Mr. Zig the cat

Happy Birthday, Mr. Zig!

It’s hard to believe, but my beloved cat Mr. Zig is 9 years old this month.

He’s not only the oldest cat in our household but also the sweetest. Although, of course, we can never tell him that because he likes to think of himself as a tough guy and vigilant defender against intruder cats in the neighborhood ;)


Mr. Zig was born in 2008 on a hot August day in far away Timisoara, some 850 kilometers from where he now lives. A friend of mine found him, lost and scared, near some trash containers and took him in. A short while later, he was taken in by someone else, but they had little experience with cats and so couldn’t keep him either.

When I got the frantic call begging me to take him, I was living in Cluj-Napoca, and I already had another cat (Noodles). But something moved my heart, and so I set out on the long train journey to pick up the little guy and take him home with me.

Before I arrived, I had been warned that Mr. Zig was a “killer” and a “wild beast,” a savage, uncontrolled animal despite his tender age. Talking to the woman who had given him temporary shelter, I noticed a deep wound on her neck that had been inflicted by Mr. Zig while she was sleeping. I’ve had years of experience working with difficult cats, so that’s when I knew for sure that I was the right person for the job.

But to my complete and total surprise, Mr. Zig was the sweetest cat I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I’m not quite sure what his life had been like in the five months or so before I took him in, but with me, he’s always been incredibly gentle, curious, and loving. Over the past 9 years, he has never scratched, bitten, or been aggressive with me or any other human (intruder cats are another story).

Mr. Zig has also retained his playfulness, and you’d easily be forgiven if you thought he was still a kitten. He rarely “talks” except to let you know when he’s hungry, and he’s always the first one to come out of hiding and investigate the arrival of a new person in the house.

We love him for his sweet and affectionate nature, but I’m always been most impressed by his incredible dexterity with his front paws.

Mr. Zig, simply put, is the world’s best “safecracker” when it comes to opening refrigerator and cabinet doors if there’s some yummy food inside. He also has the uncanny ability to know exactly when to strike and make good his escape before you even notice that he’s no longer sitting quietly in the corner of the room.

For his birthday, we gave him his favorite food: chicken liver. And this time, he didn’t even need to steal it out of the refrigerator :)


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