The Supporting Cast of Characters – Julian
You know how every Shakespeare play, whether comedy or tragedy, has a character that is there for the purpose of comic relief? Well…I think that is who Julian may be in our household!
We got Julian after our black jaguar of a cat, Fredy, disappeared. We think he became one with the coyote that runs in the field near our house. Fredy actually disappeared 2 days before Farmer Jeff and I married. It was not an easy time. It was hard, at times, to be truly blissfully happy with Fredy gone! After going through a complete meltdown on a daily basis once returning from our honeymoon, I convinced Farmer Jeff we HAD to get a kitten if I were to survive without a perpetual wad of wet Kleenex in my hand and a very red nose.
Off we went to the “kitten fair”. As you might remember from other animal selections, Farmer Jeff picks the cats since I have more of an affinity for them (and I pick the dogs for the same reason…but I think that is changing!) We spotted lots of pretty little puffy kittens, but Farmer Jeff’s eyes locked on a little, sleepy, sneezy gray puff-ball. I didn’t think his markings were that interesting, and because he had a touch of a cold, wasn’t showing a dazzling personality, but rather a slightly drugged one! Well…Farmer Jeff prevailed and off we went with another little being to love.
We set up the kitten’s living quarters in the bathroom for a couple of reasons:
1. He had a cold and I didn’t want him to give it to Ginger
2. Ginger had to get used to him on her terms…and that meant that the kitten had to learn that Ginger was the Queen of the House!
The kitten ended up being sick with a cold/upper respiratory infection for close to 2 months and spent a lot of that time in the bathroom. I would go in there when I was at home, hang out with him, read to him, play with him, give him his medicine…and just enjoy him!
The dogs could not WAIT to get into the bathroom to see him…and when they did, Callebaut was so AFRAID of him! It was pretty funny to watch!!! The kitten just loved having any other animals in the bathroom to play with and after not too long, really bonded with India.
Naming the kitten was a little frustrating. I initially wanted to name him Rocky the flying Squirrel. NO. Then I thought of Sterling…because he is a beautiful, shiny gray color. NO. Farmer Jeff wanted to call him Smokey, but I couldn’t do that because I had a dog growing up named Smokey that no one liked. But “Smokey” gave me an idea. My favorite country community to visit as a child was Julian, in San Diego county. It caught fire on the day we were married… and since he way gray, we decided to name him:
Julian Tozier (after Tozier’s drug store, now long gone, in Julian) Mall. He really can carry off the name.
We wanted to make sure the dogs didn’t intimidate him too much so we tried a training technique we were taught at the animal shelter: tie down. The dog is on a 3 foot leash and the leash is connected to either a very heavy piece of furniture or a ring screwed into the wall. This way the kitten can run around without the dogs chasing after him and they can see that the kitten has permission to do so from ME! It was really affective and Julian is VERY comfortable around the dogs. If they are fighting over a dish of food on the kitchen floor, Julian will just walk between them and stand in the plate of stuff…and start eating! Or he will drink water with the other 2 dogs at the same time! He is fearless!
One of Julian’s nuttiest idiosyncrasies is his love of greens. We first discovered this when he started eating the celery tops off the bunch of celery still in the grocery bag! Since the cats aren’t allowed outside now since the demise of Fredy, I guess he needs his greens! I have caught him eating beet greens, collard greens, celery greens and lettuce. If I don’t fix him his own “salad” before I have fixed one for myself, he will jump up on the counter and walk over to the salad bowl and start eating before I can stop him. (I don’t think Farmer Jeff knows this! Don’t tell him!)
Julian also is very much at home around water. I think it comes from having grown up in the bathroom! He has no fear of the shower and used to get in it when we would go into “his room” to use it! He also will jump up on any sink for a drink out of the faucet, and he will just lay down in the bathtub. Without water…but still! When I do run a bath, he won’t get out of the tub until the water has hit all four paws, and then he just jumps up on the edge of the tub and circles it while I am in it. He does stop occasionally for a swipe at me or the water.
Julian is really not much of a snuggler. He will get up on the bed in the morning and gently put him paw on the side of my face, at which point I am to stop sleeping and begin the stroking and adoration of his majesty. If I don’t wake up or pet him, he will then put his paw on my lips. If I still don’t respond, he then puts his paw on my mouth with claws extended. That ALWAYS works!
He often surprises us by just appearing, much like the Chesire Cat of Alice in Wonderland, in the oddest places. He just likes to watch us! He rarely meows, but really lets out little squeaks. He does purr like a maniac…and has the mellowest personality of any cat I have ever known.
Since we have had him he had acquired several nicknames: Sputnik (because he is gray, as was the first Russian space capsule), J-Boy, Junior, Whacko, The Boy, Water Kitty and Nut-Case. Whatever his name, he is our little character that is always surprising us by doing something we have never seen another cat do…like fling himself on the front door and hang there, or lie down in the bathtub, or eat lettuce, or lounge with wild abandon, or perch high above like Snoopy imitating “the Vulture!” We love him no matter what he does ‘cause he’s our little clown!