On Recreational Biting: A Ket Story

Ket One’s and Ket Two’s personalities are completely different. Ket Two is not all that interested in biting. You have to get him really worked up and even then his heart’s just not in it. His talent lies more in perfectly aimed droplets of room temperature drool. He delivers his feline serum with half closed eyes and a smile on his face. Sometimes enough is collected to actually drip from the corner of his mouth. For the most part these land somewhere on my sleeve, but from time to time are bestowed upon my bare arm. Recently, while warmly snuggled in bed one morning, he, parking on my chest with his face in mine, oozed forth perfectly aimed drop onto my right eyelid. It was plentiful. It was generous. Wiping it with the back of my hand was not enough to cleanse my face of the slime so I sprung out of bed into the icy-floored bathroom and pushed my face into a faucet full of cold water. Exhilarating! Most of the time, though, he pushes his salivary fluids onto my cheek and nose, toothily marking me as his own. I am flattered, truly.

Cat slime is actually cultivated in some regions.

But you didn’t come here for the saliva, you came here for the bites. Ket One is much more reserved in her declarations of love. She will thank you for your worship with an occasional purr or curl up in your lap when she requires your warmth and you will be grateful. She’s got a nice vocabulary of bites and many of them express love. There are so many nuances in each chomp that it’s taken a good five years to interpret their meaning. For example, if she’s in your lap purring, wet-nosing, it’s between 11am and 3pm, and she nips at your arm, she’s saying, “Feed me that moist, meaty goodness from a can, my pink, fleshy servant!” If she’s being carried in your arms with a look of incredulity at being held and she delivers a firm but quick bite, she’s declaring, “I can transport myself much more efficiently of my own accord, you half-witted ape. You have affronted me!” This is akin to a slap across the cheek from a white kid glove. (Har – she has white gloves.)

Plotting someone’s demise.

However, these are not the bites she’s known and revered for. Recreational bites occur when she’s playing a game of chase with you. These are also wet-food driven. Actually, 95% of her waking activities are in the name of steering me to the fridge to get her her daily serving of wet food. These frequent bites, fortunately, are delivered to the air and are usually accompanied by a swat (also to the air) in a deadly but cute duet of movement. The routine begins with a feral pacing on the back of the couch. If a human midsection is nearby she will brush past you with a full body rub from her chin to the tip of the longest tail I’ve ever seen. Oh and the spitting! She spits! It’s a light, breathy hack, like the sound you’d make if you were trying to dislodge the firm, springy skin of a popcorn kernel stuck in your throat. She’s trying to be mean but it’s pretty damned adorable. This is why I’m totally ok with her eating my face off if I die and they run out of food. (The act of eating my face off will somehow also be cute. No, it will!) This game can advance to the bed, where she picks up a shriek-y and excited meow. I flip the covers over on her and when I flip them back off I get a MEOW! It’s like, “DO IT AGAIN DO IT AGAIN!” All the while she’s purring.

Cue maniacal laughter.

The other bites I get are the ones when I’m seated at the porcelain comfort station first thing in the morning. For some reason, she loves it when I’m on the throne. She races me into the bathroom, often tripping me in my early morning stupor. She’ll rub back and forth across my shins, stop, and wet-nose my thigh. Then, BITE! Can’t you see I’m a little busy here? I haven’t quite figured out what these are about. I mean – their sense of smell is better than ours right? She has to know what I’m doing. Perhaps she’s reminding me that I’m peeing in her territory. Perhaps she’s getting one in while she knows I’m helpless. I put a stop to it by pushing her onto her side with a hearty whomp, and petting her ferociously. Like it or not, that’s the ritual.

In the end, I feel very fortunate to have both of these suckers. If drool and recreational bites are what I have to endure to spend time with them, then I’m getting the better part of the deal.

Artist and videographer, sort of.

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