kitten watching

The kitten nibbles on my pinkie a bit, my other fingers scratching his belly. He can't decide whether to purr or not. The nibbles turn to raspy, sandpaper licks and the odd extended claw pokes my palm. The kitten twists a bit and lets me scratch under chin. Then he purrs. He flips his tail lazily - or does his tail lazily flip itself? The claws disappear and he stretches legs and paws in all directions. Eyelids droop. The purr rumbles. Then his head jerks and he looks elsewhere. My pinkie is no longer of interest. Not to him, anyway. Like a ninja he flips from his back to his four paws and crouches into a stalking pose. His whiskers don't twitch. His mouth and nose hover low while his eyes look ahead. He's a tabby, and his stripes should blend him into his background, but they don't. They show stark against the cream upholstery. His camouflage is misplaced in this flat. Each paw makes a dent in the cushion as he steps forward. The kitten stops and his chin rests on the cushion as his hind legs rise high. His tail sticks up on end. In a flash he leaps on the dust bunny (left by his tail a few minutes earlier) and, having caught his prey, he pats it with paw and sits back, unsure of it. He cocks his head and sees something else of interest. Jumping from the couch to the floor he looks at towards his food bowl and then at the wires hanging behind the television and then at the wine cork on the floor and then back to the wires and then back to his food bowl and then he's running towards one, the cork, and jumping, standing on hind legs, paws outstretched and claws out and then back on all fours for not even a second before a leap with a 180º twist back towards his food bowl. The kitten runs past it, towards the spider web of surround sound wires and A/V cables. He caught a spider there once, and ate it. Ever since it's been his bête noir. Well, where he thinks that's where his bête noir lives, anyway. He charges through the cables and the standing lamp in the corner, back and forth, leaping over and squeezing under the beam that runs between to two legs of the coffee table that holds the TV. He tries to balance on it and fails. Then he tip-toes to a lone, dangling wire and sniffs it, pats it with the pad of his paw. His whiskers twitch and he's away, back towards the cork, bounding. He taps it with one paw and then the next, solo tennis, all volleys, enraptured by the movement he creates, following it and perpetuating it. I shift on the couch and he stops. Frantic, the kitten runs again towards the wires but then lurches right and steps two calm steps towards his food bowl.

He sniffs, whiskers twitch, he looks left and then right. And then he eats.