Spike: an Introduction

I think most everybody who comes by here knows about my three-legged roommate, Spike, but in case some new folks drop in — everyone’s welcome! — I decided I was being remiss by leaving him out.

Spike is my unreformed hellion of an alley cat, except he lives indoors. I stole him from a neighbor who didn’t take care of him, and let him keep living outside even after he had The Operation that makes males more bearable. Then he was attacked by a dog (I lived in a neighborhood where it wouldn’t have been out of place to see Michael Vick walking his victims) and had a severely injured hind leg removed. He’s lived in the house since then, although I doubt he’s ever stopped plotting his jailbreak. It would be completely inappropriate to feel sorry for him, since among his other accomplishments, he can still outrun me.

Spike’s temperament is a lot like mine, which is to say stubborn and grumpy. He’s not a cat who can be reasoned with. The best I can do is impose a couple of house rules. He stays on a fairly strict diet: I have a terrific vet, and she points out that an obese cat balancing on three legs is a hazard for his health and my peace of mind. Spike also gets a joint supplement so he can keep climbing and running, and has his teeth cleaned every couple of years. If I had a child, I doubt I’d be this particular about its health.

Spike doesn’t purr out loud. Sometimes I can feel him purr, if he’s lying on top of me napping, or if I stroke his throat, but for some reason, the old rumbling freight-train purr he had before he was attacked is gone. He’s also a very aggressive cat. Whenever I play with him, I’ll walk away with at least one fairly deep scratch on my hand or arm, and he bites nearly to the point of drawing blood. This doesn’t particularly bother me. In fact, I sort of empathize with the impulse.

A Spike vignette that will reveal a lot about him: in the winter, he sits on the house’s heating vents. This will knock the temperature down noticeably in any room, so I don’t allow him to block the vent in my living room or bedroom. Oil is expensive and I’m cold enough already. This leads to a battle of wills, which I only win because I’m bigger and can grab him up from the living room vent and plunk him down in the kitchen. This earns me a glare that could freeze hell. When I’m asleep or away, it’s understood that I don’t care where he sits.

On New Year’s Eve, John stayed over to watch football with me. He slept on the couch because his snoring in bed is too much for me. It could disrupt air traffic or radio waves. He awoke from a doze and noticed the room had become colder, and saw Spike parked on the heating vent. So John did what I do: picked up the cat and took him to the kitchen, where he sat him down on the kitchen vent with a couple of treats. Then John went back to the couch.

A few minutes later, Spike sauntered back into the living room — a three-legged saunter is actually quite impressive — and sat back down on the vent.

John said, “You know you’re not supposed to be there.”

Spike fixed him with a look. “He flexed on me,” John said later, in disbelief. He watched the cat for a few more seconds, and Spike returned the gaze with one of his own that clearly said This is my house and She isn’t in the room — leave it alone, dude.

John let him stay.

He’s a great cat to have, as long as I keep in mind that he’s more like a roommate that I feed than a pet.

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11 Responses to “Spike: an Introduction”

  1. Aw.

    Will Spike be making an appearance here?

  2. TheOtherIvy Says:

    A woman and her cat. You two sound paired well.
    Doubly funny that not only did the cat get special delivery to another register with treats but also that he returned.
    There seems to be a community of unique cats here.

  3. Spike is so very cool. The two of you are a perfect pair; I bet you have a glare just like his.

  4. I just know that if I ever had the pleasure of meeting Spike I’d love him. I like cats with attitude.

  5. pandemonic Says:

    Spike is way cool. But he’d better not come around my little kitty, even if he is fixed!

  6. I’m considering bringing him here. Actually I should put him on AC and let the little monster earn his keep.
    Well, that’s kind of a mean thing to say. I’ve been sick as hell all day and he’s spent most of it with me, although I suspect the electric blanket has a lot to do with that…

  7. Gus says to tell him Hi.

  8. Fucking cat.

  9. (John, you’re a sore loser. 😉 )

    You and Spike are lucky to have each other.

  10. Spike is clearly very cool, but I’m even more impressed by how well-trained John is.

  11. He took a lot more work than Spike…

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