I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that my cat, Bazel, (rhymes with dazzle) was one of a litter of 4 feral kittens rescued from the basement of an abandoned building by a local crazy cat rescue lady. We took his mum in too, but she kept gnawing holes in the screen door attempting to escape. She hissed and spat at us, hid in dark corners and didn’t eat or use the litter box. We had her spayed and then gave her to a nice family who had a farm where she could roam or even disappear if she wanted to.
Bazel was just about 8 weeks old at the time, but apparently that was long enough for him to be imprinted with his feral roots forever.
He has never, ever sat on my lap or even next to me and submitted to a petting. When I first come home at the end of the day, he pushes his head into my legs – hard. I take this as an invitation to touch him. I can usually manage one or two strokes before he rolls over, grabs my arm with front and rear paws and begins gnawing on my hand.
At night he sleeps by himself in the best chair in the living room, but every morning between 4:30 and 5:00 he stalks into my room and makes loud, angry noises to wake me up. If I don’t spring out of bed immediately, he jumps up and sniffs my nose and mouth to see if I’m still alive. I know he is checking for signs of life because I’ve read that cats will eat their owners if the owners die and the cats have nothing else to eat.
I can see the half-hopeful look in his eye when he does his inspection. I can see he’s thinking that perhaps today’s the day. But when he realizes that I’m still alive he, takes it in stride begins playfully to attack any exposed body parts. If I lay perfectly still, the attacks are relatively mild. If I try to fight back, he gets really vicious. His ears flatten back on his head, his pupils expand and his eyes get that glossy cover which makes them shine like demon orbs.
I don’t mind admitting that I get more than a little scared of him at that point. I saw a cat outside today with a screaming bird in its jaws. That cat had the same look.
Bazel can be fun, too, though. He likes to play soccer with his squishy ball and often bats it to me so that I’ll throw it for him to fetch, over and over and over. He can also amuse himself for hours hunting his furry mice or stalking flies or ants. He can jump almost 6 feet straight up a wall or into the air in pursuit of a fly. It’s quite something to see.
He also talks a lot, like a Siamese. I feel sometimes we’re actually conversing. He has a lot of very expressive grunts and groans and mews and gurgles and squeaks and squawks and noises that obviously mean disappointment or enthusiasm or pleading or embarrassment.
So, while he’s totally unaffectionate and completely uncuddly and has absolutely no sympathy or intrinsic animal understanding of human moods or need for rest and will probably kill me in my sleep one day, I’m amazingly fond of him and miss him a lot when we’re apart.