08 December, 2007

Flashback #4: Moscow

A friend of mine had a litter of kittens she needed to dispose of. She gave a couple away and paid someone to sell the rest at the pet market. (Who knows what really happened to them but at least her conscience was clear.) She had one kitten left over and in a moment of weakness I took him.

His tiny round head and soft fur were beguiling: from the very first moment this cat was a menace. He climbed the curtains and shredded the wallpaper in my "pet free" apartment. He urinated consistently on my carpet and pooped in my bed. I had no washing machine and when I ran out of clean sheets I was sometimes forced to sleep curled up in a fetal position around sodden putrid spots on my bed.

This cat was so nefarious that I christened him Monster.

There was no cat food to be had in the grocery stores, so I got to make my own. Mornings found me gagging at the stove, stirring a pot of oatmeal studded with malodorous fish heads, tails and skin that I'd bought at the market the day before.

Monster's behavior became increasingly erratic and I started to reach the end of my steadily fraying rope. I was venting my frustrations to a colleague one day when she smiled reassuringly: "Sounds like he's hitting puberty. You need to have him neutered-- that will solve all your problems!"

She just happened to have a cousin who was a vet and called right away to make an appointment. I was relieved, if a little confused, when she hung up and said: "You're all set. He'll be at your apartment this afternoon."

I took a long lunch break and dashed home. The doorbell rang and a middle-aged man with a leather bag walked briskly into the room. I greeted him and started to apologize-- I had no cat carrier and wasn't sure where to put Monster so that he could transport him to his office.

He wasn't listening. He caught Monster, turned to me and asked: "Where is the kitchen?"

I led him to the kitchen and switched on the light. He held the cat down on the butcher block table with one hand while he pulled a razor out of his bag with the other. "Hold his legs for me, will you?"

I was so dumbfounded that I did as I was told as he shaved the cat's nether regions. Then he pulled out an enormous syringe.

Up until that moment I'd been trying to convince myself that this wasn't happening. That any minute he'd wrap Monster up, take him away and return him two days later as a purring, happy eunuch who had miraculously learned to use a litter box.

He pulled out a scalpel and I fled; sat in the only other room in my apartment and cried. About 15 minutes later he brought in a sedated Monster and placed him gently on the carpet. "He'll come around in a couple of hours. There shouldn't be any complications-- if you have any questions you can reach me through my cousin."

I paid him and grabbed my bag-- I had to return to work. We were passing the kitchen on our way out the front door when something caught my eye.

Adorning the middle of the kitchen table were two glistening testicles...

(Move on to Flashback 5:  Moscow)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG, I never! speechless...

anno said...

What a novel souvenir! As if you might ever forget this occasion...

anno said...

And what ever happened to Monster?

Betsy said...

Believe it or not he eventually settled down. (I think that the castration helped, once we'd both gotten over the initial trauma.)

Monster lived to the ripe old age of 11-- he actually had his own passport and moved to Belgium and then to America where he acted like a spoiled expat and took advantage of the kindness of naive locals.

He eventually got a little sister whom he regularly beat the shit out of. Together they happily destroyed wallpaper, carpets, furniture and other sundry decorations.

He eventually succumbed to kitty cancer and was cremated. I got the ashes back just as we were moving back to Belgium and they disappeared. They're probably still around here somewhere packed among forgotten books and old photographs.

Better be nice to me, Anno, or you might receive a surprise delivery in the mail someday when you least expect it... ;-)

anno said...

A cat with a passport! Now there's a story concept (and I mean that in a nice way, I promise). Sounds like Monster had the kind of life about which most cats can only dream...

Greg said...

What a bizarre episode to have witnessed. My father, who grew up on a farm, has told me stories of performing this surgery on barn-cats. "It's easy," he'd say, "Just shove them head first into a boot and go to it." I still shudder when I think of it.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You seriously have to put these into a collection. You really have a knack for capturing the absurdity of life in Russia.

Africakid said...

I love that last sentence! Such a verbal image...just don't show this to any male who's about to go in for a vasectomy.

Goofball said...

what a story! ooooh I wouldn't want to clean up the kitchen after that. Yikes, so creepy.

It actually kills me that you have importet him to Belgium and the USA afterwards. Whaaahaaa :p. did it state "Monster" on the passport? What did customs say to that?