Claudius was a shelter cat. We were told he was 6 months old when we picked him up, but by the way he grew and matured he couldn’t have been much more than 8 or 9 weeks. As you can tell looking at the picture at the top of the page, Claudius was gorgeous. But Claudius had 6 toes on each of his very large, misshaped paws.
I suspect Claudius was born to a breeder that hated his “deformity”. I did some research and I believe he was an Angora, not the typical street cat. I also believe he was abused, including someone hurting his large feet. When we got him he had bloody marks on his feet and was very leery when reached down to him, like he expected to be beaten. When he was instead fed or patted he showed his appreciation more than any animal I’ve seen. To the end of his days, although he would never turn down food, he always would “thank” me before eating and stop midway through to “thank” me again.
He was a very loving and gentle cat. That is, if you weren’t a mouse! He was also very smart. He would turn on the CD player because he liked the noise. I had a multi-track recorder that he played with. First he’d power it on. Then he’d hit fast forward and watch it go for a few seconds. Then he would hit the stop button immediately followed by the rewind. Back and forth, rewind and fast forward, until he got bored. Sometimes when he was done he’d hit the stop, but other times he just left it rewinding or fast forwarding. For a long time I had no idea why the recorder was almost always on and why it wasn’t in the correct place when I sat down to continue a project. But then I caught him and it all made sense. It was funny to see him doing it.
Thinking of music projects, I wrote a song about him, Mr. Bigpaws. Kind of a 1950’s small ensemble jazz thing. “I’m a cat on a mission, a kitten with claws, Mr. Bigpaws – go cat go!” OK, I dug it up. A little explanation – Our other cat’s name was Bartelby. Bartely was maybe 4 or 5 months old when we got Claudius. His little nose was out of joint that we got another cat and we used to joke that he was saying, “when is that big white thing going away?” So there are references the “The Big White Thing” in the song, as well as Bartelby. Claudius was much smaller than Bartelby when he came in, but that didn’t last long!
Yeah, the singing is a little rough, particularly at the beginning. But this was just for fun.
Claudius was great and is sorely missed. We rescued Albert shortly after Claudius passed away. Albert is great in his own right, but there is no such thing as replacing a child.