Every once in a while, we receive a message from someone going something like this:
Hi Wonder Pens! I’m from (Montreal/Denmark/somewhere far away) and I’m so excited to visit your shop! I’ve been following your (blog/instagram/social media)for ___ years, and I can’t wait to see all the beautiful (inks/fountain pens/Japanese leather). I just want to know, will Chicken be there when I come?
Aside from my hurt feelings that no one wants to see me, the answer to this question is, alas, Chicken has a mind of his own.
You can all Super, and 100% of the time, he will come, and you can tell him to go in the apartment or the bathroom or the warehouse and he will go. You can call Chicken, offering food and making affectionate noises, wander throughout the shop and warehouse, looking under cardboard boxes and behind notebooks, and he will completely ignore you, probably watching you and not evening deigning to laugh. You will find him 4 hours later, casually licking himself behind the Traveler’s Notebooks.
Chicken, who is far and away the least friendly creature here, is definitely the most popular. He is the most photographed, most requested, and more adored thing we have in the shop.
In any case, I thought it might be time for an update on our little prince.
He continues on, exactly as before.
He’s gotten a little bigger since our last update, when he was a year old. Chicken is not a “large” cat as far as cats go, but now that he’s an adult-sized cat, he has become slightly more disruptive.
Interesting things that he does:
- He is very stripey
- His tail has a personality of his own. It’s particularly interesting when you can sense his tail is antagonizing him.
Annoying things that he does:
- Walking/sauntering along the organized ink cartridges, sending them all just slightly askew.
- Leaping onto tables in the shop and sliding across the notebooks, spilling them onto the floor.
- Napping on top of the fridge and then leaping down in front of you as you’re just trying to get some apple juice.
- Meowing from on top of the fridge on the days he decides it’s too high to leap off of.
- Climbing on top of your laptop and pressing all the keys.
- Sleeping on top of the blankets at night, and then randomly awakening to bite your toes at 3 am.
- Jumping onto the kitchen counter and attempting to eat food.**
- Attacking the curtains.
- Jumping up on our slightly wobbly sample table when someone is making samples. There’s only been one real disaster, but even one or two knocked over samples is a real pain.
On the plus side, it turns out Chicken is slowly warming up to his role as shop cat (about time). Really, I only think he’s gotten used to the idea that there will be strangers in the shop who will give him affection and attention, and he now struts across the shop to lithely jump up on the pen counter and stroll back and forth in front of unsuspecting customers. He usually gets one of two reactions: “oh my goodness, Chicken!” or “ugh!” Most of the time, he gets a good rub, and our staff can’t tell if they should continue on with pen conversation, or leave the cat alone to get his undivided attention.
I notice this in particular because Chicken is surprisingly anti-stranger in our apartment. With friends coming over, but in particular with contractors, he does this weird hunched over fast-walking around. It’s pretty funny and slightly pathetic when he fast-creeps to the closet but it’s closed (I mean, can’t have people seeing what’s in there), and then he fast-creeps to under the desk or lurks behind the dishwasher.
Chicken is nocturnal, like most cats, and he’s definitely most active in the evening and at night. After the babies have gone to sleep, he follows into the shop for packing or restocking or just examining the things that now make up my life. He’s a great companion, actually, since Super is usually just snoozing on the couch. When I water the plants, Chicken follows along and sniffs the plants, or if I’m doing something with stock on tables, he jumps up and rubs himself against me for affection.
He also spends his late nights hunting and attacking small toys left strewn on the floor, pieces of packaging and dust balls, scampering and sliding and occasionally crashing into the wall. Caleb has a dreidel he got from his preschool from last Hannukah that he and Chicken are both weirdly into, considering Caleb doesn’t have the fine motor skills to have actually spun it even once, and its whole purpose is to spin. I hide this thing in Caleb’s toy cart all the time, but it always winds up on the floor through some three year old’s hands, being both swatted and then chased by a cat.
Chicken is both extremely agile and extremely not agile, depending on how the chips fall. Just as it’s my role to take care of the baby at night, it’s Jon’s to take care of Chicken, and there have been a few nights Chicken has been relegated to the warehouse.
Here’s Chicken at night, silently coming up in the dark, and before my eyes can adjust to his ninja presence, his face is there like some feline Predator.
We got Caleb a stuffed dog for his birthday last year, and normally the stuffed dog stays in Caleb’s bed, but every once in a while, it makes its way out. I have been tricked a surprising number of times by this lifeless mammal on the floor, thinking it was Chicken, suffering some sort of fit of paralysis. Also potentially more nefarious dangers.
In any case, Chicken is doing just fine. Knocking over plants, leaving paw prints on notebooks, attacking Super. He’s turning two this year, and he’s supposed to calm down over the next year or two – I can’t tell if I’m looking forward to that or not.
*A long time ago, I broached the idea of Jon writing a monthly blog post called “Jon’s Corner.” Every now again I bring it up, usually when I’m in a blog funk and have no ideas and need some help desperately, and he’s always balked at the thought of his own column, and so I’ve given the title to the cat. As a bonus, it doesn’t sound half bad with the alliteration.
**Actually sometimes this is a bit funny because you can see Super, pathetically on the floor, looking up at the cat, and wondering about how this world works.