Category Archives: Kazon

Size doesn’t matter

A close-up of Larenti (20080927_12938)

Larenti is the largest member of The Kids.  He also happens to be the most docile cat in the house, one who shrinks from most encounters and shuns confrontation.

I’ve always suspected his early years brought with them some kind of abuse given his fear of hands, and likewise I think the formative nature of growing up left him with a dread running through his every interaction and encounter with other creatures.  His size alone makes him a formidable presence; his personality strips away that advantage and replaces it with palpable cowardice.

A close-up of Vazra (200_0056)

Vazra, on the other hand, is a petite feline if one ignores the plush fur that doubles his size, yet he fears nothing.  With a devil-may-care attitude he does as he wishes sans any consideration for others, and he defends himself with vigilance and might.  Not that he’s violent, mind you, but he certainly puts up with no flack from anyone.

If he wants to lie somewhere, by golly he’s going to lie there no matter who he has to step on or smother in the process.  If he wants to get in my lap and it’s already occupied, he’ll gladly climb atop the current occupant in order to claim some bit of Daddy’s time and personal space.  Yet he has such a small frame that it’s easy to misjudge his weight when picking him up given that his hair makes him appear twice as large as he really is.  But he doesn’t let that get in the way of his confidence or demeanor.

A close-up of al-Zill (20080927_12963)

al-Zill remains a kitten at heart.  Young of body and mind, his rambunctious spirit crashes through most every second of the day.  He gleefully romps about without any concern for others, tackling the first cat to walk by, chasing anything that moves (and quite a bit that doesn’t move), confronting others in the cat boxes, taking random swings at others hoping to induce play, and otherwise being what a child should be: a meddlesome, troublesome bundle of energy.

While physically he is a relatively small cat with a wee bit of extra padding around the middle, like any juvenile he fears nothing.  When surprised, he flees to a safe distance until he understands the situation, but mostly he sees everything and everyone as a toy, and he lives every moment as though enjoyment lost then can never be regained.  And damn the consequences!

A close-up of Kako (20080825_11486)

The smallest fur person in the house, Kako most likely is the most powerful inhabitant of the xenogere homestead.  Being the lone female in a house full of boys means she has to make up with attitude what she lacks in size and strength.  And attitude she has in abundance.

Kako takes no crap from anyone, least of all me.  All I need do is point at her for doing something wrong and her ears go back as she takes a swing at my parental display (if not several swings).  If any of The Kids invade her space, she growls and howls and puts on a show that would make any reasonable person think she was being tortured.  When it comes to defending her own honor and safety, all of the cats know better than to mess with her.  Petite body notwithstanding, she’s a powerful force and a dangerous woman.  Besides, she also happens to be Daddy’s Girl, so she knows I’ll come to the rescue at the drop of a hat (not that I often need to, but she plays that card when necessary).

A close-up of Kazon (20080927_12946)

Kazon equals Larenti in size, except he doesn’t carry the extra weight.  He’s a lean jock, a large tom with a wide, powerful head that matches his considerable dimensions.  Although without a doubt the biggest baby in the house, my puppy who will never grown out of his childish mind, Kazon puts on the cloak of a big boy when the need arises.

I’m convinced he hasn’t a clue how big and powerful he is.  He still sometimes forgets about his own ass when he jumps up on furniture, leaving him hanging by his front claws while his back feet sway in the wind.  Nevertheless, he tries to assist with discipline from time to time and he dives into kitten-like mayhem without notice, and more often than not it’s his overwhelming size that wins the day.  (In most cases, he simply crashes on top of his playmate in order to win.)

A close-up of Loki (20081005_13451)

Despite age and asthma, Loki remains a menacing feline.  While it goes without saying that he is physically powerful and agile, his dominance stems more from his mind than his body.  He is a plotter and planner, one who carefully and quickly thinks through every action to ensure he manipulates events to his liking.  Though not always the winner at play—or even getting the resting spot he wants most—Loki represents one of the most dangerous things in the universe: a predator with a sharp mind and the physical power to back it up.

