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Spike's cactus (given the name Joe Cactus in the strip from December 8, 1998) appears in several Peanuts comic strips which center on Spike, Snoopy's brother who lives alone in the desert outside Needles, California.
Originally, Spike lived with coyotes, but after he left them (when they tried to eat him) he moved near Needles and, on October 17, 1983, found a cactus to live with for company. From then on, Spike started talking to the cactus, and some other inanimate objects, as if they were his friends.
The cactus is never seen with speech bubbles talking back to Spike, unlike the school building that talks to Sally, or other inanimate objects, but Spike somehow seems to understand them. He claims that the cactus has told him many things.
Spike tries to play many games with the cactus, such as basketball, football, hockey, and running races, and almost every attempt ends in disaster.On several occasions, the cactus is shown to be humanized. For instance, it has been said to have shoulder pains, and in a strip in May 1991, the cactus is shown to have run away.
Spike has found many uses for the cactus, such as a coat hanger, a shady area, an umbrella, a Christmas tree. He has even been seen living inside the cactus in the TV specials Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown and It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown.
Spike loves the cactus, and has shown his love for it in many ways. He has given it sunglasses when it was too sunny, and taken it on vacation. Spike even felt guilty when he went to the city, and did not bring the cactus back a gift. Spike also shares his thoughts, and feelings with the cactus (mostly because there is no one else to share his feeling with) and has said that he finds the cactus inspiring because it stands tall and reaches the heavens. In one strip, Spike hugs the cactus, with disastrous results.