Ruffian is now 20 years old. He is a marker of decades in my life of another time gone by. His yowl is very loud, so loud that you can hear it outside the house. His yowl is distinctive, sounding like someone has stepped on his tail. It is a plaintive, commanding, piercing bellow, ordering me to come hither and stand at attention. His two siblings have passed away, one on the highway and the other with a stroke.
If I comb his fur too much he will nip me, and pierce my skin. This has its consequences. I was nipped and didn’t think much about it until I started getting a fever and the area of the bite was swelling. I had to call work to get a last minute substitute, and was out sick for three days. Now I run immediately and pour hydrogen peroxide on any scratches, bites or cat attacks. I now respect the bite. It is a game changer, as they say.
He is pissed off that I brought other cats into his home. He looks at C.C. with a jealous eye and growls at her in cat fashion.
“Stay back,” he says to her, when she enters the room.
He remembers when I left for the Fourth of July holiday the first year C.C. and B.B. moved in with us. Those two ganged up on him, ran him outside and CC bit him on the head. When I returned, lamps had been knocked off tables, and I took him to the vet to be sewn up. He will not forget it. The re-enactment of the War of Independence was costly to us all.
He forgives me, but he doesn’t forget.
The food he now eats is pretty expensive, but that is OK with me. I want him to be happy and enjoy his last years.