Fact: the cats most likely to get FIV are unneutered, rambling, gambling males.
Fact: most residents of Suite FIV at Tabby’s Place are now-neutered, reformed rambling, gambling males.
Truth: no statistics can sort out Suite FIV.
There’s every reason Suite FIV should be overwhelmingly occupied by onetime bad dudes. FIV is contracted, most commonly, through deep bite wounds; who delivers deep bite wounds better than bad dudes?
And, in fairness, it’s not that these particular dudes were particularly bad. They were just doing what unneutered dudes (um, of the feline variety) do: they fight. They bite each other (hard). They urinate the vilest-smelling substance this side of liverwurst. They attempt to build empires of free-roaming feraldom, the better for rambling and gambling like the king of all cats. And each and every such dude is fully convinced that he is the sole king.
But then they get trapped. They get neutered. And, if they’re lucky dudes, they get ushered into Suite FIV at Tabby’s Place. And then everything changes.
Or it doesn’t.
Once a male is neutered (feline variety here, folks), several things generally happen. He…
- ceases to urinate the vilest-smelling substance this side of liverwurst (and if you can’t imagine “eau de neutered cat pee” being a subtle and comforting aroma, you’ve never smelled unneutered urine)
- loses (among other things) the jumbo jowls that once gave him a head like a basketball
- no longer feels the need to build an empire (e.g. fight and bite all other fellas in sight)
Or he doesn’t.
Ergo the still middlingly bad dudes of Suite FIV.
They’re mostly middle-aged now, but don’t talk to them about their prostates or stock portfolios.
Talk to Knickers about how he’s still got the knack for knocking heads together. He’ll regale you with tales of terrorizing all lesser cats, even Rufus, and then he’ll huggle and snuggle in your lap so deeply, for so long, that the two of you will nearly become one being.
Talk to Rufus about how he’s really just letting Knickers thing he’s king. Rufus is the bigger person/bad dude, really he is. Besides, he’s always got Lester to yell at and smash and bash.
Talk to Lester about how he’s really the original Hulk of Suite FIV, a resident of eight years now, and still the most incredible. He may lack Knickers’s reputation and Rufus’s bravado, but he’s a Brooklyn boy, and he will bite any plaid dude who forgets his ferocity.
Pause from talking as aforementioned bad dudes all love on you in turn, with turns broken by battles royale.
At this point, badness among da boys gets a little subtler.
Talk to Arlo about how he obtained such a glorious hulking head, and whether he’s concerned about being the first-ever Tabby’s Place cat to get stuck in the solarium tube. (It’s bound to happen eventually. We did not plan for feline heads the literal size of Jupiter.) He’ll reassure you that he’s not, and he’ll meow at you in the little-girliest squeak that ever peeped. The mighty man is a baby chick, and his chicken littleness is what got him here in the first place. (As the story goes, a houseful of neutered housecats beat the blubber right out of Arlo. So much for dudeliness.)
Talk to Oscar about how he didn’t like us until he did, and now he’s making up for lost time, massive head first. (Who said jowls have got to go?)
Talk to Tennison, and he’ll shrug off talking for tenderness, mooshing and smooshing you so vigorously, you’ll be swirling in tumbleweeds of orange awesomeness. (Oscar and Knickers will help.)
Talk to Shea, and he’ll have plenty to say, his pent-up months or years of shyness now a volcano of lovey-dovey delight. Shea loves the other cats, always did, but now he loves you, too, and he doesn’t give a fig about badness.
Talk to Cisco, and he’ll growl at you, full stop. But then he’ll blink those sad eyes, his silent reminder that he does actually love you, just not as much as he loves not being touched by you.
Besides, there are several other heads hankering for your hands at this point. This is simply the single greatest delegation of cats ever assembled in a single location. They are the Avengers; they are the Justice League; they are unwieldy and incomparable and extraordinary.
They are bad dudes all.
We’ve got it bad for every one of them.
And you’re in the greatest good company anytime you enter Suite FIV.