Hairy Pawter is a solid black, solidly build cat. His nose is solid black. His paw pads are solid black. Some of his claws even have streaks of black in them. He's like Pablo, as a cat. He's a hefty boy, but he's not fat - he's just solidly built (or maybe big boned). His fur is a medium length, sort of like Kirby's was, and is super soft, like Cammy's. His eyes are much more on the coppery end of the spectrum than any of our other cats' have been. They still have a tinge of green in there, but they are a very rich orange on the edges. Hairy has a really long tail, even for a cat. But one day while we were at the vet to get a round of kitten shots, the doctor noted that he had a very short neck. I hadn't noticed before, but it was true. She went on to note that this was unusual, as cats with long tails usually also have long necks. It makes me think of those cartoons where somebody pulls the cat's tail and it pulls down the whole length of the cat to make his head hit his shoulders.
Confession time: Hairy Pawter is not my cat. He is not even really a "family cat". He is technically my daughter's cat. She saved up her allowance money to pay for his adoption fee ($90). I didn't really want another cat with Cammy being so old and needing extra attention. She proved she could take care of him herself by taking care of our existing cats (Cammy and Phoebe) for many months. She was responsible for feeding them twice a day, changing their water, and cleaning out one of the litter boxes. And she did it. So, we ran out of excuses, and shortly after her 8th birthday, we took a trip to the East Bay SPCA in Dublin to see if we could find a suitable kitten.
Since the new kitten would be living with all of us (and we'd be providing for his vet care, food, etc.), we agreed we would listen to each others' concerns and try to find a kitten the whole family could be happy with. Kiddo wanted a black kitten. I wasn't keen on a black kitten, since we already had so many dark and hard to see at night animals, so I asked her to keep an open mind, and I would keep an open mind, too. I wanted the new kitten to be friendly - nobody likes a cat that you never get to see because it's hiding all the time. Kiddo agreed with this idea. Kiddo also wanted a "playful" kitten. We informed her that that was pretty much all kittens, but I'm not sure she believed us.
We checked out several kittens. The first one was a cute, fluffy brown guy, but he was a bit scaredy, even though we were in his room. We weren't so sure about him. Next we checked out a couple of grey tabby kittens with a lot of white on them, one at a time in a new room. The first guy would play with toys, but he did not want to be petted and he seemed way too energetic, with a lot of attacking and scratching. After Phoebe, we didn't want another trouble-maker. The second guy hid under the table and chairs the whole time, and would not come out, even if we stayed still and just moved toys around. Again, since we already had our scaredy cat Phoebe, we didn't feel like we needed another one. Then kiddo and I went out of the room to see if there was another kitten we wanted to visit with. As we walked by a bank of small kitten crates up against the wall (the kind with the clear plastic windows on the front), we heard some mewing. We looked around until we saw a little kitten in the window, mewing as he saw us go by. Of course, he was black. I was not crazy about that, but he seemed friendly, like he wanted to be with people, so we decided to take him to the other room and see what he was like.
Once in the new room, he seemed fairly confident (for a cat). At least, he wasn't just hiding under the chairs. He would play with the toys, but he wasn't super crazy nutters like the one grey and white kitten. And then he hopped up on the chairs, walked over and curled up on my lap, purring. Awww! We decided he had to be the right one. Kiddo had already picked out his name, without ever seeing him, but for a black cat, "Hairy Pawter" fit. I was trapped being a kitten bed, so Dave and our daughter went out to finalize the adoption. They came back, and I was still being a cat bed, but we put him in a carrier and headed home.
Most of the time, Hairy Pawter is a pretty chill kitty. Most of the time. Then there are the times when he is just a major trouble maker, mostly harassing poor Phoebe. When he had first come home, he was a major rumble-puss. If he was sleeping anywhere, you just had to pet him a couple times and his motor would start going like crazy (and crazy loud, too). It was sort of like starting a lawnmower. Pet once - small rumble, stop. Pet twice - a bit bigger rumble, stop. Pet third time - full continuous rumble. He wasn't much of a lap kitten, but he did have that rumble.
