PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"What manner of cat is this?" . . .

. . . to paraphrase William Shakespeare. The Bard of Avon wasn’t writing about kittens, but, if he’d known Big Sam, he might have.

To give an update on Kitten Big Sam for the cat lovers out there should probably start with growth milestones. When Big Sam was six months old, the vet said that kitty was growing “at a remarkable rate.” Now nine months old, Big Sam weighs 13 pounds and he’s not full grown. When stretched out on his back, as he nearly is in the photo above, Big Sam measures 33 inches from toes to toes. We’ve already had to buy a larger collar and a plus-size carrier for him. I can’t imagine where he’ll top out. I’ve never had a cat this big.

And I’ve never had a cat who behaves like this. Like a puppy, he made up his own game of fetch, trotting across the room with toy ball in mouth to present it so one of us will toss it again. He also wants his belly rubbed – like no other cat I’ve had.

There's another dog similarity that I'm hesitant to relate. I've never had a cat with flatulence. I've known dogs who could clear a room with their malodorous emissions. But a cat? Big Sam can toot with the best of dogs.

In a kitchen chair, he flips onto his back, wraps his back feet around the spindles, then dangles the top half of his body out of the chair toward the floor -- -- rather like a monkey – looking at the world upside down. But it’s not monkey-like when I catch him gnawing on the wooden spindles. I have never had a cat who tried to eat the wooden furniture. He likes to chew on cardboard so much that we’ve taken to leaving a cardboard box on the floor for him in the living room. It must be the teething instinct, right?

Having Mike or I carry him around seems to be Big Sam’s preferred method of travel. Quite relaxed, his favorite position is lying on his back, baby-like, in our arms. He’d be happy to travel that way all the time. A li’l guy can see a lot more from way up there. If I stop carrying him around like a baby and take him with me to the recliner, it only takes a few minutes of rocking before Biggy Sam falls asleep. Well, he is still a baby, you know.

In the second and third photos with this post, you see Big Sam with Rocky. Rocky is black and white and is on the right. He’s not real; he’s made of stone with beautiful, marble-like green eyes. Rocky sits on the fireplace hearth. Although Rocky never moves, I’m not sure that Big Sam understands that Rocky is fake.

When Big Sammy was about seven months old, he noticed Rocky for the first time. He cautiously approached the stone cat, stood up with his paws on Rocky’s chest, then swatted Rocky’s face and ran like crazy for cover. Since the big cat didn’t retaliate, I suppose Big Sam felt pretty safe and only rarely harassed Rocky.

Until lately.

I can’t begin to understand what’s going on in Big Sam’s head, but he’s started jumping up next to Rocky so he can chew on Rocky’s ear. The sound of teeth scraping against stone isn't pretty. But when he's not sharpening his teeth on Rocky. who’s a guy to share his favorite toy with if not the stone kitty on the hearth?!

Mike hasn’t accepted my analysis, but I think Big Sam needs a puppy.

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