The day I saw you at the animal shelter, I was not convinced.
A while before my dear old boy Rocky had passed away and mum took me to the shelter under the guise of dropping off some donations. She persuaded me to take a look in the cattery, where it turned out she had already been to the shelter and picked you out – we were there to take you home.
Yeah, I was totally not convinced. You were massive, pretty much the biggest domestic cat I had ever seen (its possible you had been surviving on a diet of babies and small children). You growled like a dog. At everything. You hated me, you hated the cat box, you really hated the ride in the car. When we got home we opened the cat box to let you walk on out. Instead you sat in it for an hour or two, growling continuously. You terrified most of the family.
When you finally came out of the box you looked around with disdain.
Three weeks we kept you inside the house. Much longer than is usually required to acclimatise a new pet before allowing them the freedom of the outdoors, but we thought you needed it. You still weren’t responding in any way to your name, in fact you weren’t responding to any human words at all – we started to consider the possibility that you might be deaf. After a particular incident of you hurling your weighty girth several times at the window, we decided it was time to let you out either way. It soon became apparent that you were not deaf, we were merely beneath your notice.
You demanded attention when it suited you – picking you up when you weren’t in the mood for a cuddle would elicit a throaty growl.
When we brought home your adopted kitten brother, Tybalt Eskabar Jones III, you made him welcome in your own unique way – by punching him in the face when he dared greet you. Your relationship with him continued this way for many years, him seeking your love and approval, you beating him like a drum. Finally many years later you decided to just do as you do with everyone/thing else, and ignore him.
As you aged, you gave the appearance of having mellowed, but we often suspected this was a façade to ensure you had a family to care for you in your dotage. Even so, your growling decreased and you were happier to be cuddled.
When we took you to the vets on your last day there was, fittingly, a sign on the wall that read – “dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are god”.