Badger was my sister’s cat. Jenn loved him, he was HERS and well, I never expected her to die. It’s still kind of shocking and I’m still furious about it for several reasons, many of them too personal to share but in the wake of the hole she left… for good or bad… I inherited her cat.
When he first came home, he was burdened with extremely bad manners, a suspicious nature and an injured back and leg. Something had attacked him and did some major damage but he’d been healing up well. He’d been found in the back of a taco shop which everyone assumes is how he ate but to be honest, the little bastard doesn’t eat anything but dried food so I have no idea how he survived. He refuses to eat people food. Refuses. Isn’t even remotely interested. And he’s picky about the dried food he eats. Iams only. Nothing other than Iams.
When he first arrived, he was very aggressive and warned people off. He hated the dog, hated everyone in the house, and would leap at people’s faces. This was a habit I would eventually break. Actually all of his asshole behaviour would be slowly modified over a period of time by intense snuggling when he was bad and warning him to “make good choices”. He knows what he’s doing. And I also knew he would have to learn he was safe and loved and wouldn’t lack for anything.
Over time, he did realize these things and while he wasn’t a hardcore cuddler with anyone but Jenn, he was content in his life.
Then Jenn died and he became my cat.
He’s changed a bit. More reassured, probably because there was a lot of attention spent on him. The introduction of Gojira into the household meant he had someone younger to romp around with and he became the Older Brother, the Mentor of Chaos and Destruction. They have zoomies and slap fights all the time and sometimes Harley joins in. The dog, however, does not.
There is also outside time in the catio I purchased so he can sniff at the wind and lounge in the shade without fear of predators or losing him. He does ask to go out and is very vocal about when he wants to “Go To The Hamptons”. Sometimes it’s too cold and he doesn’t care but caution has to be taken since he does have healed over damage to his spine and leg and the cold will hurt. He’s never left out there alone and when he’s done with his vacationing moment, he clearly tells you he is ready to return to the indoors.
The oddest thing has been the increased cuddling. He will cuddle with people he likes now. You have to earn his trust. There’s a clear elevation of allowed touch when he likes you and Badger will approach to grace you with a snuggle when he’s felt you’ve reached that trust level. It doesn’t take long. He’s kind of a whore but I think he believes he needs to retain his badass reputation in the household.
Which while he is a powerful and large cat with a nasty hiss, he DOES make good choices and reluctantly behaves.
But he does have I NEED SNUGGLES moments. I wonder if he misses Jenn. He did love her so even with his nasty hissy personality which to be fair, sometimes she was nasty hissy too so they got on. I also know she loved him dearly and inheriting a cat often means you associate that cat with the person you lost. I try not to but I do wonder. And I hope she knows he’s loved and well-cared for. Because he is. He’s really a good cat. He tries so hard and while his nature is abrasive, he’s secure in knowing he can reach out and get love. So long as we keep his food dish full and his water bowl clean, oh and sometimes turn on the water faucet in the bathroom to a very low trickle so he can shove his head under it and drink. He’s an odd cat but I’m thankful for him.
It’s good to still have that connection and I hope to continue to make his life a happy and healthy one for many years to come.