Hi, friends and readers and reader friends! Welcome to the second installment of Hobnobblekins, the story I started in my last newsletter. If you haven’t read the first one, you can find it here:
It is a quick read and will definitely help this one make more sense! No telling what my next newsletter will be about, but tonight I just had this little guy on my mind.
When we last saw Hobnobblekins, he was leaving the only family he had ever known to set out on new adventures …
Hobnobblekins was home.
He knew this because his owner, a tall, thin human called Dan, had lifted the case out of the car, set it down inside the front door, and said, “Okay, Tiger Kitty, we’re home!” (He was a very intelligent kitty.) “Feel free to explore,” Dan continued, “but just remember – you’re an indoor kitty. We want to keep you safe now, don’t we?”
“Mew.” Hobnobblekins weaved himself around and through Dan’s legs to make sure his owner understood who owned whom.
Still being quite young, Hobnobblekins didn’t know there was any such thing as an outdoors — you will recall that he had been in a carrying case between his first and second homes — and the prospect before him looked not only immensely expansive but full of potential adventures. To top off all the excitement, Dan had called him Tiger Kitty!
“Tiger Kitty — I knew it!” he meowed as he followed Dan into the kitchen, where he was fed salmon in a creamy deluxe gravy. He felt sure this relationship was going to work out fine.
After dining, Hobnobblekins placed his little kitty paw on the soft beige carpet in the next room and felt the sense of adventure rising within. There were so many rooms to explore, and the knowledge that the whole place would be his new kingdom made him giddy! Of course, he would be sharing it with Dan, without whom he wasn’t quite sure how he would get more food, but he could live with that. Before moving ahead with his grand exploratory plan, however, he paused to do a little stropping* on the edge of a nearby couch.
On his second day of scouting, after he had sniffed and bunted** his way around most of the main level, he noticed a previously closed hallway door that was slightly ajar. Squeezing himself through the opening, he was surprised to find that the path led downward in a rather steep and jaggedy pattern. He had never seen stairs before, but he felt certain he could master them.
“I wonder if any of my brothers and sisters have these in their houses,” he said to himself, inwardly hoping they did not and that this was just another sign of his ascendancy. Happy with this thought, he pounced eagerly from step to step until he reached the last one when, turning to face the far wall, he stopped right in his kitty-kitty tracks. Above an old tattered sofa hung a large poster with a picture of what he instinctively knew was a real tiger. Not only that, the real tiger seemed to be staring right at him.
“Why he looks just like me!” he meowed. “I double knew it! My dad is a tiger!”
From that moment on, Hobnobblekins was on a quest to prove not only to his mother and siblings but to all domestic cats everywhere that he was much superior to every one of them. In this particular moment, however, he jumped up on the back of the sofa and lay near his newfound father.
Poor little Hobnobbies! If he had been able to read, he would have seen that he was looking at a poster from the nearby zoo and that the tiger’s name was Thomas. Tom, as all of the zookeepers called him, had been born in captivity and had lived a pampered and stifled life for the entirety of his five years.
But more about Thomas later since this moment belongs to Hobnobblekins, and as amazing as he was, he could have known none of this.
Instead, he imagined his great tiger father roaming the grasslands and savannas, hunting and pouncing and falling in love with his mother. He couldn’t possibly know the words for grasslands and savannas, but the picture showed Tom among them, and Hobnobblekins’ imagination began to run wild with thoughts of the wildlands and all of the hunting and pouncing he instinctually knew he would do, too, if he could only get there.
As real life would have it, however, out of the blue and right in the middle of an imaginary stalking, he began to feel quite drowsy from the day’s adventures and his masterful conquest of the stairs. Determined not to leave his fantasy world, he spent the rest of the afternoon in half-sleep dreams until he heard Dan opening a can of food.
His eyes popped open just as his legs involuntarily sprung him to the kitchen. “What would it be today?” he wondered. He was so focused on this new quest that he didn’t even realize he had climbed a set of stairs for the very first time. Instinct is a powerful thing in the feline family.
After gobbling up his chicken and vegetables in a savory broth, Hobnobblekins wandered down the hall and into the bathroom. As this was his first time here (Dan had previously kept this door closed, too), it was also the first time he noticed the full-length mirror against the far wall. In it, he spotted a small striped common tabby kitten staring back at him.
Hobnobblekins hissed at the intruder. It hissed in unison. He ran forward and swiped at it with his paw. It approached and swiped at him in perfect synchronization. He pounced at it. “Ouch.” It was then that he realized that he was looking at himself.
“It can’t be,” he thought with dismay. “I’m so small.”
Some may feel sorry for poor Hobnobbies and this newfound discovery, but it is his response that should garner pity. Instead of taking his dear mother’s advice, he took the path more traveled.
Hobnobblekins the tabby cat immediately conquered his deflated sense of inflated identity by mentally turning the small stature he saw in the mirror into muscular prowess and supremacy. In fact, he practiced this exercise several times a day as he went from food to mirror to his poster perfect tiger dad, eventually becoming fully convinced that he actually was a tiger.
It must be true if he thought it.
I wonder what will happen to Hobnobblekins next? Once I figure it out, I will be sure to let you know! Thanks for reading!
Oh, and as for the asterisks … In case you didn’t know, which I didn’t before looking these up:
*stropping is when a cat sharpens his claws on any desirable object, including human couches and chairs and occasionally a purchased cat scratcher.
**bunting is when a cat rubs his face against both animate and inanimate objects to leave his scent, pretending like he is doing it because he really loves you.