Thursday, November 19, 2009

Peanut Head: A Cat's Life


Peanut Head was old. When he was born, his head was shaped like a peanut, and he carried around an unusually funky odor for awhile. Eventually his fur came in more fully, the smell went away, and a very unique personality began to emerge. He was a feisty and loyal cat. He would leave dead moles and birds on my parents front porch as gifts. He enjoyed walking around the chain-linked fences in our suburban neighborhood, tormenting all of the dogs. While the dogs would bark impotently at the outrage of a feline on their property, Peanut Head would plop down just far enough away from the fence to be sure he was safe, and lick himself in a leisurely, methodical fashion. He was kind of a neighborhood cat, and we're pretty sure he was getting his bread buttered at other houses than ours. He had the system figured out.

We gave away all of Peanut Head's brothers and sisters, but kept him. I'm not sure why we kept him, but I'm glad we did. When he was a kitten (and I was still a kitten), We would play a game together where I would lower my head to just within his reach, and he would stand up on his hind legs and bounce into my chin. He was a good lap cat most of the time, but he had a mercurial streak, which I respected. One time he climbed up into the engine of my mom's van, and when she started it, a fan blade chopped his ear off. He was a skanky cat, especially towards the end. But he ruled the street my parents live on. I liked to think of him as the godfather of the neighborhood's cats. Every so often, he would seem to take some stray kitten under his wing, you know, to show it the ropes. They would hang out for awhile, until the day that (I guess) the apprentice cat was ready to go off on it's own. Peanut Head had a sense of community.

He was around through my teenage years, when my entire body was in revolt against itself. So, as is the case with Pearl Jam and Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Taylor shoes and Mr. Outt (the cool math teacher), I'll always remember Peanut Head with a special fondness. We always remember fondly those who remained faithful allies even as the mortars fell.

Rest In Peace, Peanut Head. Sorry about the crappy name. You were a pretty fucking awesome cat.

6 comments:

Willie Y said...

Peanut Head, I love that name. I had a pet elephant that was named Peanut Breath. Good post.

Lodo Grdzak said...

That ear getting cut-off by the fan blade is priceless.

And once again Spence, a funny sort-of life parallel that you and I seem to consistently experience. My old dog Tina had a somewhat related malady.

But we can get to that another time. For now--Long live the legendary Peanut Head!

Spencer Troxell said...

Thanks, guys. Peanut Head was a great cat. Probably the only animal I've ever really bonded with in my whole life.

Your dog got it's ear cut off, Lodo? I assume not by the fan in a van's engine. Do tell.

Lodo Grdzak said...

In time, I shall. Meanwhile I liked this post.

...And do I dare ask how's Maggie?

Spencer Troxell said...

Maggie's fine. I've never been much of a dog person, so it's been a big adjustment for me to have her around. The kids like her though, which was the point.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Not much of a dog person?! You must not have met the right one. Enjoy the holiday!