Sunday 8 July 2012

The cat who could fly

This is Archie. At one-an-a-half years of age and he is the newest member of our family, having come to us from the good folks at the Katie's Place cat shelter last year. It goes without saying he's been a lively and entertaining addition.

Archie is a very interesting guy for several reasons:
  • He's an unusual colour. A bit of Internet research revealed that it's called "fawn" - a dilute brown/grey which, depending on the light, can take on a reddish undertone or even a lavender hue. It's quite remarkable. However, while his colouring is that of fawn, his temperament is anything but that of a timid forest creature.
  • Archie and Rupert "playing", back when
    Rupert still had a size/weight advantage.
  • He's a confident little character. He greets human guests, bosses his elder buddy Rupert around, and even torments the dog sometimes. Perhaps because he's a "teenager", he views the world as his oyster and is quite confident that he's invincible. 
  • He is the most athletic cat I've known. I suspect his heritage includes Siamese or some other exotic breed because of his long-limbed build and loooooong fluffy tail that he waives like a flag. He can climb just about anywhere and leap great distances with fairly good precision.
Archie's traits makes things a wee bit challenging at my house where cats live indoors and do not roam free. I'm a stickler about this for several reasons: indoor cats live much longer lives without the hazards of being run over by a car or eaten by a coyote, or facing a range of diseases and minor injuries; they don't irritate the neighbours by pooping in their gardens (something I personally don't enjoy dealing with); and they don't kill songbirds whose numbers are shrinking for variety of reasons, free-roaming domestic cat populations being one of them. However, containing a lively, athletic, fearless young cat has proved to be daunting.

"Toy mice are for babies! Let me at the real thing!!"

Archie has demonstrated that sometimes cats can fly. My cats have access to the second floor sundeck to bask in the sun, birdwatch (not catch) and enjoy the sights and smells of the big, wide world. No previous cat has had the will or expertise to move beyond this limitation. Then came Archie! From the time he was a tiny kitten he scrambled from the sundeck up onto the roof via a handy grape arbour, doing an acrobatic act as he precariously navigated the arbour's narrow beams. When he was about eight months old, I discovered him roaming around outside the house a couple of times. I was mystified. Then one day I witnessed him leap from the sundeck, spread his little body out in the shape of a parachute, and glide gracefully to the ground. My neighbour saw it too: his comment was "wow"! Unharmed, Archie greeted me cheerfully when I ran to scoop him up.

My sundeck now resembles a large bird cage. Wire mesh is installed strategically to contain the little feline, who rather than being named Archie should have been Houdini or maybe Orville or Wilbur (as in the famous flying Wright brothers). I am hoping this fortification is a temporary measure and that as Archie becomes older, fatter, and hopefully lazier, the mesh barrier can be reduced if not eliminated. But for the time being, my reluctant housecat has been more-or-less contained (he still gives me the slip occasionally) and is learning to live within the limitations of the household.

Archie at rest. Life as a housecat isn't so bad.
I find it interesting that Archie has not yet found his way into my artwork. Perhaps it's because his personality is still developing or because his colour is elusive and difficult to pinpoint, or maybe because he's often zooming past me too quickly for the eye to see. However, I was inspired while writing this to draw a little doodle of Archie, the Amazing Flying Cat.


  1. Great doodle, Deb!

    I bet Archie wished that he had that personalized magic flying cape on last Friday while the rest of us were outside and he watched from his perch on the second floor, inside the screened window. He was doing his absolute best to escape and "fly".....thank goodness he didn't! He is such a character.


  2. Too funny - Archie the flying wondercat! I love the first and third photo of him - there is a softness to his fur and watchfulness in his big eyes that makes the photo come alive - I swear I can here him meow.
    Allie says she would like your giant birdcage sundeck - she is very jealous.

  3. Deborah spotted your art on another site and stopped to visit your blog. Love your pet portraits - I am a pet lover as well. Archie is gorgeous - love the one laying on his back. Thanks for making me smile.