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I just recently returned from a visit to the D.C. area, where I had the good fortune of staying with family, who owned a number of animals (I love animals!). They had a jack-rat terrier, a little nervous older dog along with a beagle, who of course could never have enough loving, and who learned that sitting up on her hind legs gets her treats, so she is constantly sitting like that when she is not receiving attention. It is quite comical. Now on to the cats…
<As a disclaimer, I am about to project many human emotions / attitudes onto an animal. He may or may not actually have these traits.> With that said, the reason I am writing this post, is that they had two cats – an enormous, lean Maine coon, 18 pounds, and in particular, a Manx cat that was a born with a birth defect – beyond anything normal in their tail-less breed. The Manx kitty is named Lewis and he is endearingly referred to as “Half-cat.” I understood why when I saw him sit back. This cat, already from a species that is without tails, was born missing vertebrae near his lumbar region. Therefore, he has long hind legs and the ability to sit back on his tail (end), which gives him the impression of coming up out of the floor – almost like a frog and certainly giving rise to the loving nickname of Half-cat.
I say Bodhisattva for several reasons. One is that this cat is the most gentle feline I have ever come across – when you pick him up and he does not like it, he makes facial expressions of distaste first, and then, if necessary make a slight, soft meow. He is extremely gentle and if you are petting or brushing him and you stop, he will sit back and then timidly tap you to initiate more attention. His facial expressions are classic – when tired, it is obvious. Also, he seems more able to show his vulnerability – something I rarely ever observe in physically-normal kitties.
There is something else novel about him – he enjoys being on his back and having his stomach and legs rubbed or brushed. His owner believes that what I am about to explain next is unusual, due to his funny “wiring.” When the inside of his hind legs are brushed, he goes crazy licking and cleaning his paws – like clockwork – every time! It was very funny! Imagine if someone tickled the inside of your leg and you had to rub your ear every time – fascinating.
Last but not least, Lewis’ condition makes it so that his belly and torso in general are very compressed, therefore, he is round and firm. Also, the vet says that he may not live past five or six due to the compression of his organs. It is very sad indeed. I hope I get to see him soon and experience his docile friendliness. Lewis cat, may you and all beings have a higher, happy rebirth!