Cat of the Day
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Cat of the Day
Today's Cat of the Day
Pantera the Brazilian Cat mix, the Cat of the Day
Name: Pantera
Age: Eleven months old
Gender: Female
Kind: Brazilian Cat mix
Home: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
   A foundling, nothing is known of Pantera's origin. She turned up on a neighbor's doorstep - whoever abandoned her there left no note, message, nothing. The neighbor already had three adult cats, and so had no space for one more. We didn't exactly decide to take her in, the as-yet unnamed kitten jumped up in the wife's arms and hugged her for dear life. The little kitten had chosen us.

     At the time, we were babysitting the mother-in-law's cat, aged about seven months at the time, so we were a bit concerned if the two would get along. Our worry was for nothing, as they became fast friends. The neighbor had called it, she had told us not to let the kitten's size fool us, she could take care of herself. That was an understatement; in the beginning her personality could best be described as feral, and a drama queen to boot! That led to an interesting situation, the choice of name for her. While I leaned toward "Crybaby" we settled upon "Pantera." And the rest, as they say, is history.

     Since then, Pantera has grown into her name. As a foundling, there's no way of knowing her background short of a DNA exam, but a few deductions can be made. The brazilian shorthair, like the american shorthair, is a working cat and the this is reflected in the traits. She has some of those breed traits, but not all. She's not at all independent, and will not be excluded from whatever we are doing. Whatever the activity, she must participate. She has the stocky, muscular build of the Bombay, and the sharp wits of both breeds. Although we live in a small apartment, our little furbaby has always managed to find new ways to play until exhaustion. Sometimes she thinks she's a full-sized jaguar (not a puma or tiger. She's brazilian after all ;) ) and rips her toys to shreds, other times she's a cheetah displaying amazing bursts of speed. In other moments she's the ninja: invisible, able to reach anything and anywhere. The "daily workouts"- she literally plays until she's on the ground panting for air- have given her a solid, muscular frame. Although somewhat on the small side for felines, Pantera is noticeably heavier than she looks at 4kg (or 8 and a half pounds). And at less than a year old she isn't finished growing.

     Little Pantera is unmistakably Brazilian, evident at first sight. She uses a different voice to call us to play or when she's hungry, but generally isn't a very vocal cat. Most of the time she communicates her thoughts with her big, expressive green eyes. When she walks it's with a certain sway, like a real panther and not a housecat. One of her fonder passtimes, apart from destroying toys, is to watch youtube videos. Seriously. But only the videos of the big cats- tigers, jaguars, lions. She'll sit in my lap or on the sofa with the rapt expression of a child watching the saturday morning cartoons. Occasionally, right as the video shows the lion or jaguar making the kill little Pantera will jump up and touch the screen, as if wanting to share in the kill. I sometimes get the impression this is where she got the "ginga" in her walk, from watching the real kings of the jungle on youtube.

     Both the wife and I have had cats and dogs before, but Pantera is one of a kind. I'm an expatriate, a good 'ol boy from Texas, the wife is a born and bred Rio de Janeiro native. Brazilian cats do in fact differ from american cats in some ways, and are the same in others. Like brazilians themselves, the Brazilian shorthair is a very socially oriented critter, and frequently displays personality traits not normally associated with cats. Pantera definitely fits in this category, given her skill at communicating what she wants, and how she handles leaving the safe environment of the apartment. When we took her to have her spayed we went to an NGO here for the surgery (SUÍPA, is the name. A good, big, if bureaucratic entity), the waiting area is full of dogs and cats. Pantera is afraid of strange new places, but not of dogs and people. Since we had her on a leash and not in a cat carrier, everybody wanted to see the black cat on a leash. Pantera is the only cat I've ever known that was neither aggressive nor afraid of people and dogs, but completely indifferent to them. The dogs, some of which were very large breeds, never took their eyes off her but maintained a wary distance from the cool and confident feline. Those silly dogs never noticed that Pantera ignored them completely. Again, she's the only cat I've known to be genuinely indifferent to dogs and people. At least the ones she doesn't know; she does like to meet new people, but dogs are still beneath her.

     So why write an entire novel, why beat around the bush? Every house and apartment is more than just a place to sleep. A cat or dog makes all the difference, and turns the abode into a home. And this is why Pantera is so special, she's part of the family. What we look forward to seeing at the end of the day.

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