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.
well…..I don’t know about you, but I always very content with licking myself 😉
It seems like Wendell is my soul sister as well. I even enjoy sweets and meat (and not always in moderation). Then again, you know that you I are probably long lost cousins anyhow. You know, us and our dupas.
Wendell is a cutie. And it must be nice to have a soul sister who can’t bitch back at you…although she does have claws…
I’m really sorry to hear about your mom’s struggles with chronic pain. I know how frustrating, isolating, and difficult it can be not only for her but her loved ones as well. Thank goodness she has a compassionate daughter like you!
I love Wendell! (To be honest, at first I wondered if Wendell was the cat or the little gnome in her head. I know you name your gnomes. ;)) Especially, I love this: “She’s perceived as antisocial at times, but is really quite the opposite and has a great heart.” Oh, I can identify so much with that! I think if I was ever going to have a pet, it would be a cat. Or a turtle. I can identify with them.
I’m not sure what it says about me that you know I have a named gnome, but I’ll go with it 😉
Love the picture of Wendell in the hat. She looks like she *LOVES* it.
One thing I love about cats, is there is no hiding if they like you or not. But this can be a good or bad thing. Good if it tends to like me more than my husband, bad if the opposite.
They are super smart too, but why do they sometimes like to sleep in their litterbox?? I never understood that. We will no doubt get an animal once we move, but I’m not sure what yet. I’d love to get a cat, but I don’t want it jumping on my countertops. They walk around in their litter box, so it would gross me out a little if their poopy paws infected my counters…
Part of me wants a dog, but you have to TEACH them to crap and stuff outside. With a cat, show them the litter box once and thats it. I dono. We have plenty of time to think about it…
If my cat–or any pet, for that matter–walked on the countertop, it would be the last time. Luckily Wendell has the athletic motivation of a sloth.
What a great post! It sounds like your cat has all of the personality that my Bailey does. I had a cat that I had to leave with my parents when I moved out, too. He was just as hornery. 🙂 I’m going to enjoy this blog, I can tell! So glad you found me.
Now I have that song in my head. Good thing I like that song 🙂 I wanted to cry when you said you were in 6th grade when this song was out though. I can’t recall exactly what grade I was in but it sure as hell was not 6th. I’m pretty sure I saw this band at Lollapalooza…oh how I miss the ’90s.
Your cat is awesome. And so are you!
P.S. I’ve seen people walking their cats on leashes out here. Just so wrong in so many ways.