Loki turns four this week, an event which he will probably not be celebrating, given that birthday cake would probably bring about a irritable bowel flareup. But he certainly has grown rather a lot since I first met him, and one frequently reflects on growth and relationships on birthdays.
My relationship with Loki began when I briefly worked in the isolation ward of the Humane Society. They were experiencing a ringworm epidemic, so they needed additional staffers, and I do have experience dealing with sick animals. I helped to establish a protocol for dealing with the problem, and I dealt with a lot of very small, very bald animals.
Loki was one of them. He was one of a feral litter, all of whom were marked with distinctive and colorful splotches of color, although their beautiful coats were hard to see because they were bald. Poor Loki. When I first met him, he was small enough to almost fit in my hand, and the rest of his litter was beating up on him. Despite the fact that every time I saw him I covered him in stinging lotion, Loki purred every time I picked him up, and when he was separated out from the rest of his litter because they got better and he didn’t, he would persistently try to play with everybody who passed through the bars of his cage.
Once Loki recovered enough to join the general population, I got into the habit of carrying him around with me. I knew that it would be hard to work at the Humane Society without wanting to take every animal home, but I steadfastly resisted until the shelter director pointed out that there was room for him in the public rooms.
“I’ll just, er, take him home and foster him for a few days,” I said. “Just to see how he interacts with other cats, you know.” She gave me a knowing smirk, and I took Loki home with me, where he developed into this:
As it turned out, Loki didn’t suffer any ill effects from his bout with ringworm infection, although he does have irritable bowel disease, which makes him a sort of special needs cat. I say sort of because Loki doesn’t require constant care for his condition, but he does need a special diet, and I have to keep an eye on what he eats and when. He has also become dangerous fat, despite my attempts at getting him to lose weight; while fat cats are often an object of joking, fat cats are prone to health risks, kids, so don’t let your cats get as overweight as Loki is!
It’s awesome having Loki in my life, although Mr. Bell and Mr. Shadow have their doubts about him sometimes. He has essentially boundless energy, and he’s very affectionate although he is shy with strangers. Which is a pity, since most people who see Loki want to pick him up, since he looks so soft. He’s one of the few cats I know who will purr if you look at him, and he has an unerring sense for knowing when you’re feeling sad, in which case he will distract you by doing something foolish. Although having three cats is awkward sometimes, I’m glad that Loki’s around, and I cannot imagine him living with anyone else.
Loki also helps with day to day website production; his favorite spot is wedged between my keyboard and my monitor, which is where he is right now.