Thursday, September 08, 2005

Kitty With Attitude Bitch!

This is Alexis. She hasn't been called that since we got her from some friends about 5 years ago. YD took one look at her and named her Snobby. (As you can see by the photo below, we also call her "twisty-kitty" or "dead -kitty" depending on how she's flaked out. She's a Himalayn. A very fancy, snooty cat. A cat that isn't meant to be a farm cat, but here she is!

One day some friends of ours asked us if we'd like a fancy cat. The story was, they were afraid their little boy (who was about 5 at the time) was going to hurt the kitty. Uh...okay...whatever.

It was over labor day weekend and I said we'd keep her for the weekend and see how she got along with the other cats and the dog before we would decide. Immediately, the cat shot up into the glass-fronted entertainment center (it was open in the back) and sat on a shelf scowling. We soon learned that was her permanent expression.

I tried to get her out of the entertainment center with food, but every time I go close she'd hiss and try and swat at me or bite. I knew she didn't have front claws, but she did have back ones and big teeth! I left her in there for a day, then became concerned she'd get out and not know where to poop. I forcefully picked her up and started carrying her down to the room with the litter box - she was struggling, and got me a good one - a big scratch on my tummy with her back claws (I was just wearing my nightgown). Ouch. I got her down there, then proceeded to tell Hubby that I really didn't want to deal with this situation. I wanted her to go back.

Another couple of days went by with kitty under glass. She'd just sit in there and glare at us while we watched TV. I never saw any messes, but I didn't see her interact with any other animals, either.

Finally the day came to let them know. Hubby said we'd keep her. HUH? You're kidding, right? I mean, you didn't just say what I thought you just said. He told me he didn't understand it himself, but she was a beautiful cat and he thought we could tame her down.

I called the vet for a spay appointment, but she had to go in for a checkup first. The got her in right away that week. I got Hubby to help me crate her up, and off we went. Arriving at the vet, they always want to take the animals out to be weighed. Amazingly, she cooperated for that! Things were looking up! I'd told the vet she was a problem child and she made a note in the file - "ATTITUDE". That was their code word for troublemakers.

On the examining table, she turned into a wildcat. Literally. Hissing, trying to bite and claw, she was out for blood. It took three people holding her down for the exam! Then, she did her twisty-kitty thing (I swear she's part alligator) and rolled right out of all of their hands! Leaping to the floor, she sped back into the corner under a countertop and assumed the defensive position. (Hubby said later he should have sent his welding gloves with me!)

Vet people were a little worse for wear, but did get her back on the table and got the exam completed. Healthy, but naughty. Back in her kennel, the vet pulled our her black magic marker and crossed out "ATTITUDE" and wrote "BITCH!" - Obviously she ranked a bit higher.

Back in a couple of days for her surgery, the vet was surprised to find that the cat had some tumors on her overies and was probably in immense pain every time she was picked up. No wonder she was so bitchy! We figured out that the people we got her from probably weren't worried about their son hurting the cat, but the cat had probably been scratching and biting the hell out of the kid every time he picked her up! They thought they were dumping a bad cat on us!

We had gone ahead and gotten her back feet declawed at the same time, as I didn't want another belly scar, and the vet said if that didn't do the trick, she'd take out the fangs next!

It's been five years. We treat her like an abused cat. Lots of patience. Lots of calming words. We don't pick her up unless we absolutely have to, like to load her to take for vet checkups. I do have to take her to vet for grooming, as I can't get her to sit still long enough, and she hates it, and she tries to bite them, and she has bitten a couple of them who weren't used to her 'twisty-kitty' routine. I always figured she'd be pissed when we got home and wouldn't talk to me for days, but whenever we get home I swear she has a smile of her face 'cause she feels so good.

We don't chase her, or yell at her - we let her come to us. It's taken five years, but she finally trusts Hubby and I enough that she will climb up on the arm of our chair, or on our laps, or sometimes she lays on me in bed, and she'll let us pet her... softly....softly... and when she's had enough, she'll either leave or act like she's going to bite - just a warning - a way of her saying we can stop now.

She lays around on her back. all flaked out, most of the time. Surely a sign of trust. She doesn't mind when I step over her or around her, she knows I'm not going to step on her or make her move.

One more story about Snobby... A couple of years ago we had BIL and family and MIL over for Thanksgiving dinner. I normally put the cats in the bedroom whenever I set the table formally - not that I think they'd bother anything, but I think it puts people more at ease not thinking of the cat walking over their plate. At any rate, the cats are allowed out after all the dinner is cleared and food is put away.

BIL's youngest boy must have been about 7. Did I mention he's onry? Yeah. He started stalking Snobby, wanting to pet her. Hubby said, quite clearly, "Leave that cat alone. She doesn't want to be bothered. She doesn't like people. Leave her alone."

Did I mention he doesn't mind people? Yep. So, don't ask me if Snobby had a flashback to the earlier little boy that caused her so much pain, or if she just really has good judgement, but when this kid decided he was going to pet her, she figured out that wasn't going to happen. She got so mad at him, she started stalking him! She was following him around the house, growling at him and trying to swat him... he was scared to death! Good kitty kitty!

SIL told Hubby to call off the cat... that the kid was scared. To his credit, he said, "I told him to leave her alone and he didn't. The cat is just defending herself." Good hubby hubby!

They left shortly after that. Whenever they come over, she still sits and glares at him... and he leaves her alone now.