My buddy, my alter-ego, my sidekick and above all my wonderkitty Mr. Pluto started acting very protective of his tail about 10 days ago. We noticed he was always keeping it out from under him while he slep and in all our snugglefests he would not let us touch it, which is quite unusual for a cat regularly described as a love monster. You see Pluto, who is now reaching his middle age (I like to think) at a wise 11 years old, is something of an agressive snuggler. If you will stay still, he will snuggle with you all 12 pounds of him nuzzling up your body to make sure he rubs every available furry surface into you. He is in this one task (and eating) totally unrelenting.
Oh and he also likes to talk. A lot. Which suits me fine, as it helps me feel like he's contributing to what would otherwise be very one way conversations that I begin with him. The friend who gave me Pluto as a birthday present 11 years ago always said that one of the reasons she got me a cat was to keep me company while I talked to myself (we were roommates at the time).
Mr Pluto and his tail. His tail seemed to be on the mend, and he was displaying all his normal kitty habits of demanding regular feedings, cuddling with us in the evenings and in that wretched time when you know you need to get out of bed in the morning but having a warm cat curled up on top of the blankets makes it that much harder, and so we figured whatever had happened to his tail was on the mend. We speculated about him getting it caught in a door, or perhaps being stung or bit by a spider but we suspected he had been on the losing end of a fight with the tabby that lives across the street.
Pluto has always been a very social cat loving the company of both people and other cats, but he can also be a bit territorial. Over the summer I've observed his territorial instinct play out in seemingly illogical patterns. On warm summer evenings he and this tabby from across the street would meet in our neighbours yard -- neutral territory -- and lay on their front steps, stretched out and each occupying a stair next to the other with paws dangling down, while they watched the neigbourhood dogs go by from a safe distance. When called home, Pluto would often give this cat a little nudge goodbye and that was that. Sometimes, though only once or twice, they would bring this little lounge session to our front steps and that seemed to suit everyone fine. However, if the tabby would dare to come into our back yard Pluto will initiate a growl-off of very serious proportions. I guess he really sees the backyard, which is quite fenced in and enclosed, as his stomping grounds. It is, afterall, where his mammoth catnip plant is located.
Anyway, I'm going to guess that the tabby was the one who bit him on the tail, though I certainly don't blame him, as I've seen Pluto instigate his share of scraps. And this brings us to where I am today. Sitting at the computer, my darling boy on my lap with a cone on his head and a very undignified shaved tail. Poor muffin. The cone was a late addition this morning after he wouldn't stop licking at his new surgical wounds that he rececieved yesterday after a he spent a morning worrying at his tail to such a degree that he had managed to remove most of the fur himself. We went to the vet who did a very speedy procedure to get all the ick out of the abcess he had managed to grow there and bandaged it up for him to come home. I hate seeing him so undignified, even if the occassional bumping into wall is somewhat comical. I adore this beast so very much that anything that brings him such a degree of discomfort and lost respect is very troubling to me. I think he and I will spend the rest of the day sorting through fabric in the basement in preparation for making some holiday gifts and perhaps I can find a pile of something that he can curl up in. We should probably also have tea.
I considered posting a photo of him with his sad skinny shaved tail and conehead, but I couldn't bring myself to so instead you get more of a snuggly shot of my man, craddling his summer catnip when it was just a wee thing. It is now easily four or five times the size of him.