We speculated that he was likely a purebred Maine Coon that had failed to meet the personality expectations associated with the breed. Spawn was the most beautiful cat that I have ever owned or was owned by. He was black, long-haired, lion-maned, big with large tufted paws and green predatory eyes. He somehow managed to make any posture look regal.
Unfortunately his beauty was only fur-deep. He was deceptively friendly, would greet everyone, invite being petted by rubbing against legs, hands and heads, until he would deliver one of his bone-scraping bites. The predictably unpredictable sequence of events was nudge, pet me, purr, *CHOMP*...Emergency room. Repeat. New visitors, drawn to his beauty, would be met at the door by a stern and well-rehearsed: "don't touch him, he bites". I felt an odd sense of camaraderie when I discovered that the writer and artist Neil Gaiman was dealing with similar feline issues.
For a while I considered Spawn my animal whispering failure. The biting did not stop. His idea of playing with the other cats was to chase them off his favorite furniture, then ignore them. His other hobby was stealing and shredding their toys.
He liked human company and he would always join us on the couch to sleep through a movie. It took some time for me to realize that while I was trying to socialize and train him, Spawn was asserting his own personality and training me. What he was clearly trying to tell me was:
"Alright, human. Here's the deal. My ancestors used to set sail with the Vikings, hence the water-resistant fur. Notice the big paws? They were made for walking on the snow. Got some Siberian from my mother's side.
All this incessant absent-minded stroking of fur is aggravating. Try it on the bimbo calico in the next room. She lives for that sissy stuff.
When I roll on my back, it is because I am happy or hungry. It is not an invitation to rub my belly. How would you like that?
Yeeahh. Didn't think so.
Gotta stay in shape though; you throw a ball, I'll fetch it for ya'.
There's a squirrel that needs my attention. You're dismissed."
I shall miss my majestic untouchable beast.