by Stephen Roche
Getting a new pet is an important decision. Be it a dog, a cat, or a tiny bird that sits in a cage all day. And another important decision is choosing the right one. You know, that feeling you get when you first see them and say “that’s the one”? So, I decided to get a new cat, and put the ratio of cat to dog at 2.1, filling up the huge open space in my tiny house.
It was an easy decision. Not because I’m a cat lover and would happily move to the edge of the bed for my oldest cat, Tammy (still jumping walls at 15), but because my sister’s cat had kittens. Three were born, one died, so we agreed to take one of the surviving two, depending on if it was a female. This isn’t sexist against male cats, but my family just hadn’t had a great experience with male pets (from dogs to cats to the turtle my family once had). Plus, my dog, a German Shepard, aged seven, is female (Jasmine), making a straight line of female pets.
We got the cat. Catlyn was the name (isn’t that clever?). There was the fear that the dog wouldn’t get on with her. However, this wasn’t the case, quite the opposite actually. They were stuck to each other worse than a poor fly stuck on a spider’s web. I’d walk in and see Catlyn on her back, tummy sticking out, getting a full body lick down by Jasmine; and the look Catlyn gave me was as if to say ‘can we have some privacy’? Now, I had hoped they’d take off, but I couldn’t have imagined it being so great. Sadly, it wasn’t the story with Tammy.
Now, I knew that bringing a new cat into the household could disrupt another cat’s peace. This wasn’t the case when bringing Jasmine in, or even bringing in the other cats we once had. Something was up. Catlyn would try to bite Tammy, not playfully, but in a way that would have poor Tammy screaming. Tammy’s old, but can still defend herself, but not to the point of beating a younger and stronger cat. Neutering was an option. Well, it was going to happen sooner or later because there were too many cats in my neighbourhood; and we didn’t want kittens. Too much trouble. We pushed forward the neutering in hope that she would calm down.
It was all booked with the vet. A cold winter day. To be fair, it’s always cold in Ireland and I said that for dramatic purposes. Anyway, Catlyn was gone and we waited for her to be finished with the procedure. Upon arrival of collecting her, we were given some news. She didn’t die or anything, nothing like that. She changed. She was no longer Catlyn. She was, in fact, now a male cat. Well, in our eyes; but in Catlyn’s, he was always a male cat. My sister gave us the male cat and we carried on thinking that he was female. The cat still got neutered. And out of respect for the cat, we changed his name. Catlyn still remained. However, the full title was now Catlyn ‘Bruce’ Jenner, and I must thank our society for that.
Isn’t it funny though? Ever since we found out he was a male cat, we notice things that makes a male cat a male cat, from the dirty stuff to being out amongst other cats, beating them up. Tammy used to fight other cats, of course. It’s in their nature. There’s a black cat that always beat up Tammy, but Bruce now beats that cat up.
The cycle has been broken once again. A male pet purrs amongst females. And we love him all the same.
Stephen Roche is a writer and blogger from the south-west of Ireland. He has poems published in Three Line Poetry, Haiku Journal, The Literary Commune and Poppy Road Review, among others. He currently runs the blog, The Horror Club, which has news and interviews of writers and filmmakers. Roche has a blog called A Creative Mind Unleased and you can also follow him on twitter and Facebook!