In the mornings, when I come down the stairs, he hurries down beside me, then at the last moment, dashes ahead so he can jump up onto the loveseat and look impressive and ferocious yet loving and devoted. Then, as I round the turn into the living room from the stairs, he dashes ahead to the little cardboard scratching thing on the floor, where he scratches violently as I go by. Then he dashes past me into the kitchen to mew and purr and – very occasionally – rise up on his hind legs, ducking his head in an invitation to me to scratch behind his ears if I want – PLEASE!
Even Bill has noticed it. "He loves you," he has told me, amused. And it's true. Scratchy is devoted to me in a way neither of the other cats are – or ever will be.
I firmly believe it's because of how I talked to him in his little cardboard box on the day we brought the kittens home from the grain and feed store. He was terrified (as evidenced by the torn flesh of the store employee who had to handle him) and so I talked to him in my low soothing help-a-kitten-not-feel-so-afraid voice throughout the ride home and kept letting him sniff my fingers through the rough-cut holes in the cardboard. And honestly – without intending to sound smug, though I know that's how I sound – I really think that's where and how and when it began.
He's a big mushpot. Still doesn't like to be picked up or held for very long, but in his own way, he is the most affectionate of all three cats. He's kind of like a big, slobbery dog. Only without the slobbery part.