The Deal With Lopsided Cat

Since people are curious, here is why Lopsided Cat is called Lopsided Cat:

Lopsided Cat came to us a few years ago when he basically emerged from the woods to the east of our house, walked up to Athena and started loving on her, which pleased the then 3-or-4 year old Athena immensely. He was a good cat, but one thing we noticed about him is that his head was almost always at a tilt, as if there were an invisible weight pulling down one side of his head. Thus, and because we hadn’t quite officially adopted him yet, we called him “that lopsided cat.”

When we eventually did decide to adopt him and took him to the vet, we discovered the reason for the head tilt was not invisible weights but a serious ear mite infestation, which apparently irritated him enough to cause him to walk around with his head at an angle. We got the infestation cleared up, but he continued to have a tilted head; I don’t know, maybe he just got used to seeing the world that way. In any event, by that time “Lopsided Cat” became his full name, because if you call a cat something long enough it just gets weird to call him something else.

You’ll also notice that Lopsided Cat, like Zeus, just showed up at the door and was taken in. We very strongly suspect (also like Zeus) that he may have originally been someone else’s cat, since Lopsided Cat had already been fixed before he came to us; unlike Zeus, however, we don’t suspect he was abandoned, because he was well fed and (minus the earmites) in healthy form. What we think happened is that he was the kid of a neighborhood cat named Baby (who is also Ghlaghghee’s mom) who was given to another neighbor, and that eventually Lopsided Cat simply decided he was going to trade up, owner-wise. I think it’s likely at first he time-shared between two households, because in the early days he’d be gone for days at a time, but then either he made a final decision in his catlike head, or the other owners simply moved away, leaving him behind.

Either way, he’s our cat now, and an excellent one: Very mellow, unless he’s killing something, in which case, he’s pretty much the opposite of mellow. I think this is a good way to be a carnivore, personally. And the whole permanent head tilt is an endearing quirk, since it always makes it look like he’s looking at you like you just did something funny. It’s like a permanent laugh track, in cat form.

That’s his story.

30 thoughts on “The Deal With Lopsided Cat

  1. We acquired a one-eyed ginger tom by way of the vets a few years back. My wife, who would usually have a list of names prepared, was taken aback by the unexpected arrival, so, while we pondered on the matter, he was dubbed Mr Cat, in order that he might have a handle.

    And Mr Cat he remained for the four years he was with us.

  2. O Great Scalzi, you have redeemed yourself by posting this superb picture and wonderful story. The Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club has decided, after a brief debate, to extend your previously awarded Seal of Approval Award by one day.

    We also note that the picture and story are so large that Anteater-Thing Kodi has moved from visibility. Well done.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  3. Lopsided Cat definatly traded up if his previous people let ear mites get so serious.

    My first cat adopted me. Shadow was a tiny black kitten, son of an abandoned grey tabby. I had two Manchester Terriers, Mandy & Tristan, who were serious cat haters. Yet they both (female & male) adopted the kitten. I think they thought he was a puppy, because they washed him all the time trying to remove the stinky cat smell. He was covered in dog slobber a *lot* when he was small. He grew to be an 18 lb big black cat, just like his dad, the neighborhood Tom. My vet called him the dog in cat fur. He came when called, met me at the door & played with the dogs all the time. They were all 3 about the same size.

    He became the older dog’s seeing eye cat. Mandy became almost blind. He would stick with her wherever she went. He mourned for her for months after she died – even more than Tristan. Both Shadow & Tristan became like two old gentlemen hanging out together.

    You are one lucky man to have so many cool animals.

  4. When I was cat-hunting, I spent a lot of time at the animal shelter website. They have pictures of cats, with names. I really liked Patina from the beginning– she was one of the top three when I started looking and the fact that she’s so friendly made it a certainty. I’d spent so much time thinking of her as Patina, though, that I couldn’t change the name in my head.
    Except I say PATina, rhymes with Mackinac, and everyone at the shelter, the vet’s, work, everywhere, says paTEENa, rhymes with Christina. If her name had been P’teena, ptooey, it wouldn’t have lasted a day.
    These days, I call her Dork anyway.

  5. So do you call him “Lopsided Cat” when you want him or to give him dinner? Or Loppy? Or Cat? Or Salavtore Penitentiage?

    I know the idea of calling a cat is ludicrous but I like to do it anyway. Now when we call the dog over for treats he comes too, so he thinks the word “Sparky” must mean treats and “George” means bad things.

  6. LC is almost a dead ringer for the cat who currently lives with us at our house, although he doesn’t have the buff ring around his eyes that LC possesses.

    We call him ‘Harry’ because that’s what the shelter called him, and he doesn’t answer to his name anyway. Plus he is hairy.

  7. Chang:

    “So do you call him ‘Lopsided Cat’ when you want him or to give him dinner?”

    Yes. No point giving something a name like that if you’re not going to use it all.

  8. So Ghlaghghee and Lopsided Cat are siblings? Do they cuddle like siblings, or do they treat each other more like strangers who just look sort of alike?

  9. The cats generally get along. They like each other but are not exactly super close.

  10. “…because if you call a cat something long enough it just gets weird to call him something else.”

    True: It’s exactly why we have a cat named Mr. Visitor. (“Because,” I insisted to my wife & daughter, “we are NOT keeping ANOTHER stray. He’s just a visitor.”) That was three years ago.

  11. “…because if you call a cat something long enough it just gets weird to call him something else.”

