Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A different breed of cat.

Most of my cat experience over the last decade has been with middle-aged, laid-back female cats.

Huck, on the other hand, is a swaggering, confident pirate of a red tabby tom, barely out of kittenhood and chock full of piss and vinegar.

Normally, I assume that a shouted "Hey!" or "No!", accompanied by a waving of the arm or stomping of the foot, will result in a panicked cat stopping whatever it was doing and scurrying for cover. With Huck, however, it apparently means "Game on!", as he stops what he's doing and comes at me for the fight.

It's hard to remain stern and reproving with a critter who's gallantly willing to challenge something fifteen times his own size...


Peter said...

You have what is commonly referred to as a Warrior Pussycat.

I have two of them right now, which according to the wonderful tool known as Cat Mathematics, means that I can lose triple the blood than you might with just one.

Keep reminding him that he'd make a Very Nice pair of gloves. It won't even slow hime down, but it's a comforting thought.

WV: purfanr

LabRat said...

Stingray and Zydeco became the best of buddies after a pitched midnight battle in my kitchen at the time.

Yeah. I still don't understand, but it's still a true story.

Tam said...


Oh, with Huck it's not serious. It's all a play-fight, but it's his absolute favorite hobby. It's why Rannie hates him so much: He wants to play All The Time, and she just wants to be left alone to compose goth poetry and paint her claws black...

Anonymous said...

I hate my adopted brother,
why does he fight with my mother,
twist demon of red,
I wish I was dead.

Bitter, angry I slink off alone,
all I can go is moan.
This life I cannot hack,
my brother only wants to attack.

Random Numbers

TBeck said...

Has Huck been "adjusted" yet?

Anonymous said...

If he hasn't been "adjusted" as TBeck says you want that done ASAP. We had a tom, years ago, of undetermined age. He got to maturity while we were still guessing and started marking his territory, which was our house. No amount of any known home remedy from the early 1970s would kill that smell. Oh, it was gone during the winter, but the first hot, humid day we were welcomed home by an eye-watering smell that required every window be opened wide.

North said...

I would say not an ounce over 13 times.

theirritablearchitect said...

Just remember that most cats, if they were 15 times their size, would gladly eat you.

It's just their nature.

Tim D said...

I have a big orange tabby tomcat (customized) as well. The only thing that worked for training him was blasting him in the face while he was in the act with a squirt bottle of water. It made him associate the activity with discomfort, rather than my presence. He now completely ignores my daughter's 3 parakeets in a cage on the floor, and does not climb the window screens begging to come in during the winter.

Roberta X remotely said...

Huck was "adjusted," and early on; he appears to have regarded it as a vasectomy.

You can hold him as high up as you can reach, precariously, and he wants to play-fight you, not escape. He even wants to fight me through the curtain when I'm in the shower.

(WV: "shelov" as in "She lov that cat."

North said...

"fight me through the curtain when I'm in the shower"

Well, who wouldn't? :leer:

Marja said...

One of my friends has a fixed tom who, on bad days, attacks for real. Or sort of at least, I have been in the receiving end of the anger of a really pissed off cat once (be very careful about how you separate two cats who are gearing up to a serious fight... which I knew, only I didn't quite see that the situation was that serious yet, they seemed just sort of bit wary when I decided it would be best to push the one who had just entered the room back into the other room and close the door - next thing I knew I had grown an extra cat shaped lump of tissue into my forearm:) and that tom doesn't go that far, he does bite and claw deep enough to draw blood but so far at least never deep enough to require a trip to the doctor. He stops when he gets pushed off (usually sort of thrown off, actually), most times, goes to sulk somewhere and then, after a while, starts slinking back and probably repeats the whole thing. One other days he quite the darling, but you do have to keep an eye on him every day and not touch him when it looks like a bad day.

The Duck said...

No Biggie he will out grow most of that by the time he is 3 or 4.............maybe

Midwest Chick said...

Bob was outside long enough that loud noises will indeed freak him out but he loves to grab a hand and rabbit-kick whilst nomming. He never draws blood and rarely leaves even the smallest mark.

Moriarty said...

Mine was Hairry. A scroungy, pitiful and starving stray when I found him, he beat feline leukemia and turned into sixteen pounds of raging Maine Shag.

He never backed down from anything. Twice I watched him chase much larger dogs off his territory.

Intelligent and friendly, but never "in the way," he made it to age 16 before renal failure took him.

His ashes have been the top shelf of my closet for four years, next to his favorite brush. Still can't bear to take them down.

Anonymous said...

Dandy (short for Dandelion) was like that; he took no crap from anyone, and didn't walk through the house as much as swaggered through it, and the veterinary-performed attitude adjustment didn't change his demeanor . The husky and terrier, both of whom had "assertive personalities" walked around him, and the other two cats (both girls) knew not to venture near the food dish while he was eating. From about 6 months through 12 he attacked the humans, then outgrew that; lost him at 7 to FIV, but I'll never forget him.

Paul said...

Reminds be of a tom some cousins had in Illinois. The thing got up to about 35 pounds and was a neighborhood terror.

