He was named Peanut because he was so tiny when he was a kitten.
And as he grew, he began to aptly put the “nut” in Peanut.
Tearing around the house in crazy tantrums.
Fleeing from unseen things, eyes wide in excitement.  Those big, green eyes.
He was the second or third or more born to Princess, after Ivan, of course.
And he would forever be in Ivan’s great, grey shadow.
His younger brother, but always the protector.
A patient “uncle” to Chester, who pesters him to no end.
There was a time when Peanut became too much to handle.  Acting out in strange ways.  And so I fostered him out to my dad, who renamed him, temporarily, “Foster”.
But he became too much for my dad to handle, and so I took him back.
And I am ever glad I did.
Because, as I constantly tell him, he is the most beautiful cat in the world.
He is a typical brown and grey tabby with striking black stripes.  But he is splashed with a white chest, uneven white socks, a heart-shaped nose the colour of a strawberry, pale pink paw pads touched with black spots, a white tip of the tail, and a peculiar white vertical stripe on the bridge of his nose.
Those last two markings are virtually the only way anyone could tell the difference between him and his twin sister.  She had no white tip on the tail, and no white stripe on her nose.
Peanut is a cat anomoly, in that he loves to have his belly rubbed.
A trait that is commonly only associated with dogs.
And he loves to play fetch.
Any crumpled bit of paper will do.  Crumpled foil is even better.
He will gleefully chase after it and bring it right back to you, and drop it at your feet.
He is nine years old now.  And has grown so large at 17 pounds that he dwarfs his mother, Princess, by a good 5 pounds at least.
He is the timekeeper in the family.
He is the sentry of the routine.  Making sure it is followed in a timely manner, each and every day.
At bedtime, he is right there at the bottom corner beside my feet, guarding and keeping company.
In the morning, after dawn breaks, around 7:30 or so these days, he is again on the bed, with a soft, beseeching meow to ask if I am getting up to feed breakfast.
He is patient and forgiving if I roll over and ignore him.
And when I do swing my legs over the side of the bed to start the day, he is ready to give my feet a massage with his head.  Meowing his welcome to the day!
He is ever grateful to be scooped out his usual dry cat food.  He is an “easy keeper”, as we call horses.  He has never been sick (touch wood!).  He always uses his litter box.  He is Ivan’s best friend.
To watch those two as they snuggle on the bed together is beautiful.
They lick and groom each other.  They cuddle and sleep on top of one another.
Theirs is an intimacy that only brothers could have.
And yet they are quick to swipe at each other too.  Just like human family.
Peanut was the last to quit nursing off Princess, his mother.
And I think she still thinks he wants to nurse on her, as they are often on the outs with each other.
I wonder if she even still recognizes or realizes that he is her son.
Princess still offers him the occasional motherly swipe to his cheek if she feels he deserves it, for some unseen cat reason.
And he will chase her under the couch, for some unseen cat reason.  Or just for the heck of it.
Peanut and Princess are the only two who delight in a small can of wet cat food as a treat every once in awhile.  They eat side by side, head to head, whisker to whisker, practically purring their pleasure as they scoop up the wet paste with their tongues.
I feel that Peanut has become the German Shepherd of the family.  The orderly, protective, routine smitten cat who would have been a dog if he had his way.
He loves to sit in plastic grocery bags, if they are on the floor.
A trait I recently learned his twin sister has also.
He is what I would call a friendly cat, but he has his boundaries.
In the kitchen, he is everyone’s friend, ready to rub their leg, and receive a head scratch in return.
But anywhere else in the house, and he is on high alert, ready to run at the slightest inkling of danger.
He is my friend, and my good companion.
He will lie beside me while I watch TV and rest his head on my hand.
He asks of nothing in return, except that his request for order and routine be upheld.
But he still puts the “nut” in Peanut sometimes.
Even at his age, which is the human equivalent of 60 something, he still likes to give a good chase now and then, whether it’s his brother, Ivan, or his mother, Princess, or a crumpled piece of paper.
My little Peanut.
The most beautiful cat in the world.

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