Our next pet will be named after someone famous. I’m not sure, but it’ll be someone good, because that’s better than the current theme I didn’t even realize I had going, which is food. My parents named their last cat Dino, after Dean Martin, because he talks a lot. He will literally follow you around the house meowing conversationally, which is a nice ego boost if you’re feeling a bit ignored. However, my parents couldn’t keep the Dino name going because they kept calling him Henry, the previous cat’s name. Therefore, Dino became Henry the Second. (I’m a little worried about six cats down the line … will he live up to his name?)
We have a dog named Oreo, which seriously fits, besides making me feel slightly awkward when I eat Oreo cookies. But shortly after I got Oreo, I met the biggest fattest roundest cat you’ve ever seen. His name was Pumpkin. Pumpkin enjoyed sunning himself on a wide bridge railing while keeping an eye on the tree trunk that stretched over the creek next to the bridge. A number of birds inhabited the tree, so Pumpkin enjoyed the opportunity to lazily swat at the birds, which were never in danger, as Pumpkin was quite well-fed without the addition of the birds to his palate. And by quite well-fed, I mean that his biggest struggle was to battle the gravity that drew his belly embarrassingly close to the ground when he walked. That darn gravity was also responsible for dropping him over the railing about three times a day when he would swat at the birds.
It became a fun little game to sit and watch Pumpkin’s struggles. He would swat, wobble, splash, drag himself out of the water regally, stretch out to dry on the railing, and repeat. It’s a good thing too, otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten any exercise.
So naturally when I happened upon my own little orange furball at the pound, I had to take him home, and call him Pumpkin. He, naturally, was determined to live up to his namesake. He went from a bit of orange fluff that fit in the palm of my hand to the gargantuan in the following picture.
He is lazy and self-entitled, but always good for a laugh.
As a kitten we were worried he had epilepsy because he would shake so much, but it turned out he would just shake violently out of excitement. He lacks any semblance of coordination, and to this day will walk off the edge of a couch and literally faceplant into the ground. He not only singlehandedly (single-pawedly?) dispels the myth that cats always land on their feet, but will frequently walk straight into walls, as if they had jumped out of their place to land directly in his path. He always bounces backward slightly shaken and gives the wall a dirty look as if to chastise it for daring to impede his forward motion, which is generally tenuous at best without the obstacles walls seem to insist on throwing in his way.
Pumpkin’s food is up on a chair, to keep it away from the dog, and every single time he tries to get up on it he has to put his front paws on it and bounce to get the momentum going. If I’m nearby I’ll call out Eis Zwoi Drü to help him out.
He is completely unaware that he is not the biggest, baddest cat on the block, and swaggers everywhere he goes. However, it is only his back end that swaggers, as his front feet seem to still have not perfectly grasped the concept of being picked up and placed down, and so are swung out directly forward one at a time, frequently causing the casual observer to wonder if he will call out “Heil Hitler!”. He is completely unable to walk in any manner other than the swagger Nazi-strut combo.
Pumpkin is also somewhat unaware that he is of the feline persuasion, as he not only attacks Oreo for sport on occasion, but cuddles with her on long road trips.
He does have the typical cat-split-personality though, because in addition to his lack of coordination and intelligence, Pumpkin also lacks any morals whatsoever, and regularly employs thieving tendencies. He is also lacking in subtlety and therefore is normally unsuccessful, but his attempts are entertaining.
Every time we sit down for a meal, Pumpkin immediately jumps down from our bed where he has been sound asleep, misses his step, lands on his face next to the bed, quickly rights himself and swagger-struts as quickly as possible to the table so he can begin circling us as we eat. And in case you were wondering, yes, it is actually quite unnerving to try to eat with a wanna-be lion circling you hungrily.
He will occasionally make an awkward leap into the air, striking out a claw in a vain attempt to snag some of our meal, which would be quite threatening if he didn’t usually miss by about two feet. Occasionally we’ll foolishly leave food unattended, and he will pounce, steal and spirit our food away. The other night it was a whole pork chop!
Mr. Barefoot or I will have to physically remove him claw by claw from his prize, and he will growl ferociously to try and keep his victory meat.
The only thing he loves more than meat is Pringles. They are like the cake to his fat-kid heart. He can hear the top pop from absolutely anywhere, and will run even faster and more awkwardly than most meals demand before prostrating himself at your feet to beg for a taste. If a can is left unattended he will without hesitation try to jam his entire face down the tube until it gets stuck, and he will then yowl angrily at anyone who tries to disrupt him.
Even if I lose a pork chop or Pringle to him every now and then, it’s worth it for the entertainment value.