Some families have a child who’s just plain different from everybody else. When everybody else zigs, the oddball zags. In my animal family, that delightful oddball is Dagny.
Around her neck, she had a ribbon with a bell on it. But it was the middle of the night and there were no houses for blocks. She was dirty and skinny and scared. She had to come home with me.
I couldn’t find anybody who was looking for a missing black kitten, so guess where she ended up staying?
I’d never had a black cat before. I thought that her elegant black fur would make her seem sophisticated and smart as she got older, so I named her for Dagny Taggert. It’s one of the times when my naming skills failed me. She should have been named for a comedian who can’t get enough to eat instead. She’s vocal about wanting her way, as you might be able to tell from the picture to the right of her complaining for dinner from the top of a chest in my bedroom.
As she started growing up, she didn’t calm down and lose the “kitten exuberance” that’s so common. She does everything at full throttle. Unless she’s sleeping, she’s almost constantly in motion. Even when she’s standing in one place, she’s constantly moving her head, which makes it hard to get decent pictures. (And it’s hard enough with any black cat.)
She doesn’t seem to have any fear in her, and she’s always gotten along with my dogs well. On the right, you can see her expression as I interrupted her nap as she was sleeping on Lucy‘s front leg.
Most of all, though, this is a cat who’s never met a morsel of food that she didn’t believe belonged to her. She would eat herself into a stupor every night if I’d let her. In the same way you think of an alcoholic ending up face down in a drink, she would end up buried in cat food and asleep, napping only long enough to regain the strength to eat again.
She not only wants food all the time, but she’s very vocal and demanding about it. People who talk with me on the phone late at night are familiar with her plaintive whine for dinner. She starts hours ahead of time and acts as though I’ve been starving her for weeks.
What’s more, she turns into a bit of a little bully when she’s hungry. When she’s whining and crying for food, she’ll frequently walk around the bedroom looking for another cat to swat for no apparent reason, as though striking out is somehow going to get food more quickly. And when she’s in one of her destructive moods, the blinds in my house can sometimes suffer serious damage. The worst time ever was the day I came in and found her doing what you see on the right. Now you know why I just buy the cheap mini blinds, because they’re always going to have to be replaced.
The expressions she makes are legendary. If you were to see some of them, you would be certain that I have the world’s most mentally ill cat, which is the reason that one of her nicknames is Crazy Cat.
In families where there’s an oddball, the rest don’t necessarily understand the odd one, but he’s tolerated and still loved. (Well, most of the time.) That’s the way it is at my house. The others put up with her odd behavior and curl up and sleep with her just the same as the rest.
One thing they all know, though, is to stay out of Dagny’s way when it’s time to eat. Nothing is going to come between her and dinner.