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The Cat Who Loves Army Men

November 8, 2011

I call him Gus. It’s short for Angus — as in Black Angus. I figured it was a fitting name for a cat that was a big, lugging coal-black beauty.

But he didn’t start his life as Gus. The name he was known by before he came into my life was Poncho.

I found Gus one evening at the Cat Adoption Team, a no-kill feline shelter in Sherwood, Oregon. I stopped by purely on a whim, thinking in the back of my mind that I eventually would need to find an affectionate male cat to join the family and learn from Cole, the first cat I had in my adult life. I knew I wanted one that liked to be held and cuddled, but would also be independent and confident.

Since it was late on a weekday, I had the place almost to myself. I wandered the building, alone save for the cats and the staff. One of the staff started asking me what I was looking for. The moment I described the perfect cat, I was taken straight to Poncho. The coal-black cat with the bright green-gold eyes butted his head against the bars of his crate and meowed at me. When I took him into the meet and greet room, he had no interest in the toys. He wanted only to be held with his head tucked under my chin, serenading me with soft purrs.

I was smitten.

When I told them I wanted the 5-year-old cat to join my crew, the team brightened and told me I wouldn’t be sorry. Then they told me he loved army men.

Yes … Army men.

As I was left to wonder how in the world a cat could know who was in the army, a staff member dashed off to a backroom. When she returned, she handed me a handful of little, green, toy army men.

Suddenly, it all made sense … sort of.

After I got the soon-to-be-named-Gus home, I discovered the extent of his army-man love when I brought home a bag of 200 little, green men (this after I discovered that little, plastic toys + hard wood floors + a cat = a lot of lost toys) and Gus snuck up to steal two off the coffee table before I could stash them in the toy basket.

Gus on his new-found perch on the fridge

But a love of army men is not the only quirky thing about Gus.

There are many things about this cat that I find fascinating. Not the least of which is his love of jumping across seemingly impossible distances with ease. Like when he jumps from the edge of the kitchen island to the top of the fridge. He always has to think about it and prep himself by wiggling his butt several times as he judges the distance, but he always manages to make the leap. I will admit, I keep waiting for him to misjudge and put a dent in the front of the appliance, but so far, so good.

I’m also fascinated by Gus’ lyrical talent. He doesn’t really meow. Instead, he fills my world with chirps and trills and squeaks. And anytime he’s held or petted or scratched or about to be fed, he purrs with contentment. All are noises that cats will make when they are happy, which makes me feel like I’m doing something right with him.

But probably his most interesting talent is his ability to find the weirdest places to sleep. Every evening, after dinner, he slowly, deliberately burrows under a blanket that I have thrown over an armchair in the living room. He sleeps there all evening until it’s time to go to bed.

If I leave a folded blanket anywhere in the house, he will shove himself between the layers and drift off into a happy sleep (until I shove a camera in his face, that is).

But his most amazing feat when sleeping was when I placed one of the many pet beds on the edge of the love seat. He … well … I can’t even begin to describe what he did. You just have to see it for yourself:

Gus is truly a one-of-a-kind kitty. And I can’t wait to see what other antics he has in his repertoire.

From → Animals, Cats

  1. Nancy permalink

    Thank you so much for the great story. It is so nice to see the cats that we love and become attached to find such a wonderful home.

    • Awww … I really try to give him a wonderful home — as well as his fellow cats and dog. I just got home from a trip and it absolutely thrilled me to hear him chirp and trill to greet me. It really never gets old. He is a very special cat and I am happy that you all pointed me in his direction.

  2. What a great update on Gus. It’s so nice to see him in his forever home and that he still have a love for army men. Thanks for continuing to share him with all of us at CAT.

    • I’m so happy to share. I know you all love these kitties, too, or you wouldn’t do what you do

  3. Susan Berger permalink

    Ahhh….now the army man fetish makes sense! Should have read this story first!

    • LOL … glad it makes sense now. Gus and his little fetish is funny … and weird … and entertaining.

  4. Andrew Austern permalink

    He’s awesome. How much to buy him from you? 🙂

    • LOL … there is not enough money in the world. He’s a character and that’s worth more than anything else. 🙂

  5. Angie permalink

    What a great story! Everyday someone does the world good by adding a little happy to our hearts be it kitty or human. Angie

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