Charlie the Cat at Two

My boy is now over two years old! I thought it would be fun to write an annual diary entry documenting Charlie’s past year. He’s not much of a scribbler, but I’m sure he’s fine with me stepping in as his ghostwriter while he pursues far more important matters, like a nap.

Charlie’s personality changed a lot since kittenhood, when he was bold as brass. I used to bring him over to Mum’s place and he’d roam all over the house and garden, completely oblivious to Mum’s cat. Nowadays he’s way more cautious and timid around spaces he doesn’t know well, more likely to run and hide under the bed all day. It’s a shame because I was really hoping that he would enjoy leashed outings in Mum’s garden. Charlie fared better at my friend’s place, where I had to leave him for a month while I was on a holiday in Europe, so he could relax into it more and get used to the new and strange noises. The highlight of his stay was climbing inside my friend’s bed mattress by making a small rip in the mattress more cat-sized.

Travel in the car remains the Kitty Hell on Earth. Charlie is fine while I put him in the cage, fine while I put the cage inside the car, but once the engine starts he loses it. Luckily for the driver, after a couple of loud complaining meows Charlie simply curls into a ball and falls into stupor for the remainder of the trip. He’s so quiet I always feel like prodding him to make sure he’s still breathing.

As befits a true blue British Shorthair, Charlie will usually only tolerate being picked up for five seconds or so and is definitely not a lap cat. However, as a part of his morning routine, he’ll spend a few minutes lying on my chest every day while getting petted. He’s also the purriest cat I’ve ever met, going off like a little engine at the most random times.

Charlie has grown out of most of his kitten toys, but a humble piece of paper on a string is still a winner. However I think I’m in fact his favourite toy as well as his favourite food dispenser, displaying a wide range of behaviours and reactions that never get old. He loves playing ambush and stalking games.

When you get a cat, you eventually learn that you can have a cat, or a pristine couch without pulled threads everywhere, but never both. R.I.P. my beautiful red couch.

While living in my apartment, Charlie developed a few habits, some charming and some infuriating. He learned to slide the mirror doors on my bedroom wardrobe open by using his body weight, so my wardrobe is rarely ever fully closed. It’s a tad creepy at times to lie in my bed and watch the door quietly slide open as if by itself. Charlie also has a liking for water, contrary to the popular cat stereotypes. Most mornings, he’ll sit at the edge of my open shower and basically wait for me to drench him, so that he can settle on the bathroom mat all wet and dripping and groom himself.

On the not-so-adorable side, Charlie went through a phase where he decided that he really liked to terrorise and maul one of my living room plants. He managed to bypass all the obstacles I put in his path: pillows, stacks of books, a large figurine of a cat I’ve had for years (I nicknamed it Charlie’s Trophy Wife). In the end, the only thing that worked was removing the plant to where the little bastard couldn’t reach it, until he finally got over it.

For all his naughty mischievous ways, Charlie is a sweet boy with a beautiful nature, and completely non-aggressive. Their gentle personality was one of the reasons I wanted a British Shorthair, and they certainly breed them well.

Last year, I discovered the popular chonk meme (internet slang for the aggressively chubby cats), and the CHONK chart:

I’m not too pleased to say that, at the minimum, Charlie rates as A Heckin’ Chonker. British Shorthairs are the bulldogs of the cat world and supposed to be big and stocky, but I definitely need to watch his diet.

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