After spending the first half of my Seattle trip as somewhat of a personal vacation with friends, I spent the second half visiting Erin, one of my new co-workers, and getting some work done in-person with her. I stayed at her house in the Seattle suburbs, and that meant I got to meet her three pets.
First up is Bullet, an Alaskan Klee Kai. He was the most energetic, and also the most photogenic—he had glowing white hair, and he seemed to enjoy the attention of me warping my body in strange positions to put myself in weird angles to get the perfect picture of him.
If you look in the background of that last photo, you’ll see another dog in the background—that’s Kaya, also an Alaskan Klee Kai. She was much more shy than Bullet, so I don’t have as many good photos of her. I could tell that she also wanted to play and be pet like Bullet, but she was also much more reserved and cautious.
It didn’t seem like she was the biggest fan of posing, so the only two shots I have of her are candid ones where she was distracted and I managed to snap a picture before she noticed.
And of course, my favorite was Drake the domestic longhair. My first impression of Drake was that he was particularly elegant and graceful with his movement, and he gave off an aura of wisdom and knowledge, if that’s even possible for a cat to do. I later found out that he is 18 years old, so I’m guessing he possessed these traits due to his old age and life experience.
Drake was just like a lot of the other well-socialized cats I’ve met—he was very affectionate and liked rubbing his face on my hands. When I would be sitting on a couch somewhere getting some work done on my laptop, Drake would eventually wander his way to me and sit down next to me to take a nap.
I managed to do something with Drake that I’ve never been able to do with any other cat, which may be surprising considering how much time I’ve spent around cats photographing them—I’ve never caught a picture of a cat yawning before. That changed with Drake, so here is a picture of the inside of his mouth (and of his teeth, which are pretty clean considering his old age):
If you’re not familiar with cats, you may be surprised to notice the little white spikes in Drake’s tongue. Those are called papillae, and are made out of keratin, a fibrous protein best known for forming human hair and nails. Those little spines are responsible for keeping the cat extra clean when it grooms itself—the way they all point in a single direction makes it very easy for the cat to remove unwanted substances from its hair, untangle knots, and eject collected hair from its mouth.
I obviously don’t have spiny papillae like cats do… but I have a close alternative. I usually use an electric razor to shave my facial hair every morning, but sometimes, when I don’t shave, I have enough stubble to make my chin feel like a cat’s tongue. When I rub my unshaven chin on a cat, they seem to always be very pleased because they think I’m licking and grooming them.
I used to do this all the time with my old roommate’s cats, and I often get satisfied purs from every cat I do this to, Drake included.
So yes, this does mean that, if I ever meet your cat(s) and I happen to have not shaved yet that day, I will probably “groom” them with my chin to make them happy.