All larger-than-life entities have a creation myth, and this is the creation myth of Siegfried Oswald Kittycat. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Siegfried is, by leaps and bounds, the Best Cat Ever. Even when he was but a little sprout, he showed promising signs of his current Siegfried-ness.
I have volunteered off and on for the SF-SPCA over the years. My official volunteer title is Cat Socializer. This means that I wander from kitty condo to kitty condo and hang out with the kitties. I should mention that the SF-SPCA is a very special place. It’s a no-kill shelter, and they’ve had a lot of animal-loving rich people endow them exceedingly generously so that they have a top of the line vet hospital, and a new, super-nice and architectural adoption building. Each kitty and doggy has a large “condo”, a room-size area of their own. The kitties have cat trees and comfy cat beds, and some have TVs playing bird and fish nature shows, and electric fireplaces to warm the fur. It’s almost hard to believe how nice the place is, though there’s always the misery-guts type who will moan about how humans don’t get as nice of treatment. Yeah, maybe they don’t. But this SPCA made a special effort to spend a lot of money to keep their animals in real comfort and a healthy mental state, and that’s their game.
As a volunteer, I came to recognize certain types of kittens that stood out from the rest. There would always be one kitten in particular that was Mr. Personality, and was far more interested in playing with you, the human, than his litter mates. Siegfried was one of these types. He was in a condo with two other all-black kittens who were unrelated, but born within days of each other. (Siegfried was born at a foster-care household, and stayed with his mum and siblings until 3 months of age–the standard at this SPCA. I adopted him the second day after he arrived at the shelter.) The two other kittens were shy around me, and played with each other, and Siegfried. Siegfried himself was a different story. From the first time I stepped into his condo, he was all over me. He trotted up with his long skinny black tail straight up in the air and mewed–the first of many from a very talkative cat. I picked him up, and he crawled onto my shoulder and perched there, something he still loves to do. He had a lot of energy and was kind of hyper, bordering on skittish. He seemed to be very intelligent and “on” all the time, his giant round eyes always wide-open/bug-eyed and pupils dilated as he took in everything around him. This is one of the things that I love about him–that he’s not a cuddly lap cat, but a very active and observant dude who always has something going on.
It was obvious from the get-go that Siegfried was the cat to adopt, and he was really cute too: huge bat-like ears, giant-size round golden eyes, and pointy triangular wedge of a head with a long nose, a long skinny body, and a really long black tail that was the circumference of a pencil–like a little whip. His black and white tuxedo markings were adorable, and it was apparent that he would have very short hair from his sparse, super-short kitten fur. And he had the longest bright white whiskers I’ve ever seen on a cat.
True to form, Siegfried grew into the kind of cat who doesn’t know he’s a cat. He hangs out constantly with his favorite human, (he’s never not within 2 feet of me) and acts as if he were a special, favored member of our tribe. Just as I was writing this, he stood upon a ledge of his cat tree and loudly demanded that I join him at his dinner bowl and pet him as he eats, a behavior about which he is amusingly obsessive. About 10 minutes later, he was at it again, this time standing on his hind legs and impatiently batting me with his paw, like “Come on, mum!”
He spends a good deal of his day surveying his realm from the top ledge of his 6-foot cat tree. If you walk by and are foolish enough to be within paws-length, you will get a swipe. Somehow I still forget this, and he’ll make me jump as he tags the side of my head. I first brought home this all-important piece of furniture when he’d been with me for about a week. After hauling it home in the back of a taxi and wrestling it up my stairs, he immediately knew that this was Something For Him, and he started climbing all over the thing before I even got it into the doorway of my room.
If he’s not in his tree, then he’s in his Kitty Tent.
He loves to play, waaay more than most cats out of their kittenhood, and I’ll swear he has a sense of humour. He gets up to the goofiest things, making me break out in real laughter at least once a day. Like the newspaper. Reading a newspaper or magazine around Siegfried is asking for it. They are not something to read, they are something to play with!
Yes, I am a total Cat Lady about Siegfried. My roommate, who is also a Cat Lady, and I can go on oohing and ahhing for hours about that cute thing that Siegfried did. But I’ve had a number of cats, and he really is hilarious–and something very special. Mr. Siegfried Oswald Kittycat: Ruler of the Realm.