I’ve never been particularly fond of cats. Historically, my experiences looking after various neighbours’ house cats were comparable to visiting murderous mental patients on house arrest, and I wouldn’t go further than describing most of the nicer cats I’ve encountered as “aloof.”
In truth, cats are a strange choice as house pets. They’re carnivorous, vicious killers with bladed paws and vein-piercing stapler-mouths, and — given their biological role — they’re pretty out place in most homes unless you’ve got a serious rodent problem. So, for the majority of my life, I consciously stayed out of their way, and they stayed out of mine.
However, I began to change my stance on cats after meeting my partner (romantic, not business) and spending time with her older tuxedo-siamese cat, Vash. Here is a cat that has largely replaced his need to slash, maim, and maul with more domestically-compatible habits — namely, cuddling, sleeping, and purring.
Describing Vash as affectionate is an understatement. Many cat owners can wax poetic about the endearing characteristics of their feline friends until your ears bleed. But, speaking as an outsider, I can fully vouch for the warmth of this cat. He’s one of the most personable animals that I’ve ever met: kind, patient, and without a malicious bone in his body.
I would think that Vash’s friendly demeanour stems from his strong, foundational trust of humans, but there is the ever-present question of nature vs. nurture at play here. My partner will often remind me that, as a kitten, Vash was friendly from day 1 of adoption, and a comfortable, loving upbringing helped him blossom into the affectionate adult cat he is today.
As you might expect, spending time with Vash over the years transformed my perceptions of what a domestic house cat could be. Instead of a murderous hate machine, I saw Vash for what he was: a furry, warmhearted companion who would happily accompany you during domestic lounging sessions, whether day or night.
Granted, I wasn’t particularly pleased by every facet of Vash’s being. I still count being roused from sleep by a mid-sized animal gingerly stepping on your hands, face, and testicles as a thoroughly rude awakening. And, as a Siamese cat, Vash can be quite vocal when he’s upset or bored — occasionally voicing his dissatisfaction with demonic-baby-babbling or guttural moans that are honestly pretty unsettling. Nonetheless, the seeds of cat-love had been planted.
However, not all was well in CatLand. In early 2018, my partner moved into a new apartment (where we currently live). The transition went well enough, but Vash — who has lived with at least one other cat his entire life — was without feline companionship for the first time and had become increasingly lonesome. Thankfully, our place had a two-cat allowance, with one spot vacant. So, on April 18th, 2019, after some deliberation, research, and back-and-forth messaging with local sellers, I finally got a kitten of my own, whom I would lovingly christen Lee Harvey Oswald (Oswald or “Ozzy” for short).
According to the little information we have from his seller, Ozzy is a Maine Coon/Norwegian Forest mix. This met my breed criterion well, as I was looking for a Maine Coon specifically, but pure-bred domestic animals are often tragically destined to suffer from various health problems.
Aside from being hopelessly cute, Ozzy was very small when we got him. The seller had noted that he had been struggling to eat enough because his litter mates were obstructing him at meal times. We were also told that he was eight weeks old, but a local veterinarian said differently. Given his size and weight at the time, the vet informed us that he couldn’t be older than seven weeks — which seemed more accurate considering that he was only slightly bigger than a large rat or hamster. In pet communities, selling cats under eight weeks old is generally considered to be a big no-no, so we weren’t particularly enthused by the possibility that our seller had lied to us.
Fortunately, after giving Ozzy full access to an abundance of crunchy food and twice-daily wet food, he began to gain weight. Soon enough, he surpassed his original weight of just over a pound and weighed in at over three pounds about five weeks later.
As of this writing, Ozzy is 14 weeks and three days old by my count, so he’s still very much a kitten — and a bloodthirsty one at that. It’s been an adjustment getting accustomed to his antics (clawing, biting, running), but I have to remind myself that he’s only acting out his role as nature intended. As such, my partner and I are exercising a fair amount of patience with his unruly behavior but also working to establish boundaries (no biting toes, hands!) so that hopefully he can have half the warmth and friendliness of his stepbrother, Vash.
Speaking of Vash, watching his developing relationship with Ozzy evolve has been interesting. At first, Ozzy was too young to pay much attention to Vash, while Vash was simultaneously perplexed and unnerved by his arrival. As I’ve learned, cats aren’t particularly fond of new roommates. True to form, the first time we allowed them to meet, Vash hissed at Ozzy, vomited, and promptly exited the room while Ozzy continued to stumble around on his budding baby-legs, unfazed.
But, Ozzy has matured, and he now sees Vash as a viable playmate and target for harassment. One of Ozzy’s new favourite activities involves leaping onto Vash’s face, side, or anus with reckless fervor and chasing Vash around the house when he inevitably attempts to flee.
Unfortunately, these new “play-maulings” have tested Vash’s patience — as unwavering as it is — and he often retaliates with loose jaws and cat fisticuffs of his own. But, thankfully, aggressive playtime hasn’t strained their relationship, and the two still set aside time to snuggle up when they can.
As Ozzy continues to grow, I’ll make sure to update this “Cat Log” with all the new sights, exciting discoveries, and horrendous smells that often accompany living with these two furballs.
That’s it for now — thanks for reading!