Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zen Master Yukon

Ah, Yukon. Yukon is our Zen cat. He is a great watcher and will stare at you intently for long spans of time. He is slow to react and you can tell when he is thinking things through. When he does move, his gate is deliberate and lumbering, like a big cat in the hot Sahara. A big beefy boy, my big hunk of mancat, he’s a short haired brown tabby born without a tail. He has a stub that seems to be made out of cartilage with a few vertebrae. His lack of tail makes him that much more boxy in the hind end, like a dump truck, or an SUV, thus the name. The stub moves a little bit, like when he greets, it’ll poke out from his rump, or if he is agitated (mad would not be Zen), it might move back and forth an inch.

We’ve seen him sitting on his rump with his legs splayed apart, holding onto the stub with both paws to wash it. He can get vocal when we touch it, but a couple of times he’s let us, so I know it doesn’t hurt him. He’s just particular.

Yukon is two years old and looked like a woolly bear when we got him. I tried the name Bear on him for a bit, but along with Mack (for Mack Truck), we thought it was too common.

We’d been looking for a bob-tailed cat and he caught DP’s eye because of his intense stare and chirpiness. There was a mother and two kittens at the shelter and when the mother sneezed, DP knew they’d all be euthanized. This one little guy was bold, yet pleasant (essential energy for our growing household), and he loved to touch noses. That’s what saved him. We wanted to save every cat and kitten that came to that shelter but, short of opening our own, which we’d love to do maybe one day, we have to be realistic. Yukon came home, got an Upper Respiratory Infection, but played, ate and snarfled his way to incredibly good health without missing a beat.

Yukon is a wonderfully full, frontal face cat, and still loves to rub our nose with his, but only when he is in the mood. We can grab his head and plant kisses all over it just about any time we want, and he starts purring. Grooming probably fills most of the time he’s not meditating (sleeping) or eating. When he’s finished grooming himself, he grooms any cat who comes along and has turned out to be quite a nurturer.

A strong shade of orange fills the inside of Yukon’s black outlined nose, equally eyeliner black lips give him striking facial expressions. All of his whiskers are white dipped in black, and are lined up inside perfect rows of black dots on his light brown face. The striped markings around his head are sharp, but they faze out along his body underneath a light coat of ticking, making him look woolly. He reminds me of a little boy in a gray and black striped shirt, the way his markings line his legs. His brown tummy is spotted and appears to have a seam down the middle. He’s the contemplative one in the gang, who looks like he should be the bully.

When he is not in his meditative zone pondering the universe, he’s vying for the favor of Stanze (Stahn-zee), our female German Shepherd. Where Stanze is obsessed with BJ, Yukon is in love with Stanze. It’s karma in action.

You can often find Yukon laying next to her bed (but not next to her), rolling and purring at her. If she is in her crate, he will lay just outside it, gazing in, waiting. If he’s in his lovey mood, he’ll rub and rub all over her, or the crate. She mostly doesn’t mind it, but if Yukon gets too zealous, he might open his mouth for a love bite, so she is cautious (as are we), and doesn’t let him linger too long. Sometimes we hear Stanze give a couple of warning barks in the middle of the night. We know that Yukon has gone too far and she’s telling him to back off. We’ll take his face rubs just about anytime he’s willing to dish them out, even at 2:36 in the morning. His motor starts running and he slowly walks up our sleeping bodies and will lay right down on me and rub his nose on mine. If I don’t pet him, and even when I do, he opens his mouth for a love bite. Yeowch, when you’re half asleep.

Because of his boldness, yet slow response time, it took him longer than any other kitten to graduate from fulltime kittenhood in the office (where we keep them out of harms way overnight or when we aren’t home). We had to be confident he could accurately read the dogs’ body language. He is one of those cats who weaves and bobs around our legs while we walk, arching his back so high while he stands on his tip-toes to rub against us, and anything thing else nearby. He has a very strong cat scent, though he is by no means dirty. Yes, I bury my face in his side…because he lets me.

Yukon doesn’t really meow as much as he squeaks and squawks, not in a bad way, but in a bird like way. He’ll sprawl on the living room floor and try to catch my eye when I’m in the kitchen. If I don’t notice him in a timely fashion, he starts to squeak at me. When I look he squeaks louder and bobs his head at me, telling me to come over and give him some love and kisses. I do.

Yukon likes to eat anything, anytime, anyplace…including throw-up. As a kitten he licked the plate from spicy hot enchiladas and I once gave him tiny bits of pineapple which he gobbled up. He especially loves oatmeal and popcorn, and every time I make either one, I’ll find him sitting near me staring with confident expectation that I’ll give him some. I do.