    I don’t think that holds true all the time. Our large primary cat has multiple names. His official name is “Kat” but most of the time he is just called “Sir” except when he is in a mood and gets called “Mr Furry” or “Mr Pissy” although my grandmother usually calls him Kat.

    The smaller secondary cat is mostly called by her actual name, “Kit,” but she also responds well to “GET OFF THE TABLE!”

  12. “We very strongly suspect (also like Zeus) that he may have originally been someone else’s cat, since Lopsided Cat had already been fixed before he came to us….”

    “strongly suspect”? Because the other explanation is spontaneous testicle rejection syndrome?

  13. How does it feel to be owned by 3 cats?
    I am owned by 2 and they seem to give me equal amounts of love. And on occasion I get gang loved.

  14. The look in Lopsided Cat’s eyes remind me of a tiger I saw several years ago at MarineWorld/Africa USA. He does not look like a *tame* cat.

  15. Is Lopsided Cat a Maine Coon, or just a really large, furry cat? We had a Maine Coon from a shelter; great cat, except for dealing with all that fur. If he looks like a Maine Coon and he chirps when happy, he probably is.

  16. Re the head tilt: it reminds me of the great distance runner Haile Gebrselaissie, who runs with one arm bent substantially more than the other. Reason: when he was a kid growing up in Ethiopia, he carried his books in the crook of that arm, then got so used to it that he didn’t feel comfortable running with a “normal” bend to his arm.

  17. The decrepit, half-undead stray we fed and tended to when I was a child was simply called Little Brown Kitty. Even now, twenty years later when me and my mom talk about that cat, we still go to the bother of pronouncing all five syllables.

    That cat was so old — (HOW OLD WAS SHE?) — she was SO OLD that if you pet her too hard, she’d fall over and then you’d have to pick her up and prop her on her paws again. Heh heh. That’s how old!

  18. We had a cat who, at roughly the age of 10, suddenly lost her balance, falling to one side when she tried to walk. Took her to the vet and he diagnosed “idiopathic vestibular syndrome,” which translated from vettalk means “she keeps losing her balance and I don’t know why but her vestibular apparatus has apparently fallen out of synch with the visual cues to being upright.” No cure or treatment, of course, just watch and wait.

    Over a period of some weeks she improved as her brain adapted to the new relationship between visual cues and vestibular cues, but for the rest of her life her head was tilted somewhat like Lopsided Cat’s.

  19. “because if you call a cat something long enough it just gets weird to call him something else”

    The reason that works is because Lopsided Cat is only a medium-long name. My 6’5″ husband named the 4 week old tiny kitten we found in a storm ditch during a thunder storm ‘Black Ninja Kitty of Death’ because she immediately bit him when he tried to rescue her. She now usually goes by Little Kitty, only reverting to the full name when she’s in trouble.

  20. So, is there a backstory to the naming of Ghlaghghee anywhere? I searched, but found nothing….

  21. Cat adoption is pretty common (at least in Ohio where I’m from as well). Our first cat just came to us one day, and stayed for the food. Another cat came a few years later, but Mom discouraged us feeding her, and she gave up before too long.

    After she died, Mom got lonely and went to a farm with a bunch of cats to adopt one of them. She was thinking of a kitten, but instead got a very pregnant momma (who, when she opened her mouth to meow, made no sound at all, at least until many months later).

    One of her granddaughters wandered off one day and was missing for a couple weeks. We eventually found out that a neighbor had assumed she was abandoned (all our cats are outdoor cats who sleep in the garage) and took her in and got her shots (which she already had, of course) and a collar… I’m not sure how we found out this had happened; going door-to-door, I guess. If she’d been let out of the neighbor’s house we assume she would have come back home like always…

    Two of her great-granddaughters, beautiful kittens, were stolen (we assume) straight out of the garage, or possibly the driveway, a couple weeks before it was really safe for them to leave their mother. It was kind of disturbing; we would have sold them or given them away anyway when they were old enough, but someone just couldn’t wait!

  22. John,

    I just spoke to my wife (who is a veterinary technician) about L.C.’s head tilt. She says that if the ear mite infestation persisted from a young age there are two possibilities:
    A. The spine and/or muscles simply grew in a fashion to accommodate the tilt, thus making it permanent.

    B. The mites may have caused severe permanent damage to the inner ear, causing balance problems. L.C. would then have to maintain the tilted head position indefinitely to maintain equilibrium.

    I hope this is helpful.

  23. When I was a kid we had a cat that lived at my family’s house and on another farm down the road from us. She walked up our driveway one day and stayed for a few days. Every few days she would leave and every few days she would return. Then she had kittens at our house. She still went to her other family’s place for a few hours. When she returned she would look into the box where her kittens were as if to say, “Why haven’t they put them up for adoption yet?” She was kind of cold hearted. In the end she finally decided not to return to our house. I saw her at the other farm a few times, but she pretended not to know me.

  24. “…It’s exactly why we have a cat named Mr. Visitor. (”Because,” I insisted to my wife & daughter, “we are NOT keeping ANOTHER stray. He’s just a visitor.”) That was three years ago.”

    Our #2 Cat is named “Stranger” for exactly the same reason. She’s been here almost 4 years now. ;)

  25. My cat is named Tipsy. Cats famously rub up against ankles; Tipsy famously rubs up against phantom ankles. He’s been doing it as long as I’ve had him, more than fourteen years now. He’ll be walking along, nothing for a few feet on either side of him, then arch his back and lean over. After I had acquired him but before I had given him a name, a friend saw that and observed that the cat looked drunk. What other name could I give him?

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