Spaz has been with me since Halloween 1994, when my new wife (of one month) and I decided to adopt a cat, since we didn't have any children. She only wanted to adopt one kitten and I had wanted two. My reasoning was that, since we both worked during the day, one cat would get bored and have nothing to do and therefore get fat and lazy. Whereas two cats would keep each other occupied and healthy becasue they'd be chasing each other around the apartment.
When we got to the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Massachusetts they had a limited supply of kittens. In fact, they had just two left and they were brothers. These were the remaining two of a litter of seven. When we first saw them, one was cleaning the fur of the other and it was absolutely adorable. My wife's heart melted at the sight of them and I was justly pleased becasue I wanted two cats anyway.
So we adopted both kittens, not wanting to separate the brothers.
Now the task of naming them needed to be addressed. Upon arriving home, one kitten immediately hid under the couch, right in the middle. He was a gray and white long hair tabby who earned the name Phantom. The other kitten was, shall we say, a bit more active. Much more. He immediately started tearing around the apartment, racing around and absolutely jumping on every piece of furniture we had in that small one bedroom apartment. This rightly earned him the name Spaz.
Unfortunately the only pictures I have of Phantom aren't scanned. He was such a beautiful cat. *sniffle* Phantom died of an apparent heart attack in January, 1997. Since we got these kittens before V or M came along, these were "our babies". When Phantom died (a story for another day) I was heartbroken. We had him cremated. I still have his ashes *glances over at the container*, which normally I keep on a shelf in my room, for lack of a better place.
The ex and I adopted Shadow on my daughter's first birthday, in 1998. Officially he is V's cat.
A girl I used to work with had a sister who found Shadow as a stray kitten. She took him in and wanted to adopt him. Unfortunately she had allergies and his long hair soon made it impossible for her to keep him. So the girl I worked with told me this story and asked me if I knew of anyone who would want to adopt the kitten. After the cat was described to me I said I might but needed to ask the missus first. (Always a good idea.)
At first the ex was hesitant how Spaz would deal with a new cat in the house. I had the same question myself. But we both noticed how Spaz seemed to be a non-Spaz since his brother died. A serious case of cat depression, if you can believe it. We decided that it would be beneficial for Spaz to have another cat to play with, so the next day I told my friend at work that I would take the cat in.
When I brought it home I introduced it to V. It wanted nothing to do with my daughter (they get along fine now). The new kitten earned the name Shadow because it followed us everywhere in the house we went, trying to play with us and always in the way and right under our feet. Without fail. I can't tell you how often that cat almost got stepped on.
Shadow is not a shy cat and will hop right up on your lap, whether he knows you or not. He doesn't seem to care if you mind and is extremely friendly. He'll even lick my hand and then playfully bite it and hold on for a few seconds.
Spaz on the other hand is now the exact opposite of his name. He hardly ever runs around and has gotten quite fat over the years. Not blubbery fat but just fat. Spaz is very much like his brother and hides when I have company. He generally only likes me and the ex. When my ex was pregnant with V, Spaz used to climb on top of her belly and lie there sleeping, listening to the baby's heartbeat and feeling the baby's womb action (motion).
Just as we thought, Spaz wasn't happy when he discovered Shadow was now living with us. He did the requisite hissing and growling with hackles raised to full force. (BTW yes, cats can growl.) Shadow always wanted to play with Spaz. I swear to you that Spaz had the ultimate look of contempt on his face when Shadow would want to play with him, like he was saying "I'm not wasting my time playin' with you kid so get outta here. Plus if I did play with you, I'd squish you." Spaz has always been bigger than Shadow.It was really funny to see them get along *NOT* in the early days.
Spaz & Shadow
As you can see, they get along just fine now. Though Spaz is very territorial and every night, my room is his. When I'm in bed Spaz will come up to me and lie in exactly the same spot. He'll even put his face right next to mine occasionally. Nose to nose. Spaz doesn't like to be picked up, Shadow does occasionally. Spaz likes to be near me. He's got a favorite spot at my feet while I'm at my desk (like I am now).
During the day I've seen both of them lying on my bed together. But not at night. Shadow sleeps on M's bed at night. Never in my room.
When the ex and I got separated, she kept the cats at her new house because I had to move back with my parents for a while. When I moved into my apartment on Halloween, 2004 she happily gave me the cats back. For good.
To this day I still think Spaz still holds that contempt for Shadow that I described earlier. Every now and again I can see it, because I know what to look for. And this is after they've lived under the same roof for seven years. Imagine that.