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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Of the cat's indomitable passion

It's now about or more than a decade that I have cats in my room. It was not for pure rebelliousness that I took them in. I remember having been told when we were younger that cats should not be in the house but outside to catch the rats or mice whichever. The reason given then was that cat's fur can harm our health when ingested. Ingestion can take place when they're in the house shedding fur on the seats or furnitures. Besides, their pooh pooh and urine stink like hell!!! Hence, in my last chest x-ray about two years ago, I asked my physician sister if she had found any trace of cat fur in the x-ray film. She said my lungs seemed healthy sans the cat fur. Modesty aside, one of my cats seems to have diffculty with her breathing. (Siya ang hinihika!!! She's the one having the dreaded problem! From my "smell"?)

Am writing about the cat's indomitable passion because this is the second time I have noticed this behavior. By the way, I have two cats now in my room: Sim, the mother, and Merlin, Sim's daughter who was born at the time Fernando Po Jr (FPJ) had his "amici cureae", hence her name (for historical mnemonic purposes only since I have no birth certificates for my pets). I have given away all Sim's offspring to willing owners, and Merlin was so lucky staying after she was returned by her adoptive human family. After Merlin was born, Sim still managed to have a set of 7! And I noticed that Merlin sucked at her mother's tits the way the last 3 kittens did. Amusing, isn't it? She seemed to not have lost her innocence as a baby cat. After that "accident" set, born on Sept. 11, 2004 (I still remember it because I just came from Davao where we had our PACERS midyear, and the names of the 7 kittens were in memory of my companion counselors who gave the workshops: Nancy, Leo, Susan, Susie, Cheryl, Tintin and Liza), I have kept tight guard since then on Sim and Merlin to keep them from having another set(s: imagine I have 2 lady cats! in my room). Maybe this is what most couples experience after having enough number of kids to care for, and maybe they get tired with the routine! Ha ha!! Male cats were off limits. If one manages to sneak in, it's with permission and supervision - only for feeding, after which I show them the door. And so, Sim and Merlin have gone through their cycles sans fertilization.

The indomitable passion I want to write about here is this: once these two female cats start their reproductive cycle (it is called ESTRUAL CYCLE [click on this site for more amusing information]), they become (if I were only a cat!) irresistible with their loud come-ons (for quite a few hard-to-sleep nights!!! - a week by average), and particular playfulness. Merlin for one develops such a very affectionate behavior she comes close to me and wants to be cuddled like a little baby. This she doesn''t do when she's not in that cycle. (Hence I now know that the cycle is beginning when she starts getting close to me. Is this similar to what couples experience and call "kalabit"? I can only guess since I am celibate. Ha ha!!) AND, she marks the place with her stinging urine. Waah! I have to always activate my nose as soon as I enter my room since she can be nasty marking everywhere (how I always pray and tell her not to do it on my laptop which I leave on my table). Apart from the reproductive cycle, she religiously urinates in my bathroom and not just anywhere. Am just thankful she has not pooh pooh-ed outside the bathroom! Now I know that poohing is not part of the reproductive cycle! It's part of their hygienic cycle.

This cycle seems to be waning as the frequency of her loud come-ons reduces. And she starts to go aloof again!

I remember here in a special way NIKKI, my first spayed cat. It was Feb. 14, a Monday that year (1997?) when I decided to have her spayed. She was simply incontrollable. She has kept me awake the whole night, and when my neighbor's bathroom was opened after breakfast, she quickly jumped in there and ran away with her loud come-on. Embarrassed by that incident, I brought her to the vet and by 6PM, she was unconscious from the anesthesia. I had her inside a borrowed cage (the clinic was so generous to lend me until Nikki was well, thanks a lot indeed!) for a week before I let her free. Wow, as soon as she was free, she became so spritely that her wound opened, and I had to apply the sulfuric medicine on her wound after wiping it with betadine. And she readily spread her legs so I could wipe her operation wound, until it finally healed.

What I couldn't forget was what happened to her when she started to behave the way she did when she had her cycle. NO MALE CAT CAME CLOSE TO HER! I felt guilty, thinking she had become a flower no bee would come close to. So, I decided not to spay my lady cats but just keep them in the room.

Nikki was particularly affectionate a pet. She was one who knew how to massage, yes, massage! Whenever am in bed, she would come to me, and when I say massage my back, she'd put her two paws on my back and start to knead on my muscles. For free of course. She'd do that until I tell her to stop. However, five years later, on Oct. 19, 2002 to be exact, she died. I had her buried under a star apple tree here in the seminary as soon as I came from my apostolate. I saw her in the morning already groggy, and even gave her a dry towel she could lay her body on under the table. When I came back, she was sturdy and cold. She was my first cat I saw from the moment I took her in as a little kitten until she died. My male cats I have not seen die in my presence. They are supposed to die away under the culverts or dark place away from their territories because the next king cat drives them away. Actually the last King I had, Boxer, just stopped coming to my door for his daily ration. It's been three months since I last saw him. I think I have to think his life has reached its peak somewhere. But he left me one of his sons who manages to wake me up in the mornings for his food ration, and maybe the luck of sneaking in for a much-longed for moment with either Merlin or Sim. Wish nya lang!