Spaztory #1

shady spazWelcome to Spaztory—the history of Spaz, my orange tabby. I thought I’d start his posts with how Spaz came to us.

I was at work for Spaz’s advent. My husband told me he was making dinner when he heard a fearsome scream of pain and fear outside. Thinking an animal was run over, he raced to the front door and threw it open. That’s when an orange blur sped past Norman, into the safe harbor of the house. Looking down the street, he saw a larger, growling blur run down the street.

At first the refugee hid under a bed. Feeling braver, he eventually made his way to the kitchen and devoured Toulouse’s (my calico) kibble. After drinking copious amounts of water, he started a cautious inspection of the house.

That’s about when I came home. Asking Norman, “Why are you acting so weird?” and then spying the handsome arrival, I cried “Who’s the cute little baby?!” As the little boy (what a tiny, skinny baby he was) inspected our home, I followed him with Norman following me, crying admonishments in vain. “We don’t need another animal!” “I’m sure he has a perfectly good home. That mean cat just scared him and he ran in here.” “You’ll see. He’ll go back to his home tomorrow.”

It was plain, though that the orange stranger had decided this was his home. You could almost see the wheels turning in his bullet head. “Hmmm, house cats get bowls of food that magically refill.” “House cats have private bathrooms.” “Toys—housecats get toys too?!” “That catnip is the bomb!” “Man, this is the life. I’m movin’ in.”

Move in he did, despite Norman’s vehement objections. He insisted, based on the boy’s affectionate ways and immediate compliance with the litter box, that he must already have a home.

Next day, walking his Pomeranian, Chloe, Norman asked every house he passed if anyone was missing a young, orange tom. Not only did he keep encountering negative responses, one neighbor told him of a house with dozens of ferals they weren’t caring for. All the cats were orange tabbies and in desperate need of caring homes.

At this point, Norman resigned himself but it turned out the choice wasn’t his. Seeing Norman out with the dog, our foster turned stalker and started running after Norman, meowing at the top of his lungs. “You will adopt me!!!” “You will love me!!!”

That’s when the great Name Debate began. I opted for Shady, because throughout the day, he’d leave us for awhile only to reappear in the courtyard. I texted Norman ‘Guess Who’s Back?’ and it reminded me of the Eminem song. Norman said, “No. Look at him. He’s such a Spaz.” I countered that would be like naming him Dopey or Stupid and Norman said, “Exactly.”

Over time, it became clear that when God passed out feline grace and agility, our Spaz was nowhere to be found. He’d see Toulouse make a running leap for the window, try the same move, and wind up in a bewildered heap on the floor. We have a mental gate on our front door. Norman would open the door in the morning to take Chloe on her walk. Spaz, determined to have his morning walk, would run at the door and smack headfirst into the gate. He’d shake his head and give Norman a bewildered look. “Man, I always forget the gate.”

Still, I resisted naming him Spaz. He got his neutering and vaccinations under the name Shady Baker. Things came to a head one day when Norman shouted urgently, “Trisha! Get in here.” I came into the kitchen and saw bright droplets of blood on the floor. Norman held the cat so I could see his rear and said solemnly, “I think he has a hemorrhoid.”

Of course I called his vet and she said, “Hemorrhoids are very dangerous in cats. Bring him in right away.”

I raced him over there and she got Shady? on the examining table. Lifting his tail, she said, “Oh that’s not a hemorrhoid. He must’ve cut himself. Put some salve on it and he’ll be fine.”

I said, “Are you sure?” and she told me to come look. I did and plainly it was a cut. Relieved though I was, the look on the cat’s face was priceless. Spaz is a terrible patient and the vet’s assistant was holding him splayed down. Spread eagle with his tail lifted by the vet, his expression plainly said, “Would you perverts stop staring at my ass?”

Getting back home, Norman and I speculated on how a cat could cut his butt. That’s when we remembered, the day before Toulouse was nimbly walking on the top of our fence. Again, Spaz tried to copy her elegant moves and stumbled. That must be when he cut himself.

After that, I couldn’t object to naming him Spaz. Any cat that cuts his ass is plainly spastic. Spaz he became and Spaz he remains.



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