This is Wendell.
I don’t really have a more recent picture of her, but this one pretty much sums up her enthusiasm.
Wendell is 16 years old, and even though I moved out of my mom’s house a couple of years ago, I still consider her my cat.
She was homeless and rescued as a kitten, taken in by my mom and named after a song about a homeless man—Mr. Wendell—from an obscure band that was popular for an hour when I was in sixth grade.
I’m pretty sure her senility has kept her from noticing my absence, but it could just be her arrogance refusing to acknowledge my move all of three miles away. When I stop by she will occasionally make an effort to say hello, if it’s convenient for her, and it recently occurred to me that even though she only has one tooth, matted hair and a crooked crotch—we’re actually a lot alike.
Behold the evidence:
The Hermit Stage
We enjoyed her company for a good 8-9 years before she decided to disappear for a spell, surfacing only to occasionally eat, use the litter box and let us know precisely how uninterested she was in our existence.
As she aged, she went through a “rebirth” of sorts and emerged as a spry yet slightly senile and skinnier version of her former self. For the past couple years she’s been happy, fun and entertaining again, if not a little prone to selective hearing and occasional undereating.
When it comes to dealing with others, she takes no shit. Don’t bother
me her when I’m she’s sleeping, don’t bother her when she’s eating and don’t bother her if she’s going to the bathroom. If you follow those rules, you’re probably safe.
She’ll let you know if you’re not.
She’s perceived as antisocial at times, but is really quite the opposite and has a great heart.
When people try to get close to her, she often runs away until it’s convenient for her. But if ignored, she will make her presence known through subtle physical cues—a vocal range of noises that make sense only to her and/or awkward physical gestures that may include swipes with unmanicured claws or vain attempts to bite that result in a pathetic painless gumming.
* For the record, we will apply the gumming and clawing to me in a metaphorical sense, as even though I don’t get manicures and have all of my teeth, I have yet to resort to blatant physical attacks.
Even though she’s thin, she will only eat organic dry cat food and occasional treats as her mood will allow. While she’s been offered a variety of brands and options to try, she’s dead-set on organic or nothing at all. Budget be damned.
We differ in that she does enjoy sweets and meats, in moderation.
Thrill of the Hunt
She loves it.
When the mood hits and a bug appears, she will delight in chasing a fly around. Batting it here and trapping it there, she will let it escape before claiming her dominance once again. Once she gets it—the fly and the reassurance that she still has it—she gets bored and moves on.
Catnip makes her happy and she’s very content to lick herself (and appears to neither desire nor require a partner in this activity.)
She finds joy in eating, sleeping, laying in a patch of sun and aimlessly chasing after the light from a laser pen or a reflection on the wall. And as we know, I do as well.
Of course we have our differences—namely the fact that she’s a cat with only one tooth, matted hair and a crooked crotch—but some are more subtle.
- I have two legs and she has four, four that are quite hairy. While I’ve never “enjoyed” shaving—and would question anyone who does, quite frankly—I take this female burden in stride. She opts to play the feline vs. female card and has never voluntarily had her excessive body hair removed.
- Financially speaking, she’s basically played the “I was homeless and orphaned” card for 16 years, meaning she’s never had a job, paid taxes or contributed monetarily to the household. While we differ in that respect, I have to give her props for pulling it off so well.
- Finally, she doesn’t enjoy the outdoors. Attempts to put her on a leash and roam the backyard have resulted in not-so subtle physical cues—a vocal range of ungodly loud noises and ninja-like physical gestures that included swipes with unmanicured claws, bites that resulted in somehow breaking skin with the one tooth that she has and an unpleasant spraying of urine (hers, not mine.)
Although we have our differences, I love the little one-toothed wonder. So when I stop by I occasionally make an effort to say hello—if it’s convenient for her, of course—brush her a bit and offer some catnip.
With us Leos, flattery won’t get you everywhere, but it can get your furry foot in the door.
After all, it takes one to know one.