A good year for women on film, as exemplified in new releases The Eyes of My Mother, Miss Sloane, and more
Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
She looks at me from the floor. The mutilated one. I would never have done this to her myself.
I found her in the Albertson's parking lot where my old trainer used to be, .9 miles from my house. She had been hanging around the lot for a few days and I fed her bits of dry cat food that I brought in a baggie. She was very sweet and seemed somewhat well taken care of, but something bothered me. It seemed like a strange place for her to be, this lot surrounded by busy streets on all sides, any crossing likely resulting in her being hit by a car. She reminded me of an old lady's cat.
The trainer's girlfriend was a work associate of mine, and like me, a confirmed animal lover. She was the one to suggest I take her to the vet for an exam and to see if she was chipped, which I did.
The vet gave her a clean bill of health and confirmed she was not micro-chipped. I couldn't take her back to the parking lot, so my co-worker suggested maybe I keep her. Notice she never once assumed responsibility for the vet/ownership responsibilities, but was insistent that I be. Some people have your number. I decided that this would be the best course of action, and vowed to find her owner.
When my husband came home that night, I had to tell him we had a new houseguest. "You what?!" he gasped as I told him I had captured and brought home someone's pet. "How do you know it's not someone's cat?" he rationally questioned. "I didn't know", I told him. "There's just something about this cat."
Well, let me tell you, something is an understatement. When I got her home, she went ballistic. I had to lock her in the bathroom to avoid contact with my other cat. She howled and screamed and I was beside myself. That night, I went in to comfort her, and she literally reared up, hissed at me and bit my arm down to the bone. I freaked out and ran from the bathroom. After I staunched the flow of blood, I sat down on the couch, looked at my husband and said "I've made a terrible mistake".
This went on for days, with me trying to comfort her and make her feel protected, but she was a mess. During this time, I ran ads in the paper, posted signs with her picture all over Point Loma, and left flyers on the bulletin boards at every business in the complex where I found her. I actually found a lost cat flyer on the Albertson's bulletin board the day I put my found one up, with a picture that looked EXACTLY like her. I was ecstatic. I called them, they came over, and it was not their cat. It was so weird. What are the odds? I received a few calls, but none panned out. We were stuck.
During this time, I noticed something strange about her. Her front paws were tiny, and even though she could easily have scratched the hell out of me, she was inclined to bite. She would try to scratch the carpet, and nothing came up. I called my husband. "I think she has been de-clawed". Sure enough, I took her back to the vet, and they confirmed it.
It was only her front paws, but she was at a serious disadvantage. As I attempted to acclimate her to my other cat, Tiger, he sensed something was wrong with her. At first, he tried to engage her in a little rough play, but she could not defend herself other than to bite him. He seemed puzzled, and then he took to holding her down and licking her face and ears. At first she cried and howled, but eventually she succumbed to his charms and let him have his way. They became husband and wife. They still fight all the time, but I also find them lying next to each other basking in their luck at landing in this house.
Never, even if the real owner called, would I have considered giving her up after finding out about her mutilation. Anyone that would let a cat with no claws go outdoors, let alone de-claw one in the first place, does not deserve the privilege of pet ownership. Most don't understand what de-clawing entails, but it is a horrific practice, and if you are so selfish that your couch is so important to you that you would put an innocent animal through this, you should be banned from having one. A cat, that is, not a couch. Cats will tear up your stuff. That's part of the tradeoff for the right to have a cat. You don't ever own a cat. There is an old saying. "Dogs have masters. Cats have slaves."
I made no mistake taking this wonderful creature home. She is still a god-awful bitch, but I could not imagine our lives without her. This cat has taught me a lot about moving through life without the things we take for granted. When I found her, she was in a real pickle. So, I named her Pickle.