He got a high dollar dog to chase him one time and went under a wagon. Dog poked it nose and got opened up to the bone. Cat spent a night in the people jail until it all got sorted out.

He was a mean old cat when I knew him. He did not like any one or any thing in that house. Not sure why they kept him.

David said...

Paul, My folks had a cat like that years ago. Rather I should say - we were allowed to live in the same house with a cat like that years ago.

I'm not a cat person but I love this one. My job every morning was to get my cousin out of bed, and drop him off at middle school on my way to high school. My cousin would not get up, regardless of what I did. Finally one day I was headed towards his bedroom and the large angry cat walked past me. I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and carried him down stairs giving him a shake or two to make sure he was really pissed. Then I tossed him onto my cousin's bed. My cousin got up - fast - faster than I had ever seen him move before.

The next morning I just grabbed the cat and shook it. It howled and downstairs I heard "I'm up! I'm Up! For God's sake, I'm Up!"

Two weeks later the folks up the street's ill-tempered dog got out of their backyard and was growling at snarling at a couple neighbor kids. I grabbed the cat, wandered outside and threw it at the dog. Poor beast never knew what hit it. Last time we saw the dog it was running up the street with its tail between its legs and the cat raking it's hind end with its claws.

My dad cautioned me to be careful, he didn't want me to get arrested for assault with an angry feline.

Anonymous said...

Mine are rather well-behaved, but I lived with one that had two operating modes: Asleep, and roll-in-hot. It made sleeping a very tranquil activity, as the least movement met with very strong claws.


loren said...

best way to adjust a cat is with a .22

Skip said...

They do make good banjo strings.

Tam said...


"The next morning I just grabbed the cat and shook it. It howled and downstairs I heard "I'm up! I'm Up! For God's sake, I'm Up!""

I have pulled the pin on Huck and lobbed him into Bobbi's bed to get her going in the morning before.

He'll run up to her, head-butt her forehead a couple times, lick her hand to say "Hi!" and, if she doesn't start moving by then, he'll set to gnawing on any fingers or toes that are sticking out from under the covers, hoping to start a fight... :D

Tam said...

loren, Skip,

Be sure and look for my new book, 101 Uses For A Dead Cat-Hater.

(I especially like the way they roll around on the ground and whimper "Please don't shoot me in the other kneecap!")

(What?!? C'mon, I was just joking! ;) )

Stingray said...

That battle was not pitched. I had the upper hand for at least half of if.

Well at least the last half of it.

Look, I won didn't I? Stop looking at my arms, those marks are totally birthmarks.

doubletrouble said...

Stop over my place sometime Tam; my copy of Huck (Cougar) is shown about to take on a turkey.

Brass ones, he has.

David said...

Tam, our cat wasn't looking to head butt or lick, it was looking for something eviscerate.

I only had to pull the pin on that cat two more times that year. Both worked just as well as the first time.

Years later my cousin was complaining about trying to get his kid out of bed in the morning. I chimed into the conversation with "Get an angry cat."

He visibly twitched and shivered, and eventually decided he wasn't that desperate yet.

Charlie Foxtrot said...

Had a orange tom Manx. Adjusted before he adopted us. 18 pounds, no fat, all attitude. Loved to see people bleed.

Once, he went after my 6' 10" little brother, who backhanded him across the room.

Nicest cat in the world after that. Go figure.

Dave said...

I've found the best way to adjust a rambunctious young male cat's behavior is by getting another rambunctious young male cat. The constant brawls keep them healthy, too.

DJ said...

When my Pixie was a six-month-old Tonkinese alpha-plus female, she decided to bite while laying on my lap as I sat on the couch. I screamed and jerked in reflex (you would too). Instantly, she levitated backwards about six feet high and landed on the floor about ten feet away. She was fine, but I wasn't. She associated her action with my reaction as they were not separated by more than a millisecond, and she never, ever bit or scratched anyone after that.

Will said...

Had a landlady with three BIG toms, all at least 20+ lbs. All were crazy to some extent. I like cats,but never went into a room with them without broom in hand. One evening, she knocked on a connecting door, needing some help. Her favorite had shredded her leg, laying it open to the bone. She wouldn't go to the hospital, so I took her a couple blocks over to a doctor who stitched her up. LOTS of stitches. I don't think she ever walked quite right after that episode.
The cats remained, until a relative visited her and saw the damage. I told my dad, who knew the family, and he called them for some intervention. He removed the cats, but I never found out what he did with them.

tickmeister said...

the Amish around here call cats "roof rabbits". They say they are great in chili.

Guffaw in AZ said...

My dad had a kid neighbor's black shorthair tom adopt him. This cat had been through the wars. Crooked tail, one eye missing. The kids had named him Joey. My dad named him Moshe. He and my dad would watch sports together and my dad would skritch him. No one else could touch him, not even the original kids.

Robin said...

I've got a middle-aged female cat that thinks she's in charge of the house.

I shout "no" or clap and I get a tossed look and a growled "F**k you" in cattalk.

We are changing her name to "Cranky Old Lady Cat".

wolfwalker said...