Cammy, as is her usual way, quickly told Mr. Pawter what-for quite vigorously while standing her ground, and he mostly leaves her alone. Cammy doesn't take any guff from anyone. But, poor skittish Phoebe was another matter. Right from the get-go she saw Hairy as some sort of demon spawn to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, her fleeing in terror only caused him to chase her more ("Whee! This is fun!"). It took Phoebe a good while before she would stand up to Mr. Pawter at all. And even then, he didn't really take her seriously. He thinks it's all part of the game, but Phoebe is really annoyed by him. We've even started doing some shaping (clicker training) with him to get him to burn some mental energy so he'll leave Phoebe alone more often.
Mr. Pawter and Freya were pretty good snuggle buddies for a while, although they are less so now. I think Hairy ratcheted up the play attack level to extra pointy, and Freya said "Oh, is that how we're playing now?" and increased her chew and roll onto him levels to compensate. So now they don't wrassle so much, but it was super cute while it lasted. Penny, surprisingly, took to Mr. Pawter very well. I was fully expecting a repeat of her nose pressed into the kitten habitat licking and whining like when we brought Phoebe home, but she never really did any of that. She was, of course, interested in the new arrival, but not obsessively so. Hairy, however, was quite terrified of the giant monsters. It was obvious he had not spent any time around dogs, or at least not large ones. It took him a while to get used to their presence, and then even longer to get used to them moving quickly. I remember one time he was on the sofa and I kicked one of Freya's foam balls across the living room for her to chase. She took off after it and ran right by him (not paying any attention to him), and he puffed up and hissed like it was the end of days. Poor little guy, but he did get used to them eventually. Now he doesn't bat an eye when the run right up to him.
Mr. Pawter has been pretty good with company, not really running for the hills when people come over, which has been nice. Which is not to say he enjoys being in the thick of it, but he is much less twitchy than Phoebe about strangers. He really enjoys his food, though, and becomes a super rumble puss when it's dinner time or special treats are on the way. But, it's almost as if his brain turns off when food is coming. He got an activity mat for his kibbles at Christmas time. It has clear bowls, an area of tall pegs, some wavy trenches, and a tunnel with tiny holes on top. It took him a while to get the hang of working for his dinner. He really just wanted you to get the kibbles out for him. He would purr and walk around and not really make any effort at all to try to get the kibbles out. It took him a while, but now he's a pro with it, and is getting better at other puzzles, too. But we're seeing the same purring and inability to think when it comes to the clicker training now. Hopefully he'll get better at being able to think around food soon.
My daughter has been taking Mr. Pawter outside for "walks" on a harness and leash. They mostly explore the front yard, without really going much of anywhere. Kiddo has started taking books out, so she'll sit and read while Hairy can explore the yard to his heart's content. We also hope that going out and exploring will use some of his mental energies, so he will be more likely to leave Phoebe alone.
Here are some home-made movies of Hairy Pawter in action:
Aside from "Hairy" and "Mr. Pawter", Hairy Pawter is also called Chunky Monkey and Hefty Hefty Hefty, not because he's fat, but because he is solid and weighs a lot more than the girl cats. He also gets called a lot of things related to "butts", like "You little butt!" or "You sphincter!" because he can be a big jerk towards the other cats sometimes, especially Phoebe, who does not really stand up to him. He thinks he is play wrasslin', but Phoebe does not, and he doesn't take a hint. At all. Dave kept trying to call him Gigi (from "Kiki's Delivery Service"), but it never really stuck.
Hairy Pawter is the most boyish cat we've ever had. He is so rough-and-tumble and so destructive - things I only thought were reserved for the dogs. He is always wanting to wrestle. He tries to play with Cammy, who just explodes and tells him off. Mostly he leaves her alone now. But when he tries Phoebe, it's another whole ball game. Rather than stand her ground, she just runs for the hills, which just inspires Mr. Pawter to chase, which poor Phoebe does not enjoy. He will pounce on her, and now a lot of the time she will hiss and try to tell him off, but then she runs and he is after her. We are constantly trying to play with him to get his energy out so he'll leave Phoebe alone. He has also discovered that he can wrassle with Freya, and they are actually a good match for each other.
As for being The Destroyer, well, aside from Kirby and his brief box hole punching period, we've never had a kitty who liked to destroy things as much as Mr. Pawter. He sits in boxes and rips up the flaps on the bottom. He has chewed chunks off the corner of one of our kitchen anti-fatigue mats. He chewed carpet padding out from a small hole in the carpet. He has attacked and torn up several pieces of my dog training equipment (a platform and most of my pool noodle go-around poles). Nothing remotely soft and squishy is safe from his wrathful jaws of doom.