This is Chili. Also called Hootie, Chili Pepper, The Pep, Chilly Crack Corn, The Love Rhino. He was so named because, while I tried a few names on him, this one seemed to stick due to his mercurial personality – hot chili, cold chilly. I came across him at a pet store adoption day, completely terrified with his head down and crammed into the corner of a cage with a bubble over his head that clearly said – please kill me. Needless to say, I walked right past all of the adorable, bouncing kittens and went straight for him.
Only a true cat person adopts a cat like this. Only a cat person can see the pain in his eyes and know that NO ONE else is going to rescue him because, frankly, like a neglected house, he doesn’t show well. So what did I do? Filled out the paperwork, put him in a cardboard box and took him straight to the vet to have him neutered. This explains why he spent the first three days hiding behind an air conditioner in the corner of our basement. Slowly, very slowly, he came around. And I can proudly report that it only took 6 years for him to actually sit in my lap! Turns out he had a horrible history and was separated from his sister as a kitten and then bounced around to different shelters for two years. When I found him he was depressed and “going inside” as the shelter women told me. An anxious, traumatized, impaired, 2 yr-old cat – it’s like Christmas Day!
While Jeter made clear decisions about his loyalty, and still treats me like a servant, Chili from the moment he arrived was basically all love, all the time. He will purr, smooch, and rub just about anyone or anything. There’s no discrimination – he is an equal opportunity lover. I’m also convinced that he knows that, if not for me, he’d be spending the rest of his life in a cage. Frightfully insecure, he will ambush Jeter whenever possible, take over all of the cat beds just to be sure that his hair is plastered all over them, and even jump up and literally smack Jeter while he’s sleeping on our bed. When I was bullied by my husband to let the cats go outside (which I regret every single night while I’m standing outside in the dark, desperately clapping and calling their names to get them in so they don’t get eaten by coyotes) Chili decided that he was actually really a house cat. He spends most of the day sleeping and goes out only during the prime mousing hours of dusk. That is except for the one time that he was gone overnight and was not at the door in the morning. When I had circled the neighborhood a billion times blubbering hysterically while calling his name, he finally, nonchalantly, emerged in slow motion from under the neighbor’s porch. Walked right up to me like, what up ma, you look tired?
Chili is my special child. When everyone else can’t deal with his leaping from the bed like it’s on fire when you simply move your toe, or his doing laps in the family room while you’re trying to watch tv, or that he actually meows like a hooting owl, or the fact that you absolutely CANNOT pick him up, he has my heart. I can’t help it. He’s black and white, he has half a mustache, and he had a really shitty childhood. In other words, a cat person’s cat. And since all he really wants is to be loved, I am happy to oblige.