Monday, November 24, 2008

Meet the Family: Spike

Here's the Jan to Sebastian's Marcia Brady.


Spike was presumably born in Buffalo, NY in 2001. Our friend Bob found him and a pair of litter-mates that had been abandoned in a box. Spike's sister had medical problems from the start and after investing in her health care, Bob opted to keep her. Spike came to live with us and his brother went to another home. Sebastian was mortified upon Spike's arrival. I've never seen a cat show such a look of concern, betrayal, anguish, etc. Sebastian's eyes went so huge that he looked like one of those big-eyed animal paintings.

Spike had an attitude from the start. It earned him his name right off the bat. Yes... he's named after William the Bloody. Despite not being anywhere near as large as Sebastian, Spike tends to be boss of the house. I think it may be because Sebastian is so easy going. The times that push has really come to shove, Sebastian has shown himself to be the guy who picks his battles and wins the ones that matter.

Spike has a thing about attacking people who sneeze (especially me). I think he perceives it as a threatening hiss. He's also the reason that the veterinarian comes to our house with a team armed with leather gloves up to their elbows (and the reason why the vet chooses to make us a house-call). Spike has been known to use anything he can as a weapon against vets... including feces. His aggression definitely is based in fear. Spike is totally the model for Yoda's speech about Fear leading to the dark side in Phantom Menace.

Spike, like his sister, has chronic health issues. His immune system can kick into overdrive during periods of stress. His lips swell up, his breath gets raunchy, his fur coat gets lackluster and he becomes lethargic. It has taken cortisone and occasionally shots of actual gold into his bloodstream to bring him out of it. The problem as decreased over time, but meant a good deal of time in an animal hospital when he was young (hence his hatred of vets). Below are pics of Spike displaying the swollen lips symptom and of him following an operation to remove part of his paw padding that had become infected due to cracks forming in the padding (another symptom of his chronic problems).


Douglas said...

When they have those protective collars on, they always seem to remind of some kind of space cat. I wonder if Spike might not have allergies to something commonly found around the house?

Tom G said...

It is sort of an allergy. His body will attack the harmless bacteria that normally is in his mouth. One thing we had to do to help reduce the number of his attacks was to get rid of plastic cat bowls. The plastic was one of his triggers.

In his younger years, he had to have shots very few months. As an adult cat he has only needed shots after we've had a major change in our house that he shows obvious signs of stress with (ie: moving, getting a new cat, having a baby, etc.).

Douglas said...

We had three cats; Bimbo, Floozie, and Carlos. We were tempted to call the last one Velvet Jones but decided people might not understand. We got them in that order. Bimbo tolerated Floozie, resented Carlos. Floozie thought she had given birth to Carlos. Carlos beat up Floozie and adored Bimbo who beat him up if he got too close.

They all died several years ago and we have been sans cats ever since. Thanks for allowing me to revisit those memories.

Amanda said...

Love your cat! He is sooo cute!