Some of my friends and many of my family members know about our cat Ernie. He’s a black and white tuxedo, with a tough attitude, and despite being rather unfriendly, time and again he charms his way into everyone’s hearts. He certainly steals the show on my Instagram Stories, and even though he spends 80% of his time outside, he keeps us busy (mainly opening and closing doors). So, since it’s a Monday and people tend to feel glum, I thought it would be fun to share some facts about our cat, who I sometimes call Ernesto Che because of his rebellious heart (obviously).
1. Ernie chose us. When he was no more than one years old, the little black and white kitty started to hang around our yard. I was in college at the time and would occasionally see him when I visited. He liked the property, but hated the attention, and would usually stand to be petted only once, if at all, before taking a swipe at my hand. He came and went as he pleased, with his little red collar and white socks, ducking in and out of bushes, and chasing squirrels. We called his family, who told us his name and that he liked to spend time on our block – they were about 3 blocks away and across a busy intersection. They said they had other cats and a cat door for them to come and go, but, the thing about Ernie is, he hates other cats. Literally. He is the most unfriendly, territorial kitty I’ve ever met. When he’s stayed at the vet’s after surgery, they’d let him roam around past the cages where he’d proceed to hiss at every cat he met while wearing his little cone. He also hates small children, of which his old family had several. So, I suppose, he just stopped going back to his original home. He kept coming by the house, liking the affection, attention (until he said no more), and peace of our backyard. Ernie returned everyday. Several years later, he has us wrapped around his little paw. Of course he’s always free to come and go as he pleases – we would just miss him!
2. He only has one fang. He must have broken his tooth in a fight, because one day while yawning I noticed there was nothing but a piece left.
3. Ernie has free healthcare. My Uncle is the most wonderful veterinarian, and takes the best care of him. Perhaps another reason why he moved in!
4. He’s a scary good hunter. We often find ourselves with a gift left at our back door (birds and chipmunks are his favorite), particularly when Jon and I have been away for a day or two. I like to think he misses us and is trying to bring us home, but mostly he’s just a very good predator. We put several bells on his collar to help stop him from being successful, and he also has to wear a bib in the mornings and at sunset (when cats are most likely to catch things) to slow him down. He’s managed to ditch many collars and previous bibs somewhere, so we’re often having to buy new ones. We joke that there’s a pit somewhere that he’s buried all the collars.
5. He is the spitting image of my childhood cat. Which is probably why we took to him right away. Our family cat, Mr. Wuhla, died when I was 6 and I remember crying for days over the loss. While Ernie has nothing on Mr. Wuhla’s kindness, the two looked so similar it was striking – down to the little, scruffy, black and white markings on the face.
6. The night before a full moon is when he is craziest. I’ve taken to calling Ernie “Waxing Gibbous” when he behaves like a maniac, because that’s always the moon phase where he’s hyperactive, alert and generally a nut. His behavior consists of chasing imaginary things, running up and down stairs, and attacking unsuspecting feet.
7. He hates grass but loves fur. Ernie will do everything he can to avoid walking on grass, and he’ll only do it if it’s absolutely necessary to his destination, preferring the driveway, paths, dirt, and mulch. However, he loves fur to sleep on. I have a few sheepskin pillows and a large faux fur throw on my bed and each and everyone of these items is considered a good place to sleep. He immediately makes biscuits on the throw, then proceeds to go to sleep.
8. Ernie will only drink from a human glass. With bad, flaky skin for many years, we have tried everything to improve it, from washes to vitamins. It was only when he sneakily drank out of my water glass, that I found a way for him to drink water. His fur has been glossy ever since!
9. His tongue sometimes sticks out when he’s sleeping. I call it “stuck tongue.” For some reason he can pass out with his tongue sticking out, then proceed to wake up and walk around with his tongue messed up. It’s weird.
10. He has at least 5 known enemies in the neighborhood. They are as follows: Cinnamon, a black and white long hair cat that reminds me of a Turkish Angora; The “white cat”, an all white feral that passes through occasionally; The red fox, a beautiful sight, but so rare to see – Ernie mostly stays inside when he’s nearby; The “gray and white cat” from across the street – a big, fearless puss that boldly walks across front lawns and has beaten Ernie up a few times; and “the men” – any workmen, contractors, lawn guy, or general men in hats – he hates them and either runs away, or hides in our bedroom until they’re gone.
While he’s got a tough personality, he has a heart of mush and when he’s sleepy, all he wants to do it sit on your lap and cuddle. I feel so lucky to have been picked by Ernie, he’s my little friend and soulmate.
Do you have a pet that you adore? Tell me about them in the comments below!