Some years ago my eight year old daughter begged to adopt a cat. One Saturday morning we drove thirty miles to the nearest animal rescue center and toured the cat enclosures for a suitable feline candidate.
We must have looked at sixty cats and not one of them appealed to my daughter. Then, the keeper asked if we would be prepared to spend some time nursing a sick cat. My daughter could never resist a sick animal and straight away the keeper led us into a small caravanette. Inside, the light was ultraviolet and two strange creatures were prowling around the little room.
Both the animals were nearly bald, except for great clumps of fur left around paws, neck and the end of their tails. They were the ugliest looking things I had ever seen. The keeper assured us they were pedigree Persians, newly rescued from an owner who had neglected their coats, hence the shaved appearance. She said that eventually the fur might grow back. However, she was unable to guarantee that the fur would regenerate and wanted my daughter’s assurance that, in the event of her cat remaining bald, she would still love it.
We went home with a bald cat, with a flat face. For the first few weeks the cat would come nowhere near us. Her name was Topaz Solitaire Clementine III, but Suzie always called her Toody, short for Toodycat.
Her fur did grow back and eventually she lost her fear of us and became affectionate. She turned into a magnificent specimen, white and grey bi-colored, and her coat swept along the floor in soft, luxuriant trails. Her whiskers, which did not exist when we first took her home, grew back into long, strong, spikes, and her eyes were brilliant orange.
Unfortunately, Toody’s intelligence was somewhat limited. She was the cat version of a blonde bimbo. In fact to put it bluntly, she was very stupid. She would frequently walk into a mirror thinking her reflection was another cat; she would fall off the window sills and the backs of chairs and frequently missed the kitty litter by hanging her bottom carefully over the edge of the tray.
One day, I decided to re-line the inside of my jewelry box. This necessitated smearing glue all over the inside of the drawers of the jewelry box and then applying the baize lining, pressing it down until dry.
Just at the precise moment I was to apply the baize lining to one of the drawers, the telephone rang and I went into the hall to answer it. When I returned, Toody was sitting in the drawer. She looked at me calmly, as if blissfully unaware that her bottom was securely welded to a drawer. I ran, panicked, to the phone to ring the vet, and he suggested I bring Toody, complete with drawer, down to the surgery.
You cannot imagine how embarrassing it is to stand in a veterinary surgeon’s waiting room with a drawer, with a cat stuck to it. The receptionist laughed, the vet laughed, and an aged cockatoo laughed, to see such a silly sight.
Toody lost nearly all the fur on her bottom, as it had to be cut away and then an antibiotic solution applied to the affected area to prevent infection.
To this day I keep my jewelry in a jewelry box lined with blue baize and Persian Cat Bottom Fur.
Jan Gamm writes reflections on life with an emphasis on world travel. She has lived in many countries and traveled extensively in the Far East, the Middle East, America, South America and throughout the South Pacific. She writes for fun and for money whenever she can manage it.