As many of you know by now, I have a kitten named Smeagol. Sometimes, I even call him that. Usually, it cycles through Smeags, Smeagsy, Meagol, Meagols, Mr. Meagols, or some other variation. These variations are almost always plural, as I believe there are several cat personalities camped out in his head, and I’m unsure about the intentions of most of them. Following the tradition of human children who can gauge the amount of trouble they’re in by the number of names used to call them, “Smeags” usually implies a mild level of annoyance. “Smeagol,” when paired with a stern tone, implies a moderate amount of anger and it can be safely assumed that something is either broken or irreparably stained. The red on my anger-o-meter is reserved for when I am bleeding somewhere on my person. This results in “Smeagol Goddamnit.” That is his full name. When speaking about him to other people, I usually call him Paws of Doom.
I found Smeagol on Craigslist. A woman had found him near the dumpster where she works and brought him home. Her son was allergic, though, so she couldn’t keep him. I asked if she still had him, and she did, so we made plans to meet up and I would take the cat. He was a tiny thing. I’ve posted pictures before showing how tiny he was, but here is a good representation of just how small he was. This was right before the first major polar vortex bullshit we got hit with and temperatures dropped to -30 and colder with windchill. I believe that if that woman hadn’t found him, he would have died out there all alone.
Neither the woman who found him nor I had any clue how old he was, but his eyes were open and he was able to eat Kitten Chow. She left him with me and he became my writing buddy.
One of the first issues I ran into with him was his habit of clawing me. I’ve never thought he was doing it to be mean or out of fear. Most of the time, he was trying to jump into my lap, but because he was so small, he had a lot of trouble getting up there. So, he would jump, use his claws to catch himself as he started sliding, and then clawed his way up my legs until he either got into my lap or I hauled him into my lap, whichever one happened first. At one point, I looked like someone tried to feed me through a wood chipper. Now that he’s gotten much bigger, he can jump up without issue, so his clawing has markedly decreased. The rest of the time, he was trying to play with me. I think he was just too small to understand that claws hurt and shouldn’t be used during play. The woman who found him didn’t find a mama cat or any litter mates. This also goes with the next major problem we had.
Smeagol didn’t know how to use the litter box. I tried placing him in the litter box, but he would jump out immediately. If I caught him squatting somewhere, I could pick him up, place him in the box, and he would do his business, but he wouldn’t go to the box first. I tried everything, and eventually he figured out that kitty litter is awesome to scratch with and he could bury his business. Now he uses his litter box like a champ.
He’s a lot bigger now. I took him to the vet for a tapeworm he had, and she aged him at 15 weeks and 6 pounds. Counting backwards from when I got him, he was only 6-7 weeks old. He was much too young to be away from his mama and litter mates and I have no idea how long he had been on his own. It’s amazing he even survived. He’s not a fat kitty. He’s just a big kitty.
Smeagol was not pleased when I went to Seattle last week. I made sure a friend could come and check up on him, but she could tell he missed me. I missed him, too. When I got back home, he couldn’t decide if he was happy to see me or if he was pissed off at me. In true Smeagol fashion, he decided to be both at the same time and saw no problem with this. He forgave me when I gave him a can of Fancy Feast Kitten Formula wet food that I bought as a treat. Apparently, food mends most hurts. He’s a cat after my own heart.