When I was a young lad, about four or five, I was attacked by a cat. A declawed one, at that, and it traumatized me. Fast-forward 16 years, and I own my very first cat. A Siamese I named “Punk-Ass” as a homage to my father and mother’s Siamese cat “Punk-Ass Feo”, but then changed the name to “Ho” because while watching Jerry Springer I laughed and said “stupid Ho” to the TV and my cat came to me. She would answer to Ho, but not Punk, Punk-ass, or anything else, so it just stuck. Anyways, how, you may ask, did I, an overfed long-haired gnome (shouts out Eric Burdon) go from fearing felines due to a traumatic experience with a boxing kitty, to giving these animals the highest pedestal I can by accepting them as my favorite animal of all time? To answer that question, I really don’t know, that’s a good question for another piece. But let me take you back to the time a declawed cat caused me to fear cats more than death itself.
I wasn’t used to seeing cats, or being around them. The only time I saw this creature was with my grandparents. My mother and Step-Father always had dogs, because my stepdad doesn’t like cats at all. I was around Punk-Ass Feo because of my biological father and mother, but I don’t remember him because I was less than six months old while around him. My mom tells me that he would sleep in the crib with me, but they had to give him away for reasons I’m not too sure of. So my first pet, as far as I know, was a cat. The earliest memory I have of a cat was my Grandma Gomez’s cat named Marie Jane, or MJ for short (thinking about it now, I’m more than sure my father named her). MJ lived with my grandpa and father as well, in a beautiful house on the East side of El Paso, Texas. I remember chasing this poor cat around, terrorizing the house animal so much that I remember my grandma telling me “you scare her” when I asked the simple question “Why wont Mary Jane play with me?” One day, after seeing this cat about once a week, something changed at home. My mother got a call from one of her customers at work. This client was looking for a home for an old cat.
His name was Frankie, a Himalayan cat. My mom’s client worked at a clinic and the owners brought Frankie in because they couldn’t take care of him anymore. He was already declawed (which is very inhumane in my opinion) and my mom decided to give Frankie a new home. In the house I grew up in the floor was all carpet, expect for the bathroom in the hallway. Frankie would often be seen laying on the tile to cool himself down, because he had a very thick coat. I was a very energetic, as energetic as a four-year-old boy can get. I would put on my cape and run around, going on my adventures. Frankie wasn’t a fan of these adventures. He would watch me run around, back and forth, getting agitated, signaled by his erratic tail movements. He wasn’t used to this environment; his previous owners were an older couple so it makes sense. One day as I was running around in the living room, the king of the castle, Frankie, was perched on top of the couch just watching me as always. I don’t know what prompted me to stop and stand right in front of this already frustrated cat, but I did, and all hell broke loose… well at least to four-year-old me it did.
That damn cat whacked me at least 40 times in five seconds, and I just stood there, taking it, screaming bloody murder. I’m sure it looked like a boxer going ham on one of the hanging punching bags that are shaped like uvulas. I’m not too sure who stopped the rumble, either my mother or Frankie himself, but after that I don’t remember much. All I know is after that we took him back to the clinic. Thinking back, I really hope Frankie got the home he needed.
That experience traumatized me, but now growing up cats are my favorite animals. I don’t know what prompted the change in heart, but I’m glad it happened. I love that cat, and I do think about him a lot. I miss him as well, hoping, and part of me knowing, he got to live the rest of his live with a family that was suited for him, not beating up unsuspecting kids that, obviously, deserved it.