Our two cats were born just two days after arriving in Ukraine in 2011 when Yulia's grandmother's cat had kittens. Ever since we started this blog I've been wanting to dedicate a post just to them...so here it is.
Their arrival in the world coincided with our arrival in Ukraine. Therefore, we cannot conceive of being here without them. They have been our companions ever since we moved here.
Their names are both Ukrainian. Yulia chose the name, Laska, and I chose Levko. Laska means both tenderness and affection and, interestingly enough, weasel. Levko is a man's name in Ukrainian, but it also translates to "little lion." I had a little lion stuffed animal when I was very young, and so I sort of named Levko after him.
|Levko shortly after opening his eyes|
|He had such beautiful blue eyes as a kitten!|
|Laska was pretty darn cute too!|
Levko and Laska are a never ending source of entertainment. Levko has no shortage of funny faces. From scary serial killer looks...
to affectionate hugs with his sister.
|We didn't force them to pose like this. They did this naturally. We swear!|
He is very expressive. We can look at him and know just what words are going through his head.
|"Who put me in this oven???" (He crawled in there by himself)|
|"What is that apparatus in your hand?"|
|"What--you've never seen anyone sleep in an overturned hamper balanced on a pile of sand before??"|
Laska is the relative vegetarian of the pair. Along with meat and cat food, she will steal cucumbers and persimmons from the table.
|Laska snacking on a persimmon|
While Levko is the more rugged of the two (I found him sleeping on a pile of nails in the garage once), Laska cannot take such a beating. She's the one that will perch on our windowsill and look in at us staying warm by the fire on cold, rainy days. It's hard for us to resist letting her in...until she swipes a persimmon from the table. She would look particularly battered after I gave the cats flee baths when they were young.
|Sorry darling! We did it because we care about you!|
Agile Laska also prefers stalking small flashy objects such as ribbon on a string or a wiggling finger.
She'll jump four feet in the air to catch it and then growl at Levko to stay away from her kill. As adults here in the countryside she goes for mice and salamanders. Levko prefers big game such as hamsters, rats, and, no kidding, small hares and weasels! One day Yulia informed her parents and me that, "Левко вбив ласку" ("Levko killed laska" [remember laska is both our cat's name and weasel). We had to pause for a second.
"What? ... Seriously??" Yulia's dad asked. Either Laska the cat or a weasel were equally improbable to us. It ended up being a weasel and not our cat.
In conclusion, we think Levko and Laska have made us cat people. Take a look at this picture.
I think it's pretty safe to say that these furry little creatures have penetrated our psyche. They have made our lives so much more rich and interesting since their arrival. The good news for them is that, sometimes, all they have to do is just sit there to get the job done.
|Laska and Levko's eye|