys, or her brother, when she thinks you aren’t looking. If she catches your eye, she’s suddenly very dirty and needs to bathe.
Next, Toga AKA Togey, an orange and white-spotted kitten. All of nine months old, he lives up to his little brother status. He wants to be wherever Cheetoh is, and doing whatever she does. He interrupts her bird hunts, hops onto laps as soon as she’s settled, and eats out of the same dish – even though the food’s the same.
Toga hates treats, and plops by the freezer – waiting for his “treat,” an ice cube, when he’s ready to play.
Fun fact: Toga has an incredibly loud purr – like stomach vibrating levels. A true nerd, I downloaded a decibel app to measure the sound – he’s only 10db under the Guinness Record.
It took Cheetoh several weeks to warm up to Toga (and by “warm up” I mean not injure him). Now they are BFFs and can regularly be found napping together –
although larger, Toga is usually the “little” spoon.
Next, the Chickens
With 8+ inches of snow on the ground, individual pictures have proven impossible. Mostly because the ladies have quarantined themselves to their coop.
Each three years old and having lived with us for about three months, these ladies love treats and rush at anyone walking to the house. They assume everyone carries chicken treats on their person, apparently.
Since we are such book nerds, each is named after a respective book character.
Esther, AKA “Long Eggs” is a frazzled chicken who squawks in confusion through most of her human encounters. She also lays incredibly long eggs – they don’t fit in even the tallest of egg cartons.
She’s named for the main character in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
Mercedès – The prettiest, largest, and smoothest feathered of the birds, she’s also the most shameless about treats. If she hasn’t been fed for several hours, she’ll wait at the back door to be first in line for snacks.
Her name comes from the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
Jane – or rather Plain Jane – is the calmest of the group. She blends in, she doesn’t misbehave, and she has no overly striking features in looks or personality. In the Arrested Development version of our pets, she’s the Ann.
She’s named after the title character in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
Scout – chicken leader and rowdiest of them all comes Scout. She questions authority, is always the last to comply, and tries to rally the others against us. Though to be fair, she did calm down after losing her tail – the neighbor’s dog bit it off in a terrifying display of feathers. It’s good she’s fast.
Scout’s name comes from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
*Of Napoleon Dynamite