On tigers, and why I am one


julius_fat_on_couch_2
photo by Clarabelle Fields

Tigers, those majestic king-beasts of the feline world, are famous for a number of reasons. They fierce and capable hunters, routinely bringing down large prey in amazing feats of physical performance, and in addition to their athletic prowess, they are dazzlingly handsome, their beautiful stripes and bright eyes enchanting all those who see them. Further, firmly striking their identity apart from that of your average, everyday feline, they enjoy water and swim in it when they want to, something that we would hardly ever see your everyday feline do. Taking these qualities into account, I think it’s safe to say that I, too, must be some form of marvelous tiger, since I exhibit all the traits of one of these magnificent creatures.

I always suspected that I was a descendant of tigers, even if nobody told me. Perhaps they were trying to conceal my regal heritage from me, but that ruse could only be kept up for so long. Royal blood always emerges sooner or later. My physical similarity to tigers is undeniable–anyone who looks at me for so much as a second certainly must recognize the familial relation. I have the orange stripes, the eyes, the gait, the broad, imposing face. The only thing I am really lacking is stature, and that can be made up for with confidence, of which I have plenty.

Like my mighty relatives, I also love water. My human was surprised when spritz-bottles did nothing to discourage me. She was surprised to find me in the bath tub when it still had water in it. She was also surprised to find me tolerating baths unperturbed, especially if the water was warm. Yes, I love water. I love to stick my paws in it, my face in it, my tail in it. She fills up the sink for me to have as a giant water bowl, but I like water best if it’s being used by someone else. I investigate every cup that people leave out. I don’t care if my belly gets wet when I’m stealing a drink out of the tub. I put my paws in the toilet and drink out of it too. My human has given up trying to stop me. Silly human, toilet water is what keeps me so healthy!

When provided with this evidence, who could deny my relation to those tigers? The resemblance is uncanny, with a brilliant personality to match.

The Gremlins in My Litter Box


juliusinbag

Recently, I have had the misfortune of being persecuted, my dear followers, by what I can only assume are gremlins in my litter box. I have no idea why these invisible creatures have chosen to come after me, especially now. At troubled points in my past, I dealt with their curmudgeonly attacks, and I dealt with these attacks largely in silence. These attacks, although irritating, would eventually pass, and I would forget about them until they would inevitably return one day without warning. Sometimes weeks would pass where I would be left undisturbed, and I would relish those weeks, relish the freedom of being able to use the litter box in peace. Other times, I would have to grit my teeth, knowing that the gremlins would emerge and make my litter box an unpleasant place whenever I attempted to do anything. I was brave for a long time, enduring the gremlins, but eventually it became too much for me. I had to seek out alternative options just to try to escape them. I tried to use other places–the bed, the couch, the rug, hidden corners around the house. The gremlins still managed to find me. Now I wasn’t safe anywhere in the house, and I started hissing at them. They were lurking invisibly around me, everywhere. I just wanted to win back the trust and peace I had formerly enjoyed in my litter box.

I had tried to tell various humans about this at points when it got especially bad. My humans didn’t seem to understand my distress. They thought I was just being a bad-tempered emperor, upset by the rearrangement of furniture in my palace. Some vets didn’t understand me either, saying it was just because I was fussy about my litter. It’s the gremlins, I kept saying, it’s the gremlins, but my cries fell on deaf ears for a long time. It was really the hissing and the madness that got my humans’ attention–finally, at last, someone was aware of my struggle with these gremlins.

I almost regretted bringing their awareness to it at first. I can’t count the number of times I got stuffed in the dreaded cat carrier and hauled to a vet. The number of times I saw the cold insides of that vet’s office! The number of times I got poked and prodded! The number of times I was forced to eat horrible, bitter liquids! But whatever they did to me, as awful as it was, chased the gremlins away, at least for now. It’s hard to believe that they’re actually gone and won’t torment me anymore.

Love at First Sight? Meeting My Forever Human (Julius’ Adoption Story)


Do you believe in love at first sight? I definitely do, because that is exactly what happened with me and my human Clarabelle when we found each other two and a half years ago. Until then, I had experienced a life of heartbreak and false love. My first human family brought me to the shelter when I was just a little kitten. They already had a house full of cats and didn’t want to deal with another crying mouth. Then my next human returned me after only a few months. She was too busy to play with me and left me alone a lot of the time.

I was back in the shelter again, this time for the longest, most miserable stretch of my life. The vets said I needed a special diet that was very expensive, so most humans, even though they were nice to me and cuddled me, didn’t want to take me home with them. I was very sad most of the time. I kept hoping that someone would take me away from the cold, noisy shelter, but they never did. They would play with me and snuggle me until they saw the sign on my cage alerting them to my health problems, and then they would always back away, turning their affection to some other, less expensive cat.

So that’s where I stayed for a long, lonely year, always getting my hopes up and always having my heart broken. Then, one day, after so many days of hoping and waiting, my forever human came. I had been sitting in the lap of one of the shelter workers, and she had been saying kind things to me to keep my spirits up. My forever human spoke to her, asking for a cat that would be cuddly and sweet and all the things that I already was. The shelter worker offered me, and my forever human sat down beside us. She had a soft, gentle voice and a soft, gentle manner, and I knew in that moment I wanted her as my forever human. I had to win her heart before it was too late — I leaped into her lap, throwing my paws around her neck, pressing my face against hers. I purred as loud as I could purr. My human, my human! And she put her arms around me, and I knew from her eyes that she loved me too.

Then came the true test — she saw the warning sign on my cage, the curse of my affliction. She asked about it. They explained. The numbers sent darkness flashing through her face. $80 cat food. Vet bills. Worry. This was the point at which the humans would leave. They would smile hesitantly at me, remove themselves, and walk away. But she didn’t. She held onto me. She kept her arms around me.

juliusandme2
photo by Clarabelle Fields

Eventually, she had to let me go. It was nearly closing time, and the adoption window for the day was closed. But I knew from her touch and her cuddles that she had fallen as much in love with me as I had with her. As she was leaving, she saw another woman finding me, leaning over to love me. I had my eyes on my human. She darted back inside, began to pet me again, and said to the other woman: “He’s so sweet, isn’t he? I would love to take him, but his food is so expensive…” Perfect. The other woman made a disgusted face, immediately withdrew. My human hugged me again. She would be back. I knew she would.

The next day dawned more glorious than any other day. She came, my forever human, just like I knew she would. From the other room, I heard the staff saying to her: “Ma’am, we don’t have everything open yet–you’ll have to wait until noon, is that okay?”

And she sat and waited. And waited. And she let everybody know she had come for me, only me.

After the longest wait of my life, which felt longer than the year I had been in the shelter, they brought me out to her, and we were finally together and going home. My human, my human, my human. I finally had a human to call my own, and she was my forever human. I knew she would never leave me or give me up. She snuggled me and cuddled me and gave me a million kisses on my little head. She is still my forever human, and she always will be.

julius_snuggly
photo by Clarabelle Fields

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