x365: 18 of 365: Onion

[As pictured in the previous entry]

In September 2005 we brought Oscar home from the Humane Society, a sleepy black runt of a cat who moved us with his quiet behaviour. The little room where we met him smelled of piss, fear and death, but he was the only one not pacing, scratching or leaping at the cage doors. Instead, he sniffed our fingers through the grille and extended a paw.

It turned out that his docility stemmed from malnutrition and illness. Throughout the first weeks in our apartment, Schmutzie heated his food in the microwave and took him to the water dish to drink. He would have died otherwise.

Once he healed, the passive stage ended, going straight to manic aggression. He would leap out at us from behind doors, jump into the bathtub and throw his tiny body around, and bite Schmutzie's feet when he wanted attention of any kind (my feet were spared). Plus he was loud. He had a whole repertoire of calls and plaints, each one sufficient to shake us out of sleep. Despite these bad habits, he was also one of the friendliest and smartest cats we'd ever known, so we were determined to figure out a solution for his and our problems.

Eventually we figured out that he needed a pet of his own to abuse.

Back we went to the Humane Society. None of the cats really caught our eye, but there was a woman there, clearly crazy, who'd come to adopt a beautiful Dalmation. The staff were doing everything possible to keep the woman from taking the dog home. We made a tentative choice: an older cat that rolled on its belly when we approached the cage, with a body and a demeanour like a fur stole.

On the way home we stopped at a pet store that had Humane Society animals for adoption. In one of the cages a scrawny, long-limbed kitten with manic eyes and oversized paws stepped back and forth. We took him out and he draped himself over our shoulders right away. As I was signing the papers, he was attacking the pen. The forms bear several ink slashes from his swiping paw.

Now he's huge. Where Oscar is graceful, Onion is an oaf who runs into the furniture. When Oscar need to beat someone up, he attacks Onion, who is twice his size and still expanding. He brings balance to The Force our household and allows Schmutzie to walk around barefoot.