Snafu is one of the most engaging cats I’ve ever known. His name is derived from all the health problems he had as a kitten (in case you didn’t know [as I did not] SNAFU is a military acronym meaning Situation Normal All F***ed Up).
He was most certainly a rescued shelter throw-away. Sickly kittens found without mothers were systematically euthanized. When DP saw him in his holding kennel in the “blue room,” he was barely 4 weeks old, snotty nosed and teary eyed with a sparsely furred, over extended belly. Every time she walked by his kennel, this big eyed, bat looking creature would stand and knead huge catcher’s mitts, marching band high, purring like a lion, chirping and staring at DP to get her attention.
We’d been on the look out for a double-pawed kitten, and because of his straight in the eye boldness, DP scooped the ugly little creature right out of the arms of the grim reaper. He was so sick with upper respiratory infection, worms, mites and kitten diarrhea, we had to quarantine him at home for several weeks.
His digestive issues seemed to drag on not matter what the vet suggested, and we feared little Snafu would not thrive. DP did some of her own research on the solutions to kitten diarrhea, and switching his food from the Prescription Diet canned kitten food to Science Diet dry kitten kibble, finally did the trick. After a thriving period, we began introducing him to the adult cats, but within days, Snafu became subdued and started just sitting on our laps when we brought him out to play.
One night we noticed his breathing was thick, and faster than it should be. We knew he’d been coughing off and on, but that hadn’t seemed to change. The breathing scared us and at 9:00 on a Sunday night, we drove him to the emergency veterinary clinic, forty-five minutes from home. It was a good thing we did because he had a high fever and was diagnosed with pneumonia. He was able to come home with us, but it was really scary for a couple of days and I was preparing myself to appreciate the time I’d had with him. However, scrawny Snafu took his medications without fuss and endured his upside down light chest pummeling, bringing on frightening, but healthy bouts of coughing. As the vet recommended, we also placed him in a crate in the bathroom during our hot and steamy showers to help loosen the deathly phlegm. Snafu was quite good natured about his lot and we were amazed as he finally got stronger.
As he has grown, Snafu has acquired some handsome features with his solid gray medium length fur and white “ascot.” I read where this patch is referred to as a locket in the cat world of coat terminology. To me, Snafu looks like a Victorian schoolboy in a uniform with a ruffled shirt or Little Boy Blue with his spot of white puff and daredevil eyes. He has massive paws with fourteen toes in front and twelve toes in back – all with varying degrees of claws. A couple toes have a clump of claw that does not retract, but curls into itself and clicks when he walks, if they get too long. A couple toes have claws that are feathery strands like wax paper way down deep between his pads. DP has become pretty adept at clipping them, but Snafu gets tired of it by the time she gets to the last few digits.
Just over a year old now, Snafu is still keenly interested in everything we are doing. He loves water at the kitchen faucet, especially when I’m trying to do dishes or wash and cut vegetables. He pushes the edge of naughtiness laying sink side with legs tucked to watch water drops and suds with fascination.
He’d pounce on the sliding drops of soap running down the sides of the sink, if I let him. He knows, with a sideways half blink, that there are boundaries on that particular countertop. When all the people food and dishes are away, I let him play under the running faucet.
Snaf, Snafus or Foo-foo still boldly demands our attention. Any picture we take of the cats that happens to have him in it, he is looking directly at the camera.
He is a very chirpy boy, whose learned how to get our attention positively and negatively. He loves to tease us and play hide and go seek with us, chirping and loping around the room. If we haven’t noticed him, he jumps onto a shelf and rattles dogs collars or starts knocking things off table tops, chirping, then he jumps down and canters passed us with a “chase me” grin. It appeared to us that he very much wanted to be a part of our human activities more than the kitty colony.
He tends to easily get over-stimulated if we pet him too long. He simply adores our petting and likes to participate by walking around back and forth and rubbing on everything in sight. When we brush him we have to use two brushes, one to distract him that he bites and rubs on, and the other for us to actually brush him. When he gets bitey and grabby, heaven forbid another cat happens by. He’s been known to attack them. We’ve learned to keep it simple and give him a few loving strokes and then move on. Snafu remains a bold cat who loves visitors and has zero fear of the vacuum cleaner. In fact, he follows me around with it and loves to stick his paw on the hose or bite it as it sucks his whiskers and cheeks in. It’s not a real strong suction and I’m careful to limit his access.
While we are all still trying to figure him out, to some of the other kitties in our colony, Snafu is a holy terror to be avoided. His other nickname is Bastid Cat. Although he is the smallest feline in the colony, plain and simple – he is a bully. Even if we are not brushing him, he can get in his riled up mood, seek out, chase and attack certain other cats. Our method of long distance discipline, the squirt bottle of water, barely fazes him. He’s quite willing to take a squirt or three for his misdeeds. Unfortunately BJ and Angus get the brunt of his terrorism, mostly because they run from him.
He doesn’t seem to mess with Yukon, who is about three times his weight. I’ve seen them face off, and Yukon just stares him down without even cocking his head. Snafu just lopes away chirping…la-tee-da. We’ve seen Wizard play with Snafu a few times, but Penny won’t tolerate Snafu’s teasing at all. She will actually go after him on occasion. He goes back and forth with her, between paw batting battles and hissing run aways, after which Penny pursues him ‘til he hides or we rescue him. Sometimes I think she wants to play with him, but he doesn’t seem to trust her at all and hisses back if she makes a move. Moseley seems to frighten Snafu. I think Moseley probably clobbered him when we weren’t looking and Snafu remembers it well. When Moseley is out of his room and walks by Snafu, he’ll flatten down his ears and yowl and hiss at him until he passes. Moseley just hisses in reply and keeps walking. As long as they don’t get too close, everyone is fine.
Snafu is a member of the Moo Club, doesn’t like cheese, but does love peanut butter and dog food bits tossed to him at feeding time. He bats it around for a while with his mitts then eats it. Due to the size of his paws, you will often find him hanging off the edge of where he’s sitting, otherwise he has to put his mitts one on top of the other. We call it crossed-paws. Sometimes we catch other kittes with crossed-paws, but it’s the way Snafu rests most of the time, otherwise he folds them across each other against his chest, rather than tucked under him. Snafu is very snuggly with us and loves to sleep overnight, staying directly between us, reaching out periodically to drape a mitt over DP’s arm. He does tend to get bored after awhile and may start to explore bureaus or sniff dog crates causing a ruckus, after which we thrust him upon the household’s meek and defenseless and close the door.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Snafu.