Cats: The Felinquents' Ta
La Casa de Los Gatos has long delighted in naming its occupants well. We've had Mephisto (named after that brilliant movie starring Klaus-Maria Brandauer, one of our favourite actors); Faridah Peeples (aka Perdita, Freedie, and Belle); Ramon Rivera, who claimed to be related to Diego, and was quite the artist of shadowdance; George Footlet Mewling, who was one of Fu Ti's tiger-striped kittens; and many many more.
The current felinquents-in-residence came by their names honestly, and in return for other feline tales, we have promised to post their names and origins. Listed by age, our felinquent count is:
- Bandicoot, our big fat fluffy black-and-white mostly Maine Coon boy.
Bandicoot was born (a few seconds before his brother Zingiber) on Thanksgiving Day to a very very young prima gravida calico. At the age of three months, he was already almost as big as his dear sweet little Mama, who lived with a very nice lady named Melanie. You can see why we disapprove of teenage pregnancy. He's a charming, sweet-natured, easygoing fellow, very gregarious, well-known to the neighbours whom he used to visit fairly regularly. He never fights with other cats, preferring to drop down onto his ample belly and watch the more aggressive among them curiously. He also thinks mice are very entertaining, although some of them have died of fright when he sits down to watch them very earnestly. He's never tried to hurt another living thing.
Bandicoot got his name in honour of our best friend's mother. Whenever her children were particularly difficult, she would refer to them as "a bunch of bandicoots." Bandicoots are large, rather pestiferous rodents native to Asia. Bandicoot earned his name by attempting art projects on the black toilet floor that involved vast quantities of shredded toilet paper, running water, and much dedicated patting. He also attempted to console us during the worse periods of our life by bringing into our home (and often depositing in our shoes) enormous black eucalyptus borer beetles.
Sometimes he's just referred to as "Bandicute." Which he is. Pestiferous, but very cute.
Zingiber, practising for the Sleeping Olympix
- Zingiber, Bandicoot's younger brother, is an enormous red striper. His Mama's nice human named him Ginger, which is so dreadfully prosaic! We promptly renamed him Zingiber Officinale, in honour of one of our favorite cooking ingredients.
Zingiber was a twofer deal with his brother. We didn't want him because, cute as he was, the first time he laid eyes on us, he emitted a horrendous shriek, ran howling into the bedroom, dived headfirst behind the bed where he got stuck head-down, with his fat little legs frantically kicking, and proceeded to accompany our entire visit with not-entirely-tuneful random frightening shrieks and yowls. We thought, "Bugger me blind," as we're wont to do, "we're not taking that little psychocath into our life!"
However, the nice lady made it clear that it was either two of them or none at all, and we really did like Bandicoot. So we took Zingiber. He repaid our kindness by shrieking nonstop in the cat carrier (in which he also peed quite plentifully upon his poor pissed-off &mdash and pissed-on &mdash brother) the entire way home. We nearly ran off the road and into a tree twice because he was making such terrible noises. And, we had a friend with us who was holding his cat carrier and trying to calm him. Fat chance.
He hasn't changed much. He still hides under the bed, no mean feat for a 20+ pounder, whenever anyone comes to the house. He shrieks nonstop whenever he's placed in the car. He does all he can to lacerate anyone within reach of his cat carrier. He's earned a red tag on his file at the vet's for attacking various vet techs as well as the Good Doctor himself. Fortunately, being a Cat Of Little Brain, he promptly forgets what the carrier is until the next time he gets locked in it, whereupon he shrieks loudly and unceasingly again. We had to buy him a steel-reinforced cat carrier because he tore the cardboard one (which had seen service for three cats of long lives) to shreds and almost strangled himself by getting his head stuck halfway out of it.
He is, however, the most affectionate cat in the world (if not the brightest bulb in the chandelier). He loves his hoomins, and always wants to sleep with his head on someone's shoulder. He licks noses and faces and pats cheeks with his paw.
He and his brother came to live at La Casa de Los Gatos on Valentine's Day.
Gustav (rear) believes Bandicoot is his mother
- Gustav the PsychoKitty from Hell was named by a relative. We're innocent.
