I have really been quite unkind nicknaming our beautiful, black cat Sumo.
His name actually came about some time after he found us. Yes, he was a stray and, if you have read my previous blogs you’ll know that I’m a sucker when it comes down to caring for strays.
Our house in Spain is not isolated, but it’s not on in a town or a village either. It’s not even on a main road. About a kilometre away from us there is a smallholding that used to be inhabited by a couple who, over time developed a real menagerie. They had dogs, cats, chickens, Vietnamese pot bellied pigs, a pony, peacocks, ducks and geese.
I think I am not being too speculative when I say they moved to the little log cabin with it’s large plot, to escape scrutiny (them being gay in a very traditional area). However, they just didn’t grasp that pets are part of your family and should not be discarded when you think you need a change. That is exactly what happened. The guys wanted more ‘fun’ and to see a bit more life. They rented an apartment, put the country property up for sale and sold the animals they could. What they couldn’t sell…they left. Cats, peacocks and a dog. The dog was taken on by a neighbour and the peacocks and cats were left to their own devices.
The cats obviously wandered in their search for food and they eventually found us. Four kittens and their mother were regular callers. The mother was actually beyond domestication and would have nothing to do with us. All of the kittens were very shy, however, one evening we came in from the garden and found one of them, a little black thing, in the kitchen eating Lewis and JB’s food. I have never seen anything eat so much or as quickly as he did. He wouldn’t let us near him but night after night, day after day he came back and ate as though he’d never seen food before. It was as if every meal was his last. My husband called him Blackie, just because he was black. When we sent pictures of him to our granddaughter, she called him Zagrios, however we didn’t think he looked quite as exotic as this name sounded so it was shortened to Zag but it didn’t stick. We also call him’Short Stuff’ on occasion because he is a very ‘squat’ cat with a low centre of gravity. However, it is his back legs and paws that made us settle on the name ‘Sumo’. They are permanently at ‘ten to two’ and as he walks with his belly low to the ground, he looks like an advancing sumo wrestler.
He eventually became a bit more friendly but typically chose his moments. ‘You will stroke me when I want you to’ sort of thing. When we could eventually pick him up, we took him to the vets and had him chipped, vaccinated, wormed, neutered and given anti tick treatment before eventually bringing him to the UK. He is quite happy being an urban cat. I think the temperature suits him better. I remember having to take Beccs, our other black cat (still missing) to the vets with heat stroke. The temperatures in Spain at this time of year can be really unbearable. From a human point of view, thank goodness for the swimming pool but that doesnt help the cat!
I should point out that I am aware that neutered cats have a tendency to put on weight. Blackie prefers dry food and we give him Iams with chicken/rice. We have tried every make going since he developed food fads but since we introduced him to Iams some months ago, he has been very happy with it. His coat is beautiful, his weight is steady although he is very solid and his breath doesn’t smell.
JB on the other hand prefers wet food. He will only eat Sheba or Gourmet Perle meat varieties in jelly. He requires petting at every opportune moment and if you don’t comply with his wishes, he makes his displeasure known. He is the loudest cat we have ever had.