[LMB] Ivan, and kitten trees

Joel Polowin jpolowin at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 3 15:30:14 BST 2010

Jean Lamb wrote:
> One of the most memorable (to me, anyway) scenes in Cetaganda is when Ivan
> tries to rescue the kittens from the kitten tree (and no, I have not filked
> it yet, but you know what "O Kitten Tree" would scan to).
> What does this say about how Ivan has been trained? How many times has he
> rescued Miles, without Miles even noticing it (or possibly resenting the
> necessity)? Yes, in a later book he pretends he's only being nice around the
> furry verminoid to impress Ekaterin, but here he acts on impulse with no
> special reason to try to impress anybody.

All of the comments about "furry little verminoid", and using a young
animal as a prop, and growing hairs to shed on uniforms, are Ivan's
internal point of view; I think it's reasonable to consider them his real
attitude toward cats.  He does put the kitten in his lap and pet it,
as an alternative to having it sharpen its claws on his boots.  He's
clearly not a cat hater, but also clearly not much of a cat person.

Ivan's reaction to cats seems to be fairly close to mine, actually.
Didn't grow up with them, don't mind them as long as they behave,
not a lot of patience for the stuff that many cat lovers regard as
completely normal and just part of having a cat around, such as
clawed-up furniture and small items knocked off shelves or otherwise

On the other hand, rescuing a cute widdle helpless ball of fluff from
a horrible attachment/entanglement?  Ivan has enough sympathy/empathy
to feel a strong urge to Do Something.

It's also possible that his experience with the "kitten tree" bothered
Ivan enough to shape his later reactions to kittens and cats.

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