Battle Cat

The Cast: Cats (Demon Spawn), My Feelings Toward Cats (I have them).

There were times when he would come to school with his arms still bleeding.

Yes, that previous sentence is 100% true. But it won’t really come into play until later in the story. And, I’ll probably hide the relevance of it within other stuff that may seem unrelatable. So, if you want to know what it’s all about, you’re just going to have to read the whole story.

Just a few days ago, my wife and I were talking about something (I honestly don’t remember what it was we had started to talk about but the end topic was about cats and this is what got me to thinking about cats and my feelings toward them—I don’t like them). Now, before I get a bunch of comments about what a horrible person I am for not liking cats (although getting a lot of comments would be super-cool—even if they were negative—because I think the most comments any one story of mine has had was three, at best—but don’t leave negative comments just to leave negative comments as that is just mean), just keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their opinions. And my strong dislike of cats is not entirely true. Just mostly.

So anyway, my wife and I were talking and we got onto the subject of cats and I mentioned my friend Chris Janes and his cat. I liked Chris. We had been friends in elementary school for about 3–4 years. If I hadn’t moved to another state, we probably would still be friends (there were no ‘online’ communities to stay in touch with back then). I enjoyed spending time at his house. His family was nice, his dad was a Vietnam Veteran, there were two younger brothers (twins), his mother, and their cat.

Now, I hadn’t really had any pets. We had fish (hated them). There were the two days where we watched over somebody’s puppies. And then there were the stories of a dog that existed before I was born, so… Yeah. No pets, really. So, I wasn’t really prepared for the kind of behavior that the Janes’ cat exhibited. Whenever I was at their house during the day, the cat appeared to be a normal cat: Laying about and doing nothing all day. But at night it was a different story. Like a Jekyll & Hyde sort of story.

Author’s Note: Just to be clear, I did eventually have pets later in life, as a teen and as an adult. But at the point in time of telling this story, I hadn’t really had any, so I’m not lying about not having pets, but I don’t want you to think that I never had any pets and was some sort of sad child that just hated animals because all I had was fish. Additionally, if you do know me you might be thinking: “Um, I know you had pets because I’ve been to your house and I’ve seen them.” Or, you might be thinking: “Um, I’ve read Duchess and the Lady. A dog’s life. So I know you had a dog! So there!” Yes, all that is true. But again, I was really just pointing out that at the time that this situation with the Janes’ cat occurred, I hadn’t had any pets (fish don’t count). Alright, back to the story:

The Janes’ cat enjoyed clawing up the arms of the family—while they were sleeping (creepy). Particularly Chris. That kid would come to school with his forearms all scared and red with new wounds. There were times when he would come to school with his arms still bleeding. (see, I told you it would come into play later) And as much as I liked spending the night at their place, I never slept.

Chris had a trundle/hide-a-bed under his bed. That’s where I slept. I was closer to the ground. Easier prey for the cat. But it only liked arms, so if I just tucked them in real close to my body, I should be fine, right?

“Well, maybe. Sometimes she’ll attack your feet or head.”

WHAT?!?!?! You never told me about this! How am I supposed to sleep? Answer: I didn’t. When it came time to sleep, I would just curl up into a ball, wrap myself under the blanket and pray all night long. I was exhausted the next day, but I was safe.

I think this is one of the reasons I don’t like cats. Like, if you look at a dog, you know what it’s thinking. Cats are more like, “Yeah, I might like you right now, or not. But you’ll never know. Also, you’ll never know if I threw-up in your shoes because I could or because they happen to be right there, or because the smell is so bad that when I went to find out what the smell was I just lost it. And I’m blaming you for all of it. I didn’t want to throw-up.” I don’t like that. And I don’t like cats.

All that said, I did have two cats that were the most amazing cats.

One was a tiny little siamese-looking cat. She was mighty. I saw her do the most amazing things. Oh, and she was quite the hunter too. Her code name: Spooky. Her real name: Spooky. She really didn’t have a code name, I just thought it would be fun to go there for a moment. Yeah, so, Spooky was the greatest. She would lick your face (thoroughly) at night—but only for three nights in a row, then she would stop. After some time would pass (completely and independently determined by her), she would repeat the process. Spooky was also a fierce protector of her young. When she would have a litter she would hiss and prepare to battle even with us, her family. She never struck us, she just reminded us (vocally) to be very careful.

