Let’s play a game of word association, shall we?
Your word du jour: critters.
What comes to mind?
(a) A goober named Cletus describing muskrats in the crick?
(b) Malevolent carnivorous aliens resembling rabid hedgehogs?
(c) Or how about the cutest balls of tabbitude this side of the Mississippi?
If you went with option (c), I’m tossing you a Tootsie Roll through the screen.
I’m not sure who first referred to Bunny and her brood (Mouse, Squirrel, Chipmunk and the late Badger) as the Critter Litter. But it’s one of those monikers that was built to last from the instant it was uttered. Now nobody says “Squirrel and Mouse and Chipmunk” - it’s always, simply, the Critter Litter.
Easy enough to understand, right? Squirrels, mice and chipmunks are all…well, critters.
But leave it to kitten-critters to widen their margins - and their embrace. For these three budding humanitarians felinitarians, “critters” aren’t limited to woodland creatures. Apparently, cheese can be a critter, as can a Persian individual, as can a Lilliana (whatever a Lilliana is).
It’s dazzled us before, but it never fails to wow me off my feet: kittens accept others, period. Within hours of meeting fellow mini-cats who didn’t happen to share the distinction of being born to Bunny, the Critter Litter had embraced them as honorary critters. As far as Bunny’s babies are concerned, Havarti, Habib, Ishmael and Lilliana are all critters now.
There’s more to this magic than mere cuteness (although, I hasten to add, this is industrial-strength cuteness we have on our hands this time). Think of the goodest feel-good movies you’ve ever seen (and, no, I definitely do not mean Critters). Odds are, at the center of these cinematic treats are a crew of friends, or family, or friends who become family. There’s a strong sense that “we’re all in this together, come what may,” and a bond bigger than any individual member’s frailties and freakiness.
With this in mind, the new and expanded Critter Litter just might be the Breakfast Club of the feline world. Starting with the original critters, who were born at Tabby’s Place and lost brother Badger, the ragtag gang of buddies has expanded to include…
- Havarti, the last of the cheeses
- Lilliana, the firecracker orphan
- Ishmael and Habib, the remaining Persians
This lovefest came just in time for our hardscrabble honeys. With Velveeta, Feta and Bleu all adopted, Havarti might have been starting to think he was the lonely moldy cheese. Little Lilliana, our only orange kitten, might have been just a little freaked out that she was kinda-sorta named after Lily (who passed away on the day Lilliana arrived). And Ishmael and Habib just so happen to be three times the original critters’ size, which makes them look like big galumphing galoots most of the time.
No matter. These critters are BFFs. It’s like summer camp every day in the kitten suite, and all that’s missing is the handmade friendship bracelets.
Well…that’s not all that’s missing.
The wonderful thing about critters, is critters are wonderful things. The not-entirely-wonderful thing about this is that they leave us. (I know, I know - that is wonderful. But it isn’t. You know what I mean.) It seems like, by the day, we’re missing more of our critters.
Havarti…Habib…Ishmael…Mouse…Chipmunk…we’re losing little lovebugs left and right.
But the bonds they have are everlasting.
Happy, critterlicious Fourth of July to you, Felis Catus family.
PS: Special thanks to Denise and to Hootz sponsor S.W. for these stellar shots of the Critter Litter.