Gustav has a very very sad story. He was the victim of abuse as a kitten. It pretty much started before his birth, when the woman who took in his mother, but failed to get her spayed, decided she didn't want a pregnant cat and kicked her out to fend for herself. Greta (Gustav's mum) had her kittens in a ditch and some nasty hoomin poured something all over them and when a kind soul found them, ants were attacking the little kittens and their mother. The kind soul (our relative the Patron Saint of Cats) cleaned them off, took them home, and did all that was necessary to get them medical attention and subsequently found them all good homes.
The home in which Gustav and Greta ended up was, apparently, not so good. The woman who took them had a boyfriend who didn't like cats and especially didn't like Gustav, who, quite honestly, is not very easy to like. We don't know what he did to Gustav but it surely included physical abuse, because even looking at that idiot makes him act like you're about to jump on him and beat him senseless.
So we're very careful to treat him well even if he is a royal pain. He used to attack all the other cats without provocation, which can be very trying when they're all pretty good-natured kitties. He also pisses all over everything; screams loudly for no reason anyone can figure out; is quarrelsome, terrified, possessive, greedy, suspicious, watchful, pushy, and territorial.
Living with the results of abuse requires extra kindness to rehabilitate the abused. We get our revenge by mocking him in sarcastic language. Fortunately, language is not one of Gustav's skills. We're pretty sure he knows he's being mocked, but he's not entirely sure how to respond.
The first two years of his life here, we had him on tranquilizers because it got really tiresome trying to separate him from his intended victim of the moment. To his credit, he's never tried to attack us, although he did once cause some severe bleeding and infection thanks to our attempt to protect the tiny Gojira from his unearned wrath.
Gustav is a Japanese bobtail, and we are happy to announce that he is doing very well these days, has learned how to play, learned that we mean him no harm and will never ever hit him or even raise our voices to him. Eejit.
Madu and Gojira as babies
- Madu is the other red striper, although he's more buff-coloured than red.
Madu is Indonesian/Malay for honey, and Madu is a real honey. Also a Cat of Little Brain (endemic to red stripers?), Madu was born in a friend's garden to another feral teenage mother, along with four other siblings. His mother was truly feral, and though we tried to keep her, she finally managed to escape. We no longer know where she is, although she hung around for a while, since Bandicoot regularly posts to Alt.Cat.Freefood, advertising La Casa de Los Gatos as a great place for ferals to score a little kibble and katnip.
Madu has a long pointy face, with a long pointy schnozz, and very elegant long slender paws. He also has a purr you can hear a room away. Hobbies: sleeping, napping, resting, lying down, lazing, dreaming, musing, and killing small things. He's the best hunter (well, maybe Ramon Rivera had more range) ever, wiping out entire families of mice, rats, moles, voles, gophers, moths, flies, butterflies, and other small life.
Unfortunately, he really likes to fight. He's quite the scrapper, but recently had the holy tar beaten out of him, probably by the neighbour's female cat who is a consummate bitch on wheels. Has anyone ever noticed that female cats are more territorial? Both our immediate neighbours have female cats and both those cats get into it all the time with other cats over territory.
At any rate, the kid came home so full of holes we were afraid to let him drink water in case he leaked. He's better now, and seems to be less avid to go out looking for quarrels. That said, he's quite adventurous as well as stupid, never a good combination. We have seen him go all the way down the hill, down the road, and around the corner. Trying to keep him in is pretty useless. He has his maman's feral gene.
Gojira, sometimes called the WahWah Petal
- Last, and definitely least, because she weighs in at a whole 6.5 lb or less, is the Princess Gojira Helen Wheels.
So named because, in her misspent yoof, she would make a well in the bedclothes, in which she would hide and whenever her poor brother Madu came by she would rear up onto her hind legs like the mythical Japanese monster Gojira (Godzilla). Of course, her impression was ruined by the fact that, rather than roar, she emitted a tiny meep! or squeak! as she fell upon Madu and bit his arse. She's a gorgeous silver-gray, mostly Russian blue with the feathery-soft fur and "milkmouth." The fur around her mouth is a lighter shade of silver so that she looks as if she just finished a glass of milk.
Helen Wheels was bestowed later in recognition of her superb attack skills, manoeuvrability, agility, grace, and tendency to bite anyone else (including us) in the arse. For no reason that we can ever figure out. This usually happens late at night just as everyone is getting ready to pass out for the night. Lately we've managed to convince her to restrict her attacks to an old towel and a bedroom slipper. Not before she ripped an enormous hole in the drapes, though. What a pest.
For Christy of MeeraKai and Wicket. Stumble It!