I wrote a long encomium to Tiger Lily on her sixth birthday last month, and I’d been meaning to do the same for her putative sister, Jasmine, when her turn came up on 26 March. But I failed.
That’s a sad thing, because despite the uninformed meanderings of some writers about how cats are “indifferent” to their owners, the reality is Jasmine is one of the most jealous animals around and would be quite unhappy if she was cognizant of the fact that I wrote about her sister and not herself.
Though she’s the younger of the two girl kitties, Jasmine is the Princess of the house. In part that’s because she’s the only one who cares about being Princess. Tiger Lily could care less, but Jasmine’s nose gets out of joint any time she perceives a slight. She is the Mistress of Sulk, and we’ve spent more time than I care to think about coaxing her out of her moods.
In this, she takes after one of her predecessors, Manderlea, who, when we lived next to a battery shop on SE 38th & Belmont, would go sit on their roof in the rain to show everyone how disgruntled she was. Jasmine has a lot of Manderlea’s mannerisms (despite the fact that the closest they ever came is the former walking over the latter’s grave in the backyard): a tendency to flounce into the room, a penchant for jumping to the highest point (refrigerator, cabinet, etc.) and perching like a vulture, and an insatiable curiosity that drives her to check out whatever Barbara’s doing. The big difference is, indeed, big: because Jasmine’s about fifteen pounds; twice Manderlea’s size and half again as big as either of the two other cats.
That makes it all the more impressive (and potentially dangerous to fragile items) when she decides to pop up on top of a cabinet from the back of a chair. Or when she decides to come down. She’s obsessed with the fishing pole toy Barbara made for Jackie Chan back in his youth (his acrobatics chasing after it was what earned him his promotion from “Boy Kitty”). She’ll pull it out of it’s hiding spot four or five times a night, but if one of the other two cats hears her chasing it and shows up to get in on the action, she’ll leave because she doesn’t like to share.
She’s the one who shows up when there’s company. She’s the one who rolls on her back on the sidewalk to get pets from passers-by. It was Jasmine squeezing her body into a tiny basket Barbara was using for tinder that’s led to us having four wicker baskets in the office and living room (for three cats!) Like she was a lobbyist or something. She’s six.