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January 22, 2014

A Feline Adventure

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Facebook is about cats. Every other post seems to have a feline in some sort of pose. This morning I saw one that was so adorable and cute that I wanted to reach through the computer screen and cuddle it.


Another was gazing at a Christmas tree, and still another was sleeping with a three-or-four-year-old child, both with angelic faces. The owners were all coos and ahhs about their particular kitty.


I have always wanted a cat that would sit on my lap and purr while I stroked its head while reading a Dickinson novel. The fireplace would have been a perfect place for this encounter. But, alas, this will never happen in my life time.


We have had four, maybe five or six cats while the girls were growing up. The cats (the girls at one time or another) all hated me. Even my most fetching here “kitty, kitty” resulted in that look that says “Don’t come near me,” or they would scamper under the couch, out of reach.


And what I did for them! Each visit to the grocery store would result in purchasing five or six 25 lb. bags of kitty litter. I would carry them into the house and stack them one on top of the other. Yes, it was the very cheapest kind you could buy. No colored granules which released pleasant odors when the cats evacuated. Maybe I should have purchased the high-end product, but I saw no sense in buying something that would be thrown out a day or two later.


I always had to empty the litter boxes because when the time came, no other family member could be found. I would lift the stinking mass up to my waist – with odors wafting into my nose – and carry it out to the trash bin and dump it. Then I would hose out the bottom and place fresh litter. I did this in rain or snow and even in the coldest of temperatures. Think they appreciated that? Naw!


Feeding time was also my job. I heard rumors that when it was time to prepare the meal cats would arch their back lovingly and rub against your leg. My cats, they were mine actually because nobody else did a damn thing for them, would eye me warily from around the corner and waited for me to leave before they gulped down their food. Okay, it wasn’t the gourmet brand. It was the generic five cans for a dollar brand. They wouldn’t even touch the dry food.


Vet time was a real battle. When I got out the cat carrier, they absolutely knew one or two of them would be taken to the kitty doctor for a tooth scraping and shots. Of course, it never dawned on me to get the cat first and then bring down the carrier. About an hour or two before the appointment the hunt would begin. I would check the calendar to see which cat would be the next victim and search it out. Of course, leading such a hectic life style, it never occurred to me to bring them all in at once and be done with it.


The chase through the house was a comic affair reminiscent of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. After about a half hour employing a broom to scatter the cat out of an unreachable corner, I would make a leaping dive, hold the cat by the scruff of the neck and battle it to the cat carrier. They would always splay their legs to block the entrance but I would shove it in head first. At the vets, I would reach into the carrier and pull it out, legs splayed in the other direction for their examination.


I figured they would forgive me for this one small incident in their lives that occurred every two years, but their hatred for me was ever lasting. It was to the point that I would arise in the middle of the night to visit the toilet and they would arch their back, give me a strong hiss and scatter. This went on for 20 years.


I have not had a cat since that time about seven years ago. I figure that all cats would hate me and that’s okay. The irony of it all is that I moved to Kuching, Malaysia. Kuching means “cat “in the Malay language.


…Life is good. . . . .


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