|Vladimir Putintat - King of the Cats|
In my neighborhood, you can often identify cats by family - there are some tabbies with circular marking on their sides, very distinctive; a long-haired gray who was very popular before his people finally got him neutered, and then there was Vlad.
Vlad wasn't our cat, though he seemed to think he was. He was an outdoor cat who adopted me shortly after I moved into the neighborhood in 2000, and according to neighbors from the next block, he'd been an indoor/outdoor cat until his people moved away and left him. Then he became, quite firmly, an outdoor cat.
He had a lot of indoor cat qualities, though - he was still very friendly (when it suited him), he liked to sit on laps and have his chin scratched, and when he finally came indoors, 9 years later, he proved to be litterbox trained.
|Bear - female, but more feral than her dad|
One thing he was not was neutered. For a long time, we couldn't catch him. Sure, he'd show up for lunch, hang out on the back step for hours, but the moment you approached with intent, he'd be gone. We tried to bring him in a few times, and he left once through my housemate and the second time through a screen. Both times he showed up later that day in the back yard, mooching lunch. What a charmer!
He liked the ladies, and they apparently liked him back. He had kittens. Many kittens. And I found homes for many, many kittens. Having a Vlad kitten became something of a badge of honor. I should know; I kept 4 myself.
|Ozzie - scared of his own shadow|
|Nicky - had the "look" even as a kitten|
Ozzie was the first kitten in - he was born in the house, and he's scared of everything. Vlad would be ashamed of that, but not of his bulk, his big head or his big appetite.
Next were Nicky and Harriet. Nicky's another Vlad knock-off. Even as a kitten, he had the challenging stare, and as he's aged his body structure has gotten more like his father's. He's our big panther, flopped across the back of the couch every night. He doesn't like his head touched or his nails cut, but otherwise he's not as skittish as Ozzie. Of all the cats, he got his father's lungs - when Nicky meows, you can hear it all over the house.
When Vlad meowed, you could hear it all over the neighborhood. A conversational "hello" meow still sounded like midnight tomcat love.
And then there's Bear. She's as feral as her father should have been. Because she's female, her body is a little smaller, but she's actually built a lot like Vlad anyway. And I'd put that challenging stare up against his any day of the week.
|Mace - belongs to a friend, but a Vlad kitten|
Mace isn't my cat - I brought him in from the back yard and gave him to a friend, but he's another obvious member of the Putintat family. Big, loud, assertive . . . yep, Vlad would be proud.
Junius, who was re-named Seamus when he found his new home, was another kitten that I took in. I really wanted to keep him, but we were at capacity already and the other cats just didn't take to him. He found a home with a friend of Mace's dad, and grew into another big, loud, attitudinal boy.
|Junius / Seamus|
Harriet, who I mentioned earlier, is an odd combination. She's an exact replica of her mother, Alice - except that she's black and white instead of tabby and white. Her markings are identical to her mom's, but dad managed to at least get the hair color in there. And the glare. She's very sweet, but when she's had enough, there's a flash of daddy and she disappears.
Vlad's been gone now for a few years, and I still miss him. Some animals have bigger personalities than people, and he was definitely one of those.
|Harriet and Bear|