The eating throw-up thing, he got from our dogs. If any cat begins that rhythmic tell-tale sound of throwing up, everything in the household stops, and the dogs go running to catch the delightful treat which will be ejected like a pez dispenser. Yukon learned to come running too (he can move if he wants to), but he’s no where near as fast an eater as the dogs. He is also a chewer who will seek out the dog’s Nylabones to chomp on. He loves it when I bring home a new bunch of bananas so he can gnaw on the rind-like tips. If the quirks mentioned above aren’t enough, he also loves sour things, including the supposed spray-on deterrents called “Fooey” and “Sour Apple.” He licks them up. I once gave him a slice of fresh lime which he licked cautiously. I’m not sure he really liked it, but most cats would never go near citrus.

I think Yukon is pretty dominant in his quiet way. He’s not afraid of visitors and will come out to greet them, if he even bothers to get up at all. He’s not fond of the vacuum cleaner, but I think he is more annoyed by it than afraid. He seems secure enough to prefer laying on the floor at central vantage points, rather than up on heights or completely hidden. When he appears to be in Zen mode, I’ve learned that he is actually on high alert. If I sneak up behind him and touch his back, he zooms off a few feet before regaining his composure and sitting back down with his ears slightly twisted. I think he’d be more athletic if he didn’t eat so much, but he’s generally pretty good at jumping up for the flying feather wand, being graceful with a thud. He loves group games, but other than that, he doesn’t play by himself. He mostly likes to wrestle other kitties for fun.

Yukon is well mannered enough to be allowed forays into the bedroom overnight, but doesn’t usually make it through to the alarm. Anywhere between 1:30 and 3:00, he’ll come walking up on top and start rubbing our face with his purring nose, asking politely if we’d open the door. This is why we let him in the first place.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Yukon. I’m sure I’ll feature him on Mancat Mondays. ~Lisa Co9T


  1. Nice to meet you Yukon, you are a handsome mancat. I sit and wash like you do in your second photo.

  2. very handsome mancat. my kintaro has the bobtail. it might be about 2 inches long. you can feel some bone and cartilage and it has a crook in it. he prefers it not to be touched. he also sits in that most un-modest position to clean himself.

    can't wait to see more mancat pics!

  3. Zen
    It is nice to meet another "tail-less" kitty. Momma says many of my personality traits are the same as yours. I am a full rumpy, I have no tail whatsoever and I do not like Momma messing my tail-lessness. I do have troubles with ... *amen* poops. Do you? But it is just one of those things Momma has to work with. She is my purrson. I claim her, are you a one person cat?

    It was so nice to meet you!

  4. Another handsome guy you have there! Each kitty is so beautiful in their own way. Yukon has lots and lots of stripes for a tabby, and the reddish undertones really warm up his coat! He certainly sits and lies in some funny positions, too. What a character! And his food preferences are pretty off the wall, as well.

    Best of all, he's quite affectionate, and that's why he's still here, as you said. It sounds like he's an equal opportunity lover -- dogs, people, other kitties!

    You are definitely unique, Yukon, I'll give you that!

  5. Wow, Yukon looks like he sure could be my brother..uncanny...but he sure is handsome!

  6. Yukon, you're another handsome mancat in your household. You have a very interesting personality, you sound like a wonderful ZenCat!

    Purrs and hugs,
    The Kitty Krew

  7. So nice to read about the first 6 of you 9 kitties. What lovely ones you all are. And Stanze too.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I will be back to your some more to read about the rest of the Co9T gang.

  8. How nice to meet you, I think you are a most beautiful cat. I really enjoyed the photo of you drinking a little beer. I haven't tried any yet. Is it good? I will come back and visit with you again. It is fun getting to meet new friends.

  9. It's nice to meet you Yukon! You sound like a pawsome mancat!

  10. Yukon is a handsome fellow! And not having a tail sure gives him character!!! We enjoyed meeting him and can't wait to see more of him!!

  11. Well hello, Yukon!
    I'm so happy you and your other Eight Tales stopped by my blog. Glogirly told me that I got a special "shout out" from our bloggy friend Fin on the Cat Blogosphere. I've only been blogging a few months now. I do all the writing and Glogirly helps out with the photos. Sometimes I have to help her in Photoshop though.

    I must say Yukon, you are incredibly photogenic. Very skilled at posing for the camera as well. I on the other hand like to make Glogirly really "work" for a good photo. That's just me though. I'm a tad temperamental. Some might call me downright sarcastic. These though are the privileges that come with being a cat. I just take full advantage.

    I'm anxious to read up on your partners and get to know them. I'll stop by again!

    (Glogirly's smart and good looking cat)

  12. Yukon is such a handsome, good lookin' man cat! I love the photo of him looking at the puppy-that's my favorite! I don't think I would be able to do that. I bet your house is never a dull moment :)

  13. Yukon is handsome. Sigh, those tabby boys

  14. Your blog is most excellent! We have an award for you at The Kitty City Gazette if you'd like it email:


    Great photos! That must be a nice camera!!!!



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