So we have a monster-cat. Five years ago on Christmas he was a 7-week-old darling, all fuzz and purrs. I named him Dundee, after the Scottish marmalade, because he was that sweet and that was the color of his fur. Unfortunately, he heard Dundee and immediately thought Crocodile Dundee, and that's been his personality ever since. Seriously. He no longer goes to the vet -- with the vet's full approval. The staff passed him around, trying to find a doctor brave enough to put that thermometer where that thermometer needed to go. Nope. A year ago, they gave up trying to clip his claws, and this year decided he really didn't need that shot.
Now he weighs close to twenty pounds and asserts his masculinity by assuming "the pose." He can be very loving and cuddly, IF it's his idea, but there's no way to make him do something he doesn't want to do. He bows only to one authority -- our 17-year old tuxedo cat, who boxed Dundee's ears for him early in his life. Now Dundee approaches Panda slowly, with head down, and begs to have his ears washed. But with us -- he can be deliberately provocative. The vet suggested that he is a frustrated alpha-male, the youngest member of the family, and unable to exercise his natural leadership. His advice? Get a kitten! Give Dundee someone to boss around.
My first reaction was no way! Dundee would eat a kitten for lunch. But we finally decided to try it. Thus this little Russian Blue named "Swizzle" joined the family this Christmas. She's almost 4 months old -- old enough to be able to defend herself, I hoped. But she didn't need a defense; she just charmed the arrogance right out of Crocodile Dundee. Now he follows her around patiently, watching to make sure she's safe. He's a fuss-budget if she disappears. He gives her his toys and lets her eat out of his dish. When I put her in the extra bathroom for the night, he guards the door. And if she joins the rest of the cats for a nap on the big bed, Dundee is there, too, watching to make sure nobody else picks on her.
A lesson for the coming year? Perhaps it's this: Even the meanest kid on the block needs somebody to love.