Friday, June 26, 2009

Blake's story

William "Blake" (a.k.a. Blakey, Bub, Bubba,
Brown Man,Orange Man, Big Orange, Pooper)
With his friend "Wilson" (ever seen Cast Away?)

Blake was born in October 2003, one of only two in the litter. You might say he was predisposed to gigantism, because even though he was a kitten and kittens are small, still he was a pretty darn big kitten.

Blake was the cutest ball of orange fuzz that you've ever seen in your life. Even if you don't like cats, when you looked at him, you just had to smile.

We didn't notice his eccentricities right away. I brought him home and set him by his new scratching post (see above) and immediately he and Wilson were best friends. He would lean on it and look at you as if to say, "This is my post."

When Brooke and I were living together, somehow one of my potted plants fell over on Blake's scratching post, and one of us stuck it out on our balcony without putting any thought into it at all. It was out there for a couple months before we thought about cleaning it up and bringing it back in.


Blake was so excited to have Wilson back! His long lost friend. I had no idea he was so broken hearted about the loss of Wilson; I'm glad I didn't throw it out. Because of how obviously ecstatic he was to be reunited with the post, I brought it with me to Ohio. He still loves that post with all of his orange, fuzzy heart.

I've spoken briefly about Blake's little quirks, and I'm not kidding. In the least offensive way possible, the best comparison I can make is to say that I believe he has the cat version of autism.

Remember folks, I'm an anthropomorphist. From my perspective, it is not an insult to human beings to talk about animals as if they were people. So, Reader: if you are insulted by me liking my cat to a person with autism, then obviously you haven't been paying attention to the fact that I'm specifically saying it's not meant to be an insult or joke, I do realize the gravity of having a mental disorder . . . do you realize the curse of anthropomorphism? So let's move on and give me an ounce of credit that for goodness sake I am not making fun of autistic people by saying my cat has autism!

He does though. Wikipedia says: "Autism is a highly variable brain development disorder that first appears during infancy or childhood, and generally follows a steady course without remission."

Blake started demonstrating odd behaviors at a fairly young age. In the beginning, it seemed to stem from his litterbox. If it wasn't pristine, he would have none of it. That in and of itself isn't odd for a cat, but his method of communicating his distress was the first red flag. Plenty of cats out there are picky about their litterboxes, but most will just relieve themselves on the floor beside it if it's not to their liking. Not Blake . . . it seemed like he would go out of his way to be as disruptive as possible. A plastic bag, your pants that missed the hamper, my comforter . . . these are all places he has felt it was appropriate to urinate.

Blake's social problems are actually the main reason I say he has autism, but my roommate and I, as two single ladies with few male visitors, did not notice these symptoms for quite some time.

"Three- to five-year-old autistic children are less likely to exhibit social understanding, approach others spontaneously, imitate and respond to emotions, communicate non verbally, and take turns with others. However, they do form attachments to their primary caregivers." (Wikipedia)
Whenever we had friends over, Blake would hide under the bed. If you brought the visitor in to peer at him under the bed, he would cry, hiss, growl, and generally say, "Get the hell away from me" in Cat. It didn't matter how many or how few people were over; as long as a stranger was in the house, he wouldn't come out. The more stimuli there is, the more he falls apart.

But when his environment is predictable, he's happy, settled, and just a big ball of Orange Lovin'. For the most part, we don't even notice his special needs. Perhaps all he needs are more visitors. Perhaps with more social interaction, he'd become desensitized. But it really seems cruel considering how upsetting it is for him.

His other joy, besides his post Wilson, is the bathroom. It is the oddest thing! He loves the bathroom. He loves it best when someone goes in to use the bathroom. He hears you go in and comes running! You see him pop around the corner, he looks at you, and does this quick, sharp meow that sounds just like he's saying "Hi!" If you say something back, he'll keep talking to you the entire time. I wonder what he's saying?

It's always the same little one-word, high-pitched meow, that phoenetically rendered actually seems like it should be spelled raow, not meow.

Every once in a while it's a double one: raow-raow or a really long, drawn out one: rooooooaaaww!

Blake: Hi!
Me: Hey, Blakey.
Blake: Pee! Pee!
Me: What are you thinking, Blakey?
Blake: Fun!
Me: Did you have a good day?
Blake: Nooooooo!
Me: What?! What's the story?
Blake: Bad!
Me: Are you having an orange day?
Blake: Yes! Yes!

Blake outside the bathroom door.

It's totally funny.

He sleeps on the bed next to me every night, and is a fierce, almost painful, foofer. When he comes up to you to make biscuits, there's no denying him. His little shoulders get into it, and he'll foof, foof, foof until you've got bruises. Because of that, he really loves Dan because he can tolerate the ferocity of the foofage better than I can. I usually flinch and groan so much, he sulks and walks away.

Blake loves pink and is a metrosexual.

Note the pink collar and bent wrists.

He's the only cat I've ever known that smiles in his sleep:

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