Fisher’s fragile nerves are tested day in and day out by hazards that no amount of caution on our part can completely overcome. He and Killian share genetic material and grew up in the same environment. Why is Fisher so spooky? Why is Killian so unflappable? Their opposing temperaments were evident when we brought them home as kittens: Killian was bored on the car ride; Fisher panicked and lost control of his bowels.
I have attempted to record just a few of the things that have, on various occasions, terrified Fisher. This terror manifests in different ways, including leaping straight up in the air or his entire body going rigid, accompanied by a vocalization that sounds like “kkkiihhh.”
1. The gentle but unexpected brush of a hand on his back.
2. The gentle and expected brush of a hand on his back.
3. The eraser end of a pencil, brandished in playful fashion.
4. A foot, changing position on the carpet.
5. The subtle shift of the lap he’s seated upon.
6. The barking of dogs at play.
7. A bag of his food, set down beside him on a shelf, for that dreaded tenth time.
8. The flap of a box he’s been cutting his teeth on, when it moves in response to his head butts.
9. A small sheepskin rug.
10. Purposeful walking.
11. Aimless walking.
12. A charging puppy.
13. His brother, generally.
Sometimes he surprises us with his bravery and aplomb, for example, when:
1. A dog rolls him over and nibbles at his belly.
2. S yells an abbreviated form of his name at top volume.
3. He pushes a door open to discover a giant dog looming over him.
4. He assaults his sleeping brother.
5. He flings himself on the paws of a sleeping dog and rolls around on his back.