Our other cat Max was a giant tom. He was like this charcoal/smokey/graphite grey. And even though he was big, his heart was bigger. Max only ever wanted one thing: Attention. And it was this wanting of attention that made him dangerous. Very dangerous. Sometimes he would get under-foot and you would accidentally step on him while trying to walk. Or maybe trip over him because he would want to rub against your leg, while you were headed up the stairs… Ugh.

All you had to do was touch him—even on accident. And if you did, you were his until he was done with you. If you rubbed his head while walking into the kitchen, Max would then do figure-8 leg rubs around your ankles while you made your sandwich. Or, if your arm hung over the sofa while you were watching t.v., Max would walk back and forth under your fingertips, arching his back to get a better pet, meowing the whole time. You couldn’t dissuade him either. I recall one particular time where I had intended to watch a movie on the television, and then along came Max.

At first, he was content to rub my hand, as it hung over the sofa’s arm. Then he started to meow. Next thing I knew, Max was on my lap rubbing his head against my chest purring up a storm. If I tried to pet him, he would then start to rub my face with his. If I tried to shove him away, he just got forceful and rubbed my chest instead (hard)—he never clawed. I don’t remember the movie, but I do know that Max petted himself (using me) for almost a full hour and a half.

While Spooky enjoyed your company, she also valued her independence. Max, on the other hand, reveled in any attention you would offer him. It was this reason that allowed me to create high tech battle armor for Max. Spooky wouldn’t sit still for it. But Max, oh Max… Well, he loved the attention and would stick around for hours.

If you are familiar with the building set Construx toys then you know how much fun they can be. I had a few space sets and one military set. One day while I was playing with them, and building something for my action figures (I was 14—I’m not ashamed, you should know this if you read last week’s post), Max walked into my room. As he did so, I happen to have some Construx parts built into what resembled a helmet. Max let me try it on him. He didn’t mind.

Alright then. Let’s build some sci-fi battle armor! While Max rubbed all over my back and arms, I built some great battle-cat armor. Max even stood there while I suited him up. And for those who might be thinking, “How dare you do that to your cat!” Let me say this, “First of all, he was not my cat. He was my sister’s cat. Second, I would never do something that would hurt Max. That would have been awful. Besides, it’s not like he was a dead gopher.”

If you were not fortunate enough to grow up in the ‘80s where He-Man, G.I. Joe, and Transformers (the good cartoon kind—not the Michael Bay travesties) reigned supreme, well then… I’m sorry for you. I am. You missed out. In the He-Man universe, the character Prince Adam has a pet cat—Cringer—who gets magically transformed into the mighty Battle Cat (a large green tiger, magically changed into a larger, armored green tiger).

So, I got the whole suite built and Max let me put it all on him. He looked so friggin’ cool! I was ready to let him roam the house and await the “What is that?” that most assuredly would come from those residing within our domain. It was going to be awesome.

Fisher-Price Construx motorized military play-set. #6331 Mobile Missiles.
This is the military Construx set I had. Image found on K-Bid, Online Auctions.

It didn’t happen. As soon as I clipped the last piece into place, Max just slumped over and lay there. I tried to get him up. Get him excited to play, or try to entice him to come to me for a pet session… Nope. Nothin’ doin’. Max wasn’t having it. So, I took the stuff off. Max was fine and once again, initiated a pet session. Very well.

I would try many other times to armor up Max. I tried fewer parts. Lighter weight. Different configurations. Nothing. Ever. Max would always let me build on him. He never ran away, or fought me. He was a great cat. But as soon as I got done putting on whatever I Contrux-ed for him, Max would slump over. Like he knew. “Oh, you’re done? Okay.” *slump*

I even tried setting just one of the connector bars on his back to see if it was the weight or if it was spite. It was spite. Max just slumped. The bar fell off. Max got up. And then walked away. It was like he was saying to me, “I am not a pack-mule. But you are acting like I am one.” (then I would take the stuff off) “Okay, I forgive you. PET ME TIME!”

Yeah, Max was a self-petter. A terrible Battle Cat. But a great pet.

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