Los Tres Hermanos (born to "Elizabeth Taylor" and "Baby Daddy" ca. 3/15/13): bad cellphone pictures of good kitties

     Triplet sons of a glamorous, long-haired black female named "Elizabeth Taylor" (for obvious reasons) and an orange tiger stray known on the street as "Baby Daddy" (ditto), these brothers have been together since birth.  They were about four months old two weeks ago when we adopted them from neighbors.  We could not take just one or two because of how completely they had bonded.  Fortunately, this causes them to expend more energy on each other than on the furniture, our bodies, house plants, etc. These pictures were taken with an ancient Palm Pre.  I've done what I could to tweak them, and will take better ones soon.

Stripey (alias--"Stripester,"--"but what about the other striped cat," you ask?): The top cat in this terrible cell-phone camera shot, Stripey is the middle brother by form factor, weighing 4.4 pounds at the vet last week (7/2/13).  "Stripey" was Tilda and Martha's cat in Penelope Fitzgerald's Offshore.  She does not resemble this Stripey because she was a female and extremely scruffy from living on a houseboat docked in the Thames Reach, but she found herself balanced in the middle: "She was in a perpetual process of readjustment, not only to the tides and seasons, but to the rats she encountered on the wharf.  Up to a certain size, that is to say the size attained by the rats at a few weeks old, she caught and ate them, and, with a sure instinct for authority, brought in their tails to lay them at the feet of Martha.  Any rats in excess of this size chased Stripey.  The resulting uncertainty as to whether she was coming or going had made her, to some extent, mentally unstable" [29].)  Stripey, rambunctious but not yet mentally unstable, has a dark stripe down his spine, a black tail, and dark fur inside his ears, by which signs we usually can distinguish him from Misha, the smaller striped cat.

Toby (aliases--"My Uncle Toby," "Tobias Felis Domesticus"): The middle cat in the photo, at 4.7 pounds, the black cat and largest of the brothers, Toby also seems to be dominant when he cares to wrestle.  He has loner tendencies and likes altitude to preserve his aloofness when he is not in the fur pile.  We love Sterne, but after futilely spinning the nomenclature wheel for days, the name came to both Laura and me within hours while we were roughly 60 miles apart.  As the Greeks say, nomen omen.  So far, our Toby has shown no signs of having King Charles' head in his mind, though he does stare thoughtfully into space more than the other two.  In the June 7, 2013 TLS, by coincidence, Hannibal Hamlin's letter reminds readers that "the only domestic pet in the Bible is the dog in the Book of Tobit" who accompanies the angel Raphael and Tobit's son, Tobias, as they seek the magic fish whose liver, when burned, will expel Asmodeus, the demon who has killed the previous seven husbands of Tobit's beloved Sarah (6).  Now that's a faithful dog, and a messed up relationship!  Paintings by medieval and Renaissance artists always show Tobias and his dog, which may have led to many dogs being named Toby, and perhaps one cat. 

Misha (aliases--"Misha Mice-ky," "Misha Mouse," "Asana Alignment Aid"): To the right of Toby in the photo and the smallest brother, at 4.2 pounds, Misha is and usually acts like the junior partner in this trio.  Nevertheless, he is spiritually large and he has play-pounced and decked Toby.  When Misha and Stripey wrestle, they make tiger butter.  Misha is named for artists.  While in the throes of pre-vet naming panic, we were at the Ballets Russes show at the National Gallery.  There we saw a 1979 film clip of Mikhail ("Misha") Baryshnikov dancing Balanchine's Prodigal Son, including the pas de deux with "the Temptress."  After the bad girl and the "frat boys" have stripped Misha of his clothing, the passage ends with him collapsing to the floor in slow motion, like molten muscle.  When Baryshnikov is standing still in his dancing shoes, you can see how amazingly small he is, but when he moves, you forget.  Like Baryshnikov and Misha Maisky, Misha's 'cellist namesake, he has a Russian soul.  He also has tan fur on his nose and lighter fur on his spine and inside his ears, so we usually can distinguish him from Stripey.  Do they even know which is which?

Stripey, Misha, and a mouse

Misha and Toby                                                                          Misha and Stripey


Tres hermanos en la cocina

Toby Snoozing, Misha and Stripey Alert (what a difference Laura's iPhone4 makes!)

Literary Toby

Stripey and Toby in Binary Opposition