Sunday, March 21, 2010

Animal Farm

I’m a proud father, but have only a select few select “funny cute son” stories to bore listeners with once we’ve reached the swapping family tales zone.

To save time, here are the punch lines: “Why you CLYING?”
“Father?” “Yes, son.” “I want to kill you.”
“Dad, what’s a clitoris?”
“Skorky changed colors!”

I have no cute personal pet stories, though I’ve had plenty of them, which is all by way of backing into a blog entry about my cat. Actually, my third cat in China.

People without children who tend to substitute pets for kids evoke the feeling in me that says: “gee, if you weren’t really someone I liked, I’d urge you to adopt or engage in increasingly vigorous intercourse to spare me hearing for the 27th time about the hilarious incident when you donned your rubber gloves and hip waders to give your pony-sized “Newfy” an enema in the bath tub.” (True story).

Anyway, I’m on my third adopted cat here. The last one given to me with all her trust before she had to leave China came from a Russian woman who then returned unexpectedly a month and a half after the adoption to find I’d let it escape (by accident, I swear!) and then spent nearly a week castigating me, crying, and printing and pasting up trilingual “missing cat” notices with color pictures and dragging me out after hours to search the apartment area’s floating feral cat population and field phone calls in Chinese about possible sightings.

The search did not go well though I’m assuming he’s still on China’s Most Wanted Lost Animals list in Chinese, English and Russian. So it was out of guilt, perhaps, that about a month and a half ago I heard pitiful crying outside my window on a (strike up violins) snowy Beijing night and found a half starved long haired frozen filthy orange and white cat crouched beneath a dim light, brought her in and set her up with the left-over litter, food etc that her predecessor had left behind.

She immediately made herself at home, gained weight and became a yowling love-starved monkey cat who also began pissing randomly in my sandals at night while I was in bed to show her gratitude. And yes, I was indeed ecstatic to put my feet into a puddle of cold cat piss while trying to stumble to the bathroom at 3 am with her winding around me feet and wailing like a banshee in heat.

“Want to go back outside in the snow and starve, you thankless tub of pissing furry guts!?” I’d scream at her as I squirted pints of “Mr Muscle” house cleaning disinfectant on my feet while multitasking on the toilet.

It was only this weekend with the assistance an unusually patient Chinese cat loving friend, S, that I finally decided to haul JCat or Gato as I alternately call her to a nearby non-English speaking vet for a thorough shower, shots and neutering. I’d been to two Chinese vets before.. One in Shenzhen where the vet was apparently trained on large farm animals whose spaying technique nearly killed the cat C and I had adopted. The other was with the Russian woman in Beijing, a thoroughly modern place run by a Chinese Canadian animal lover, but unfortunately way too many kilometers away for easy back and forth feline maintenance.

So I went with the local “Beethovin Beijing ILovePet Animal Hospital” a short distance from my apartment. I’d originally discovered it as the nearest source of the Most Expensive Cat Litter on the Planet and can’t say I was overly optimistic about the chances of getting the cat cleaned, claws clipped, immunized and neutered in one shot, but had delayed long enough.

Still under the distant glow of a Boulder style vet service (efficient Dr Takashi and her faithful animal loving young assistants Tiffany and Dylan) I bundled JCat/Gato into a cat carrier and with S’s assistance flagged down a feline phobic cabbie that nearly didn’t take us. He wanted the cat in the trunk or no ride, til I finally put the box on my lap, clutching it in a near fetal position.

At the vet things began to unravel fairly quickly. The “Tiffany” in my mind had been replaced by a a 14 year old sullen migrant worker who looked as if she’s prefer to eat the cat as much as clip its nails and wash it. A 30-pound Akita stuffed into a cage for a 20-pound animal yelped and barked incessantly near us, only adding to the general chaos as S, me, and the misanthropic teen struggled to hold down the squirming terrified cat.

Long story short. After a number of mishaps, including a nasty three inch scratch that drew blood across my left ring finger and palm (“Do you want a rabies shot?” S said the vet asked me. Sure, and gimme a kilo of swine antibiotics too, please) I agreed to have JCat/Gato knocked out for her beauty treatment and shots after signing a form that said there was “one chance in a thousand that the cat will die” and I wouldn’t sue for damages.

“Foreign or Chinese knock out medicine?” was the next question.
What’s the difference? Chinese is 30 yuan and it takes them longer to wake up. Foreign is 100 yuan and they wake up faster. I took the foreign option, she got the needle and then lurched around on four splayed quivering legs hissing at imaginary dog demons until she collapsed, just as a new customer came in with an unleashed lap dog that began sniffing and barking at her hairy prone carcass.

Come back in an hour, we were told. S and I repaired to a nearby Chinese fake German tavern that played bad synthesized Irish music and had some drinks while she told me about two friends of hers who had lost animals to bad vets – in the United States.

“Time to go back,” I finally said.
“Aren't you worried she'll be dead?” asked S.
“If I’m lucky, yeah...” I muttered still clutching a bloody napkin to stem my bleeding palm.

She wasn't dead but I did get an unexpected shock. The vet talked earnestly to S for what seemed like 10 minutes and then both laughed.

“It seems your 'she' cat is a he,” S told me. “Can't you tell the difference?”


Anonymous said...

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don't give up and also keep penning considering it simply just well worth to look through it.
excited to view much more of your current well written articles, have a good day :)

Anonymous said...

All animals are equal but some like Jcat are more equal than others. A great story! I like it and hope i was there to help check Jcat:)Keep on blogging!