The child squatted, trying to reach him to pet him, but his mother tugged her and she was hacked the other way.
“Don’t touch it!, it’s dirty!, ugly!”
I can see that the uneven, cracking concrete parking lot is slippery after the rain and the mother has to be careful with both her hands full. Child in one hand, food in the other. The train of her flowing niqab and her long dress make things complicated.
But kids, right? When his mother was busy, the kid slipped away and go back to that running cat, squatted, trying to touch him.
His mother re-arranged her priorities, let go of her dress, and hack her child back again.
“Don’t touch it, it’s ugly!”
Securing her child, she tried to kick the cat, but the cat was running away from people in the first place, so her foot missed.
Her child chased the cat, still trying to pet it.
“Hush!” she was so loud, some of the men there looked over. “Don’t touch it! It’s dirty!”
This time she tried to make the cat run away faster by slapping the cat. “Hush!”
She was shocked to find me holding her wrist. She stepped back, tying to pull away, but her heels stepped into her flowing religious dress.
She tripped, and if I let go, I am sure she will be bathing in the mud; so I keep holding her hand until she found her footing.
She didn’t know what to say, but I do.
“I hope your name is not Aisha, or anything related to his holiness the prophet who loves cats and other creatures and teach his disciples to be kind to all living beings.”
She didn’t know what to do, but I did.
I took my jacket off, covered the terrified cat, wrapped him like red riding hood (except my jacket is army green) and walked away with him in my arms.
So much for trying to get decent breakfast.
I was not mad at the lady though; the cat is indeed very, very ugly. His fur thinned out, bald patches everywhere, tail like frayed raffia, face full of mange, thick, crackling ears, green snot dripping, eyes running. He is smelly, muddy, and – well – ugly.
He is not freakish, he is grotesque.
I brought him home and set him up on the freezer. His eyes were going wild for a few minutes, but he slipped off my jacket. When I came back a few minutes later with Ivermectin, he was already on the floor, eating.
“Boy, aren’t you fast, ey?”
He looked at me, two seconds, snorted, two seconds, and go back eating.
I gave him Ivermectin. He twitched, but that’s it.
The whole day after, he followed me everywhere. I went to the cattery, and he just trot behind me while all the residents he passed snarl or hiss.
He didn’t care. He just keep following me, waving his tail.
I clean litter boxes, he walked around behind me, waving his tail. I told him to wait in the hallway, he went away, waving his tail, sat on the hallway.
The other swarmed at him and sniff here and there, he was unfazed, just waving his tail.
When I am done with litter boxes and walked back inside, he followed me, waving his tail.
A few hours later, no one care enough to pat or hiss, because he ignore everyone. He just walk around sniffing everywhere and jumping on things, waving his tail.
He felt right at home in the first minute.
I called my vet and she said she will be coming later that night.
He went away with the vet and stayed for two weeks. I figured it must be horrible, otherwise my vet won’t hold him for so long.
When she drove him back last night, she told me she took the liberty of fixing him, and she urged me with ultimate concern that I should not to return him to the place where I found him.
I told her I can’t. First of all, he still have a long way to go. His ear mite is gone, his scabies is healing, his hair start to grow, but he is still semi bald. He is still underweight, though not as grave as he used to. He still have scabs of drying wounds, and one hole on his cheek, eaten by mange. It started to dry and is healing now, but it’s still as big as the tip of a cotton bud.
He still have remnants of candidasis on his skin here and there, and I have to treat him with selamectin (Revolution/Stronghold) for at least two or three weeks.
His head is huge, and so are his legs, but his body is so skinny. He is way out of proportion.
And then, our guy is purebred Persian. Long hair, pig nose, flat face. So flat I have to use flash to take his picture, otherwise no one can see his face. If I make him new again and let him go, he will only end up in a tiny cage without food and drink in dog market. Then he will have to go through all those suffering all over again.
“And he is such a happy go lucky guy”, said my vet; “He is not sad, not gloomy, not stressed”
“Haha! yes he is. He just go around like he owns his place!”
“I think he is just happy that he find a home he can love”
“It’s not a castle worthy for a prince of Persia”
“Well, Josie, a cat is a cat. It’s human who is racist and put monetary value on their breed and most often for personal financial gain. The cat itself I am sure feels just like the other cat would”
All the while the subject of our chat casually watch us on the floor, waving his tail.
But then he decided it must be OK, because it’s his house anyway. Even if it’s not, who cares?
So he jumped on the table and sit between us.
Waving his tail.