This 'whose cat is nastiest' contest is kinda fun to read, but in the cases of the ones that will actually attack people hard enough to draw blood, I can't help remembering three things:

1) cats' claws are filthy with bacteria, especially outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats.

2) cat scratches are notorious for frequently getting infected

3) septicemia is one of the few ways that even a minor wound can kill you before a doctor can do anything to save you.

Be careful with the nasty ones, do?


Anonymous said...

Catscratch fever is real - my dad got it from an accidental puncture received at the paw of his startled pussycat. Made Dad really sick, got the cat quarantined by the Sheriff. All is well now, and Dad makes sure "Gator" is fully aware before attempting to lift said feline.


WV: chlies - yummy hot things that go with cold beer

Anonymous said...

I knew a nasty cat like that once.

It made the mistake of deciding that a 200lb Great Dane could be intimidated. ( Actually good odds since most of them are quite gentle.)

The great Dane, ambushed & shocked & bleeding, turned and snapped.

I am reliably informed that the front half of the cat looked rather surprised that the back half was no longer responding to commands. But not for long.

The Great Dane was abashed.

Tam said...


Did I tell you about the dog down the street that thought it could beat a car?

The stunned look on its face as it bled out in the ditch was hilarious! :)

North said...

Tam: Did you poke it with a stick and laugh? That is what I would do... when I'm not heartwarmingly amused by other animals suffering.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to warn you as I have much experience with Tom Cats. Never show fear, say it once in a normal tone of voice and then spray the hell out of them with water if there is no compliance.

Also, they test whether someone is worth being friends with by fighting with them first (don't all males?). You must win or they think they are the Alpha of the house. DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN!

I had a 25 pound Persian male who basically ruled the entire neighborhood and actually ATE the eye off a Mastiff that had the audacity to walk by our home and bark at him. My parents were horrified (they had yelled at the guy to get back with his dog and he kept saying "Don't worry, I won't let him hurt your cat") and tried to pay for the surgery. The guy just begged them not to tell anyone.

The same cat never so much as hurt the birds and squirels that would come eat food on the porch in front of him. But would attack dogs in seconds with ligtening speed if they barked too much (I am talking a rotweiler, a chow pitbull mix, the mastiff and the large retreiver that was stupid enough to bark at him from a friends van when they were dropping me off..not including the three terriers that my family owned that regularly were slapped when they got too yippy...we didn't mind that actually). This is not including all the male cats in the neighborhood that he beat the crap out of and the occasionally person (he really hated one of my uncles and my uncle finally stopped coming over because he was sure he was going to take a chunk out of him).

Ahh, have fun, because the spraying thing only works while they are young and once they hit the teen years and older they rarely give a crap what you have to say. At that point, be sure to be the one with the good treats and they will love and worship you. LOL. I miss that cat, what a great cuddler!

Tam said...


"Tam: Did you poke it with a stick and laugh? That is what I would do... when I'm not heartwarmingly amused by other animals suffering."

Apparently it's cool if the animal in question is a cat. :rolleyes:

North said...

Yeah, I followed that. Disturbing how many times I witness people coming up with stories about torturing animals - always cats.

I knew a guy growing up that put a cat in a small box and beat it with a bat. Bragged about it. Last I heard he was murdered in jail. Yes, that is a sample of one.

*gives Huck a virtual warm petting*

Shane said...

A friend had a cat named Satan whose favorite pastime was to lure large dogs into the gap between two parked cars. Then he'd turn and nail them. The vet bill for one german shepherd was over a grand -- and this was around twenty years ago.

Kristophr said...

What is it about pets fighting that brings out the cruel streak in people?

Yes, a male kitten wanting to take on the world is cute.

But the Vick wannabes can crawl back into their holes please.

Anonymous said...

My cat George was like that. He chased a 70 pound rhodesian mix around for fun.

George could do the same. However, he was felled by cancer just shy of 10 years old.

I miss him. George was 17 pounds of (fixed) Maine Coon Tomcat. He wasn't very social. But, he was a good cat. And, after the first 8 years, he deduced that we weren't out to get him.

He also loved to poop while my wife was showering ... to stench the place up, I guess!

Ulises from CA

LabRat said...

Apparently it's cool if the animal in question is a cat. :rolleyes:

'taint just that. Ever notice how it's very nearly always men, and usually aimed at a woman, on the "hur hur chicks get upset about that stuff" school of humor?

Remember that long exchange I had with Peter?


rickn8or said...

"He did not like any one or any thing in that house. Not sure why they kept him."

Mebbe they were hoping for burglars??

Anonymous said...

Have you tried a spray bottle of water? It seems to be highly effective.

Anonymous said...

I've got a little 10 lb red tabby that's just as fiesty, too. He is NOT a calm lap cat. He even growls at the (very large) dogs outside.

Love him to death, he's a great cat, doesn't puke or cough up hairballs, hardly leaves any hair around, isn't loud or obnoxious usually. I do love to chase and aggravate him (best way to do so is to pick him up and snuggle him, he does not like that, it makes him groan).