Wednesday, October 17, 2007

x365: 18 of 365: Onion

[As pictured in the previous entry]

In September 2005 we brought Oscar home from the Humane Society, a sleepy black runt of a cat who moved us with his quiet behaviour. The little room where we met him smelled of piss, fear and death, but he was the only one not pacing, scratching or leaping at the cage doors. Instead, he sniffed our fingers through the grille and extended a paw.

It turned out that his docility stemmed from malnutrition and illness. Throughout the first weeks in our apartment, Schmutzie heated his food in the microwave and took him to the water dish to drink. He would have died otherwise.

Once he healed, the passive stage ended, going straight to manic aggression. He would leap out at us from behind doors, jump into the bathtub and throw his tiny body around, and bite Schmutzie's feet when he wanted attention of any kind (my feet were spared). Plus he was loud. He had a whole repertoire of calls and plaints, each one sufficient to shake us out of sleep. Despite these bad habits, he was also one of the friendliest and smartest cats we'd ever known, so we were determined to figure out a solution for his and our problems.

Eventually we figured out that he needed a pet of his own to abuse.

Back we went to the Humane Society. None of the cats really caught our eye, but there was a woman there, clearly crazy, who'd come to adopt a beautiful Dalmation. The staff were doing everything possible to keep the woman from taking the dog home. We made a tentative choice: an older cat that rolled on its belly when we approached the cage, with a body and a demeanour like a fur stole.

On the way home we stopped at a pet store that had Humane Society animals for adoption. In one of the cages a scrawny, long-limbed kitten with manic eyes and oversized paws stepped back and forth. We took him out and he draped himself over our shoulders right away. As I was signing the papers, he was attacking the pen. The forms bear several ink slashes from his swiping paw.

Now he's huge. Where Oscar is graceful, Onion is an oaf who runs into the furniture. When Oscar need to beat someone up, he attacks Onion, who is twice his size and still expanding. He brings balance to The Force our household and allows Schmutzie to walk around barefoot.


Gwen said...

This story is eerily familair - my Max was a biter and aggressive - and I was CERTAIN he needed a kitten. I adpoted Skylar and all the aggression melted away. Max just needed a kitten of his own.

Onion is a beauty! I am dizzy with his beguiling.

Anonymous said...

Yah I have been conned at shelters by docile appearing animals. I picked the only dog who was not barking once but it turned out that he was just hungry. Once he started to eat well, he became a barky spazzy dog who has only been since matched by our whiny, spazzy son, who was also very quiet when I met him.

The dog had to be rehomed with a lonely woman who had nothing to live for other than to spoil a barky spazzy dog. The dog got luckier than my son, who is now stuck with us.

wench said...

i remember oscar when you brought him home poor thing, but hilarious nonetheless. onion is just dreamy and though he brings balance, it comes at cost - note the recent kitchen debacle ;)

angus bodhi cat is almost 4 and weichs 18 pounds, not an ounce of fat. he is moving out with the boy at the end of the month and i will miss him biting my toes when he wants to play. i'm allergic now which sucks even worse.

old age sucks the big weenie.

palinode said...

Gwen - It's a calmer household in certain respects, but now they chase each other around at stupid hours of the day/night, and sooner or later every single book and plant in our place is going to be knocked over or chewed to bits.

Sue - I think the lesson here is obvious: ignore the docile ones at the shelter. They're devious.

Wench - Angus is leaving? That's such a shame. I remember him standing at the top of the steps, too scared to try them out.