He and my husband are not on speaking terms; they only hiss at each other. He is convinced that Cyrus is going to pounce on him at any moment. Okay, maybe he did one time, but that’s not the point.
My sister Andi likes to ask him (Cyrus, not my husband) why he always wears white pants and a black jacket.
He bats at the spikey balls that have fallen on the balcony, and then runs away. He does the same thing with bugs.
I first met Cyrus at the animal shelter in Martinez, California, in January of 2002. Most of the other animals had signs on their cages that said things like “destroys furniture” or “attacks children”. His said “found in field” and his “expiration date” was six days away. When I picked him up he clung to me with no intention of letting go. So I asked him if he wanted to come home with me.
I named him after Cyrus the Great of Persia, and because I like names like that. He has moved with me six times, and lived in three states across the country. He’s an indoor cat that likes to go outside sometimes as long as the door is left open so he can dash back inside if he sees his own shadow. My husband says he’s a scaredy cat. Most of our friends have never seen him.
He doesn’t have a real meow, but makes a sound more along the lines of a bird chirp.
He mostly behaves and is not allowed on counters or tables. Before we moved into our current abode I used to cover the furniture with sheets at night so he wouldn’t get cat hair all over everything. Now we have a sunroom and that’s where his litter box, cat carrier/grotto, and the playhouse and kitty couch that I made out of cardboard boxes are. At night, and when we’re not home, I just close the door.
For several days after I brought him home from the shelter I thought something was wrong with his back legs. He didn’t walk upright, but rather slinked. When he finally did walk upright it was as though a miracle had happened.
When he wasn’t slinking around he was on my lap, which seemed to be normal, cat-like behavior. But that hasn’t happened since that first week. Mostly he likes to sit somewhere near me, but not be touched.
Did I mention he had worms and kennel cough?
Cyrus loves to lie in the sun like a lizard and will follow its rays as they move across the room. If he catches me watching him he sits up straight and tall, waits for a moment, and then comes running to me, whether I’ve called him or not.
When I leave the apartment and ask him to go in the sunroom he usually gives me a chirp or two, then gets up lazily and walks into the sunroom. Don’t tell me he doesn’t understand me.
I’ve left him by himself for up to ten days at a time with massive bowls of food and water. I’m never worried about him when I leave. But the whole way home I can’t stop thinking, “I hope he’s not dead”.
Cyrus may be more than a little skittish, but I love to watch him observe the world around him. His ears finely tuned to every rustle of leaves, every flap of a wing, with his eyes wide, catching every flash of movement. Not that he’d actually pounce on anything other than a dried leaf (and my husband that one time).
But he’s my gato and I love him.
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