Nice Kitty…

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.

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18 responses to “Nice Kitty…

  1. I had a cat like this (he was actually a barn cat) when I was growing up – I think I actually loved him MORE because he was so tempermental!

  2. You women always trying to rush into affection. It often takes years to get to the point where you will be allowed to pet the kitty without being attacked. Just take your time and eventually you will wear down his defenses and he will let you love him a you want.

  3. I love the first picture.
    “Who the Hell are you, and why are you taking my picture?”
    Cats are the best.

  4. Max isn’t quite as hostile as Bazel – I can pet him and he purrs and rubs against my leg – but he won’t sit on me, or sit with me, and likes to come up on my bed at 4 a.m. and start attacking my body through the duvet. He also likes to ambush me in the kitchen while I’m making tea and bite my leg.

    Bazel lying on his back is so cute! I imagine it’s to tempt the unwary into rubbing his belly and then losing a hand.

  5. I’m babysitting two cats right now who are very affectionate and show their affection by biting if you stop petting them. Ouch.

  6. Hilarious… I was laughing at the eccentricities until you got to the part about eating you if you die… ummm yeah, is there a way to close or lock the door while you sleep?

  7. I think he’s a beautiful cat who is not understood by anyone lol

    My cat is not quite like that but let me tell you, there are times when she also scares me! And I have to be careful not to attempt to stare her down, it’s even worse, ears get flat, the growl is coming on and watch out! That’s just from being on the couch, in the middle no less, and me wanting to share the space with her! lol

    Then all is forgiven when she gives me the love she so knows how to do. Yep, she has me well trained!

  8. Tania-Temperamental would imply that he has moods other than “stalking”. And he doesn’t.

    CP – boy he must really love me a lot!

    Violetsky – Oh ya, he’s got a face that leave no doubt about what’s on his little, narrow, kitty mind

    Bandobras – Ya, that’s us women alright, always looking to get physical as soon as we meet someone.

    Heather – I never noticed the resemblance before. Now I’m really scared.

    JB- Bazel got Catitude!

    Alison – Indeed, that soft white belly and submissive posture is just begging for tummy skritches. It’s an evil trap. He knows he’s at an advantage — teeth and claws all ready to grap -scruff of neck neatly tucked away where I can’t grab it.

    Jazz- I think the owners of all these evil cats you babysit are plotting to lull you into a regular babysitting thing and then one day they just won’t show up to retrieve them.

    Meanie – Hey, you really are a meanie!!

    Noha – I’m still a lot bigger than him, so I reckon I have a fighting chance… don’t I?

    UA – I often wonder why we put up with these wild critters. Everything has to be their way, we can’t take them for walks or teach them tricks, they don’t love us at all, let alone unconditionally, the leave fur and occasionally horked up furballs everywhere and they’re always hurting us. Are we insane?????

  9. My mom swears her cat(s) remove lodged food from her throat when she sleeps, hence they’re her heroes. (need i add she’s a bit loony?) Now I see they’re only hoping she doesn’t flinch when they administer Kitty Heimlich so they can gorge on her enitre human smorgasbord.

    Bazel may be an ass but he is quite the looker. Aren’t all the lookers asses? At least, that’s the result of my vast field experiences.

  10. Violetsky – Just like kids!

    OTC – Who would have thought you, of all people, would have a loony mother?

    Bazel’s not so much an ass as an idiot. In his manic quest for human flesh, he doesn’t realize he’s missing out on all sorts of lovey-dovey human affection. Tsk, tsk, tsk

  11. This is such a great post. I love that you love your funny, feral little kitty not just despite his ways…but because of them. The greatest gift you can give someone (or somekitty) is to love them for who they are. We should all be as lucky as little little Bazel.

    (I have a Crazy Cat Lady gene so this totally appeals to me.)

  12. Lesly – Aw shucks, thanks. I often wonder why I love him, since he works so hard at being unlovable, but some things you can’t explain.