Friday, January 16, 2009


No matter what language you say it in, they are wonderfully loyal and serene pets. I have in the past had two of them as pets. One a pure- breed that I lucked upon at an animal shelter that specialized in pure-breed “displaced” pets and another that was a “mutt” cat. My two cats were Ginger (an orangish colored cat, hence the name Ginger) and Neo, named after the main character in the Matrix Trilogy. Both were great pets, but it was the pure-breed that captivated me and captured my heart.

Neo was a pure-breed Bombay cat the embodiment of beauty. He was long and lean with the most dazzling dazzling golden eyes and a soft coat of black with a sheen that would easily put Arianna Furs to shame.

Beauty and Brains
Neo was not only beautiful, but intelligent too. I was able to teach him to:
-Come when his name was called,
-To sit on command, and
-To jump on command (to name a few).

Sometimes his natural intelligence would get him into trouble. There are several occasions that I can recall with great clarity. The first- I wanted some privacy, so I went into my room and closed the door. Well, Neo was not going to be having any of that, how dare I leave him alone! He proceeded to stand on his long hind legs and twist at the door knob until the door opened. Feeling quite proud of himself, he sauntered over to where I was sitting and hopped up on my lap. The second-Neo liked the breeze that would come off the screened-in balcony and would often lie in front of the balcony door to nap and soak up the breeze and he would also be sometimes seen “sniffing” the air that came in. On day the allure of the outside world was too great for him and he did something about it.

I’d gone to run a few errands one day and when I came back, he was missing and there was a large hole in the bottom of the screen. Naturally I panicked. Neo was an inside cat and had only gone outside in his carrier. Frantically I began to call his name as loudly as I could, yes, the neighbors thought I’d lost my mind, but I did not care. Since he had been trained to come when his name was called, he immediately popped his head from under the neighbors’ bar-b-que grill and let out a meow before running and jumping back onto my balcony, looking as innocent as can be. Initially, I tried to prevent him from escaping through his hole, but that was to no avail, because as I mentioned earlier, he was quite crafty; so I resigned myself to the fact that he would get out whenever the weather was mild enough not to need the AC. Plus, he would never go anywhere but to the neighbors’ grill (yes, I had to work out an understanding with them because they were of the mindset that all animals were “nasty” and that Americans were crazy about their nasty animals (they were/are Haitian).

Finally, one day during the week I was off work and cleaning in the living room when I saw a little squirrel climb up the screen. I was nervous because I hadn’t replace the screen from when the cat chewed/clawed through it the second time (yes, I was stupid enough to replace it! $80.00 well-spent). As I was about to try to shoo it away, I saw the cat leap at it and knock it off of the screen. I was horrified at the fact that my “respectable” cat would attack that “rat with the fluffy tail.” He didn’t kill the squirrel, the hunt was sufficient for him, but I did have to take him to the vet to make sure he did not get rabies and I had to call the association to let them know what happened to the “fluffy rat” in hopes that they could get someone out to look at the squirrel to make sure that it would be fine. The third incident- this incident was actually something that happened several times before I figured out what was wrong. My cat would run through the house and jump up the wall. It was always the same wall and he would do this for about 15-20 minutes before he either got tired or I became irritated with the behavior and would grab him and hold him or if he was especially aggressive, I would have to spray him with water from the water bottle (don’t worry, this is a common cat training tool and doesn’t harm the animal). Well finally I figured out that these bouts were temper tantrums. He would get angry if he couldn’t get any attention or sit on your lap. In many ways he was like a dog without the barking.
One Of A Kind
Neo was an interesting creature who would groom you and himself at the same time (this was him showing you affection), he would hop into the tub when you ran bathwater (strange, right?) and he was known for waking my son up in the middle of the night trying to get a soft spot to lay down (you know that kneading thing that cats do before they can lay down). I would hear my son say something like, “Oh my G-d, could you hurry up!” If it became problematic, I would have him shoo the cat away and close his door. Neo did NOT sleep alone so he would come to my room to start over again, only I did not allow him on my bed (allergies)! I loved him, but not enough to let him onto my bed.
Retrospect For Life
I tell these stories of him in retrospect, because Neo is no longer of this earth. Neo contracted FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) , the wet form, from Ginger, who got it from her mother, which should have been detected since I got her from the Anti-Cruelty Society in downtown Chicago. I’d gotten her because I’d read that you should never have one cat, that they get lonely for their own kind and that they should have a playmate, some playmate, huh? If you get a cat from a shelter make sure that they get tested for this disease. I was told by Anti-Cruelty Society that this was not a commonly tested for disease, but strangely enough the rescue group that I got Neo from tested for the disease. If you get a rescue pet, make sure you get it tested for Feline Infectious Peritonitis!!!

Well, on this parting note, I sincerely pray that I meet my friend again in the hereafter, because it was a blessing to have had him in my life and selfishly, I want to see him again…

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