Dog Photography, Seattle WA

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spencer and Soldier

Words by the owner

Spencer and Soldier are both bi-color Persians adopted through the same mostly-Persian shelter. There’s a 10-year difference in their ages.

Spencer (11 year-old) was put up for adoption as a kitten and spent time in a couple of foster homes. He had never been an only pet, always part of a big family of cats and dogs. His old health records show that he’s had many names, including the very appropriate “Zorro” considering his black mask and cape-like markings. Spencer was his most recent name.

When I met him, I was in the worse pet rebound: I had lost three of my closest cat friends to age-related diseases (16-, 17- and 19-year olds) within a four-month stretch. My home was void of pets for the first time in many years.

Spencer impressed me in the shelter, and they felt he might get to more fully develop his personality as the only pet in a household for a change. He settled in with me just fine, both of us being fond of routines. He didn’t seem to mind jazz very much (not that he had a choice). He’s always pretty serious, and likes to watch more than participate. He’s a lap cat only on his own terms, and even then will depart abruptly after short periods. He’s not a big eater and that bothers me. I’m always looking for a new food that he’ll show special interest in.

After having Spencer alone for 15 months, the same shelter introduced me to Soldier, a 14-month old. He had been turned into the Humane Society in Portland as a stray, and his coat was badly matted from lack of grooming. The mostly-Persian shelter brought him to Issaquah, waiting until the cuts from a severe haircut cleared up before offering him for adoption.

In the shelter, he was the popular prankster, playing with all the other cats when the cage doors were open for cleaning. They wanted to find a good home for him and figured, since he clearly got along with other cats, he’d be a good fit for Spencer and me.

Of course, neither Spencer nor I had spent any time around a toddler cat in a long time. Soldier has this indefatigable energy—he wants to play from sun up to midnight. He demands play from me, extreme laser pointer attack in particular.

He worships Spencer and so wants to be his constant companion. Spencer doesn’t hiss at Soldier, but he does growl when he feels his personal space is being invaded. And if Spencer runs from the scene, Soldier is on his flank in chase.

Spencer was declawed as a kitten, and I’ve witnessed him deliver to Soldier these rapid paw slaps that have no bite. It seems to have conditioned Soldier to deliver the same type of clawless swats when he plays or tries to get my attention. I honestly believe Spencer has trained him to not use the claws.

Soldier has big appetites beyond play. He eats everything, and demands attention more than Spencer. He also needs grooming more than Spencer, with severe eye stain calling for daily face cleaning.

Soldier has the energy level and rowdy demeanor of the actor Jack Black. Spencer is so much more serious, graceful and often withdrawn, much as the actor Anthony Hopkins. Think of those personalities as housemates!

I think we’re growing into a good unit, and I am so grateful for the time I can share with these guys.