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Not the cat he used to be

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Owen has become a responsible cat. More precisely, he has become the cat of a pair of responsible pet owners.

Owen was neutered on Tuesday.

Prior to the operation, he was a bit of a problem child. A black long hair, Owen was a big talker, always meowing loudly, either for food or to be let outside to pursue his amorous interests. And he used to do really cute cat stuff like push glasses off the kitchen counter in the middle of the night if, by chance, we had not let him outside to cat around.

It was a great way to enforce dishwasher discipline in our household.

Owen used to come home, sometimes 8 or 10 in the morning, looking like he’d just rolled in from an after hours club — where he had picked a fight with everyone from the bartender to the drug dealers and the prostitutes.

His head was practically hairless, full of scratches and scabs. Half the time one of his eyes was closed. If there was such a thing as a kitty hangover remedy, I would have gotten him some. At least some kitty Rogaine.

In general he was so incorrigible, I took to calling him “juvie.” With his roughed up black hair and slinky gait, he reminded me of the stock bad guy character, clad in black leather, in movies either from or about the 1950s.

I used to love watching him walk across the street, right up to the front bay window of a neighbor’s house, looking for their female.

It was like, “hey, I may be a bad boy, but your daughter likes it.” Sometimes I imagined the Billy Joel tune, “Only the Good Die Young,” playing on the soundtrack.

So we made the decision to cut his nuts off.

Sure, I could say ‘neuter’ but that’s a little too Orwellian. If someone put me in a transport cage suitable for dangerous felons, then carted me to a clinic for the express purpose of removing my sex organ, I’d be godamned if I’d let anyone say they had me ‘neutered.’ Just like to respect my cat.

The neutering process indeed involves cutting off the cat’s testicles.

On one pet Web site, I found this anecdote about the pre-surgical procedure: For cats, the hair on the scrotum is usually plucked rather than clipped, to avoid irritating the area, and the area is scrubbed with antiseptic. [emphasis added.]

I’m sure Owen appreciated the attention to detail.

It was my job to pick him up from the eugenics clinic.

He meowed lightly on seeing me, if only to signal he was glad to see a normal human in the midst of all the animal-owning misfits. I’ll write about this at some other time, but extreme animal owners are a strange bunch. And we own four cats and two dogs. But we also shower and comb our hair. More than once a week.

On ariving home, I opened his feline felon cage. He hopped out, tried to take a couple of steps when his legs slid out from under him.

I’m pretty sure it was the effects of the drugs wearing off, but I can’t help wonder if his imbalance was due to the recently removed ballast.

Since the operation [read: having his nuts cut off], Owen is reformed.

He’s quiet, walks instead of bounds and doesn’t want to stay out all night.

His scabs are healing and his hair is growing back.

But he’s not the cat he used to be.

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About Frank Giovinazzi