Growing up, my younger brother and I were not members of one of those families fortunate enough to have a house pet. Not to say we didn’t have great childhoods, but something about the thought of a shedding, four-legged creature roaming loose about the house caused Mom and Dad shudder with fear and respond to our every pleading request with an astounding “NO.”
Sure, we went through our fair share of goldfish and hamsters, but nothing came close to filling that special place in our hearts as our “man’s best friend.”
So, not even five minutes after unpacking the last box in my first apartment did I decide to get a kitten. Not that I knew the first thing about raising a kitten, but the eighteen years of animal withdrawal had finally gotten to me. Enter Nikko: the gray-and-white marked, domestic shorthaired, claws-still-intact feline. My first real pet.
The time he tried to kill the fake mouse, I took pictures. When he used the litter box for the first time, I applauded (my roommates rolled their eyes). The time he got himself stuck between a screen window and its glass pane, I seriously considered packing him up and shipping him back off to where he came from. But,despite his climbing up the curtains, constant chewing through electrical wires, and pouncing on my feet in the middle of the night, I adored his existence. So one can imagine that I didn’t even bat an eye the night he ate an entire unopened bag of cat treats — foil and all. That was just the beginning.
Four years, 63,000 tuna-flavored chewy cat treats and eighteen pounds later, I have come to the conclusion that I am the proud owner of the world’s HUNGRIEST cat.
This kitty isn’t joking around when it comes to food. If you were to leave an unattended bag of cat food on the kitchen counter, you’d have a better chance of being struck by lightening than to think it won’t be ransacked with tooth and claw marks upon your return.
Think it might be better to shut that food tight in the closet? Think again. This cat will break that door right off its hinges. And I wouldn’t even dare to leave any type of meat, poultry, dairy, meat byproduct, French fry, or any other edible food known to man anywhere within his reach. If he smells it, he will come.
Recently, while informing an old friend online of my pet’s out of control obsession with food, I explained, “He tries to eat the other [my roommate’s] cats.”
“He tries to eat their food?” she typed.
“No, no. He literally tries to eat her cats!” I exclaimed.
I’ve witnessed this myself. A ravenous Nikko will use his tremendous weight to hold down a fellow feline while going for a bite to the neck. A shrill shriek can be faintly heard from far beneath the fur. Suddenly, the prey tries to make his escape and a mass fur ball runs up the stairs. Then back down. Then up again. It’s attempted kitty cannibalism at its finest.
Finally, both cats will emerge from battle — one with an almost pitiful look of defeat, his tail between his legs, while the other licks his lips in another rousing victory. I’ll let you determine which cat is mine.
He’s been known to eat hot dogs, blocks of cheese and entire chicken breasts in one sitting. If there is a scrap of leftover food in the garbage can, it will be his nighttime mission to knock over the can to devour it (coincidentally, this usually happens right before I enter the kitchen, barefoot, for my midnight snack). And that sound similar to a pack of fighter jets flying overhead every time you open the pantry? No need to fear… it’s just Nikko racing down the stairs, his super-sonar ears having picked up on the possibility that you opened that pantry to feed him (again).
His breathing is so loud that you can hear him from another room. His belly itself is bigger than a small child. And he will swat at your legs in the morning if there is no food in his bowl. But, he is cuddly, fun, and there to cheer me up when I have a bad day. He may be literally larger than life, but he is my first — and only — pet (thank goodness)!