Meet Spitfire. Also known as Spity or Spit aka cat.
His mother was a feral cat who had several litters underneath my parents house and he became a part of my family at eight weeks of age. He was the biggest of his litter and his name came around from his feral background and general attitude towards humans before we convinced him we weren’t going to harm him. He was one of six and the one that would hiss, fluff up and try to be as scary as possible when the boys and I would sneak a peek at the cute pile little fur balls. My dad commented he was a bit of a spitfire and the name stuck which is a bit unfortunate for me when I’m calling him in from outside but after seven years they must be getting use to me yelling spit, spit, spit by now.
We brought home a kitten that we thought was a girl but then a couple of things dropped down, oops, but that was okay. He had won us over, if not the elderly cat we had at the time, and as soon as he was old enough he had the little operation to stop any tom cat behaviour. For some reason he didn’t much like us for a while after that.
The fur ball is now like another child for me but he brings us all into line on a regular basis. You never own a cat, they allow you in their company and to house them, feed them, pat them and generally just be there at their beckon call. In return you get comfort and a lot of entertainment, if you treat them right. Some people can handle that and others, who don’t get that cats are in your company under their terms, can’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs too. I’m pretty much a soft touch for all animals actually but cats, especially our Spit, makes sure you keep it real.
Spit has pretty much turned into a miniature panther in size. He’s a big cat and not because he is overweight, well maybe slightly, but I’ve never had a cat that is tall enough for me to grab the tip of his tale, as struts beside me on the way to his food bowl, without leaning over. It’s a bit like walking a dog without a led and he doesn’t seem to mind so long as we continue in the direction he wants me to go.
I’ve also never had a cat that lacks stealth skills. He stamps his feet on the wooden floor boards when he isn’t getting his way and when he “sneeks” up on us he seems to like the clatter of claws on wood sound. I put it down to Spit dramatic effect. The bird life around house is safe too as despite his best efforts he can’t stay quiet and appears to slip into an evil genius mind set where he has to tell everyone his plans before he actually takes any action. Yes, you guessed it, he meows and sometimes bleats his intentions. The birds seem to look at him in mild amusement and fly away. I feel a bit sorry for him at these moments, although pleased the birds are safe, because he always looks so surprised they left.
Having said that he is having terrible time with a family of magpies that regularly visit our yard. Although the birds are no threat to us humans they really give Spit a bad time. Every time he goes to relieve himself in his designated area the yard they wait until he is at the point of no return and then they swoop. He has taken to using his litter tray at all times now, constipation is a bad thing and it’s even worse trying to treat a cat with it.
I’m not sure if it’s his feral background but he isn’t a trusting beastie. When we have visitors he is like a judgemental parent who will quickly decide whether or not he likes them. However he is a good judge of character and I’ve used his skill to choose tradespeople who I can trust in my home. I’m a big believer that animals can see through the performances and masks humans can put on and see the real person within. If he won’t let them near him and they aren’t good enough for him well they aren’t good enough for me. Spit hasn’t led me astray yet as I’ve later heard disturbing stories about some of our rejects, very disturbing.
The builders who did win the job of rebuilding the front of my house had to put up with his constant inspections of their work, annoying demands to be let into the house when they blocked the doorway and his pleading eyes when their lunch was appealing to him. They said at the time that he was such a big cat they didn’t want to argue with him. The neighbourhood birds may not be scared of him but he had the builders bluffed.
Spit carries on dreadful if any of the boys aren’t home once the sun has gone down and he won’t settle in for the night if they have sleepovers. He will take up residence on their bed and wait for them. He is my computer companion as he lays down near me and sleeps while I work. His inbuilt clock knows exactly when it’s feed time as well as the regular time I get out of bed in the morning. This works great when I forget to turn on the alarm but it can be irritating when I have done it on purpose to catch up on lost sleep. Being the clever cat he is he knows how to play leapfrog and he will do it over and over, increasing the weight he applies to me before the leap, until I respond and get up. As my own small form of revenge for his persistence I have been known to get up and let him out the backdoor to deal with the magpies by himself.
But as I’ve said Spit keeps me real and reminds me that revenge is only sweet for a short time and it can led to an endless circle of nasty actions. For the trauma he experience with the birds he rewards me with toxic fumes from his litter box that smell nothing like anything I’ve ever fed him but could be used as a weapon.