Author’s Note: Many thanks to Miss Taylor for letting me ask questions about her Charlie. Pictures used with permission.
Where did the name come from?
I named Charlie after Charlie Kelly, a character from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia who is ridiculous and slightly insane. Even for a kitten, he was very energetic and crazy, so the name Charlie just fit.
How did you end up with Charlie?
Charlie came to me as a kitten. I showed up to work one day and saw him sitting outside the door. Some coworkers had found him by the college dorms and had brought him back and given him a bowl of cat food. I had just graduated from college that summer and desperately wanted a cat of my own, having lived with cats in my family for my entire life. When I saw the little kitten on the steps, I knew it was fate–that was my kitten. I estimate that he was about 6 to 8 weeks old by then, his eyes had already to turned colors. My coworkers said there was no sign of any siblings or his mom.
Tell me a bit about him
Charlie was the first cat I raised on my own. I had no worries that I could handle it, since I had been raising cats with my family forever. I soon came to realize that I was sort of wrong. Charlie proved to be different cat than I had ever encountered. First, his energy levels were through the roof. Even past kittenhood, he was ferocious. He wasn’t exactly mean, but there was a sort of wildness to him that led to believe he either was separated from his mom too soon or had a mental disorder. After I got him nuetered, his energy levels dropped a bit, but what he lost in energy he gained in attitude. If he didn’t get his way, he would complain loudly and sometimes even lash out at me. I tried many things to try and discipline him, but he was resilient to everything. I just didn’t know what to do. It became apparent that I had raised a bad cat. But I couldn’t think of what I had done wrong. But I still loved this cat like he was my child, so I actually read up on cat behavior. I learned about how cats can lash out when they’re over stimulated, and will often redirect their anger and fright to whatever is nearest to them. I began to accept that Charlie might just be a cat that is easily over stimulated. So i started treating him with more respect for his personal space (like I said he doesn’t cuddle) and not raising my voice. I always had love and compassion for him, but I learned to be much more gentle when handling him. Now, we are like peas in a pod. There’s no question that he knows I’m his mommy, and I can tell he enjoys being with me. I know most other people wouldn’t have kept a cat that was so temperamental, so I promised I would never give up on him. He still has his hissy fits, but they’re much less frequent and I can usually calm him down. He returns the love with much leg rubbing and slow blinks.
Do you have any advice for others?
For anyone with a “mean” cat, I recommend that they try to understand that the cat most likely isn’t trying to be mean, but is either frustrated or scared. The best thing you can do is leave them alone and always be gentle. Just remember: love and respect.
In that first paragraph, I meant to say *Charlie proved to be the most difficult cat I had ever encountered*
I would like to add that Charlie’s favorite place to be scratched is his head and face. He loves to sit at the living room window and watch the neighborhood. He is also an accomplished cicada catcher–he brings in 3 of them every day.
Are there any other cats in the house?
I have another cat; technically he’s my friend’s cat but I’m fostering him until my friend can find a place to live that allows animals. His name is Zuzu and he IS your typical snuggly sweet cat
How do they get along?
They get along like typical siblings–they tolerate each other’s present and fight sometimes, but for the most part they like each other. They play fight quite often. I actually think it was good for Charlie to live with another cat. Zuzu keeps him company when I’m at work. Having another cat around gives Charlie an outlet for his primal cat instincts, I think. Like, since Charlie was separated from his own siblings and mom so soon, I don’t think he learned everything he needed to, hence some of his behavioral issues. Being around Zuzu has seemed to soften some of Charlies edges. Either that or he’s just extra hungry for my attention since some of it goes to Zuzu now 🙂