Loki is a hazardous foe because he has the potent body of a true killer, but he is even more dangerous because he has the one tool that can win over brawn every single time: a developed intellect that is as keen as it is cunning.  Even as the years have begun slowing him down and even as acute asthma has made him want for breath in the midst of trouble, he wields forethought like a sword.  This has made him the true god of mischief.

A close-up of Grendel (204_0487)

My sickly baby.  Grendel has spent his entire life dealing with one ailment after another: arthritic bone spurs in his hips, acute asthma, stones in his kidneys and bladder, and an immune system that now attacks his own intestines.  From his first year he battled ailment after ailment, yet he remained the alpha of the clan.  Large enough to throw his weight around, thoughtful enough to know that one cannot rule by violence alone, strong enough to put his foot down when needed, and smart enough to let others have their way from time to time, Grendel epitomizes the best kind strength: the gentle kind.

Illness and years have robbed him of much of his potency.  He lost enough weight such that he can no longer whip up on others to keep them in line.  But he tries, and many times he succeeds; but more often than not he prefers to stay out of the fray.  How I miss his casual enforcement of his rights, barely lifting from a resting position to knock away those who would steal his bed.  How I miss the confidence that once dripped from his every move.  Yet what disease and time have stolen from him I give back by proxy.  Grendel will be the alpha until he dies; the others know this and respect it, even if I have to make sure they don’t push him too far.

Of tremors and fevers

I watch him as he quivers, his body shaken frequently yet not terribly.

Small, fast movements easily mistaken for the shivers of someone briefly struck with a sense of cold, with chills.

But over time even the doctors agree they represent something else, something akin to the tremors suffered by a Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s patient.

And tremors they are.

Whether he be lying down for a nap, sitting patiently waiting for treats or standing nearby watching to see where I might be going, I see the shudders as clearly as I might see the sun climb above the horizon.

Tremors the doctor called them, signs of possible neurological damage from a lifetime of systemic steroid use.

So we wait and we watch and we hope things do not worsen.

I nevertheless believe his twelve years of life come next February could well mark a turning point for him, a signpost lighted as evidence of things to come, of a life winding down like an old clock, of a sponge from whom no more can be wrung.

Wait and watch…

Another sickly chap maintains a lesser weight than he once carried, a panther reduced in size but not spirit.

Or almost.

His immune system dysfunction does regularly battle with his quest for happiness.  A lonesome fatigue results.

Scarcely more than ten years old in human terms, already he demonstrates a slowing skill for causing trouble.  Only slightly though.

When at night he curls up with me under the sheets and rests his head upon my arm, his head tickling my face with hair, I forget easily the vulnerability he suffers, the near-fatal episode he recently survived as his body did war against itself.

No greater love can be found in any juvenile-minded life than exists in this dear soul, this marvelous baby whose fevers do little to diminish his spirit.

Upon how many fields must we stand and fight before this ghoulish villain leaves him to enjoy his days?  Or can such a thing even be accomplished?

Wait and watch…


A close-up of Kazon in bright sunlight (20080927_12947)

A phone call dreaded.  An outcome feared.

Yet apprehension died after the word ‘hello’…

Kazon underwent his dental surgery today, a rushed schedule following the strong regimen of antibiotics and steroids that filled these past two weeks.

Despite the very real danger of yet another tantrum by his immune system, the doctor reassures me that all went well.

The recent outbreak of his white cells attacking his own body seems to have been in response to infection in the tooth.  It takes but the slightest hint of infection for his immune system to explode in a rage of self-destructive behavior.

He endured three full weeks of antibiotics, two of which included a powerful combination of two such medicines coupled with a systemic steroid, and that seems to have done the trick, at least for now.

A bit later this afternoon I shall venture out to fetch him and return him to his place of comfort: home.

My job is to keep a close eye on him to ensure no infection sets in and that his behavior and health remain normal.  Any signs to the contrary might indicate the unleashing of yet another attack by his own body, one intent on protecting itself from infection by killing the host.

What a frightening thought…