The Parent Imperfect long ago reported on the New Year’s Day arrival of a bizarre feline at his castle. Sheba had been rescued from the streets of the Bronx on or about Thanksgiving Day and taken in by the niece of one of the PI’s neighbors. When that didn’t work out, the neighbor asked if the PI and Co. might like the cat, and, in a moment of curious dementia, the PI acquiesced.
After all, Sheba had all of its shots and had been spayed at the shelter. The PI is, of course, allergic to cats, but he thought that they could see how bad his allergies became if they kept the cat out of his working and sleeping spaces.
Liz, the cat expert in the house, thought that this animal was a member of the Russian Blue breed, which was a perfectly good guess. It turns out, however, that Sheba is of the much more exotic Korat clan, named after the province in Thailand where they are thought to have originated. This breed is highly prized in their country of origin as a source of good luck. A gift of two of them to a new bride portends a marriage of good fortune. Perhaps the PI can find a Thai bride-to-be who is short one Si-Sawat (the more common name for the breed in Thailand),
Luckily (perhaps) Korats seem to cause less allergy problems than many other cats because they shed very little. This may explain the fact that the PI has so far been able to tolerate the presence of this animal. Many friends, like Kevin Whalen, can not tolerate the cat presence in the house, however, and now avoid the place like the plague.
Perhaps because it spent much of its kittyhood on the streets of the Bronx, this cat is both very clever and quite insane. Connie’s piano practice–which has become much more frequent in recent weeks–continues to drive dear Sheba into a frenzy, complete with three–foot vertical leaps and claw attacks on the source of the annoyance. When she wasn’t clawing Connie, Sheba was shredding or aerating the furniture, most notably the PI’s favorite leather chair. Knowing that she is not allowed in either to leave the house or to enter the bedroom or the PI’s office, Sheba will lurk for hours like a guerrilla fighter waiting in ambush near the door in question, bursting into the room at the moment the door opens. Some day, the PI will plunge down the front steps after trying to close the outside door quickly, before Sheba makes a break for it. After that, he will be willing to risk the loss of good luck by getting rid of the animal.
With the coming of spring, Sheba decided that her house arrest was over, and she began to escape more frequently, for longer periods. Resigned to the inevitable, Liz acquired a smart collar and tags identifying Sheba and her happy owners. Sporting her new collar, she took a particularly long trip outside the very next day and proceeded to get her butt kicked by one of the alley toughs that have survived the coyote attacks to roam the PI’s neighborhood. She limped home, with an injured leg and no collar, and has since spent less time positioning herself to flee the house when the PI comes in with the groceries.
But the real joys of cat ownership didn’t begin until the weather took a turn for the warmer in mid-May. Sheba began to act very strange, pee (we thought) in unusual places and make much, too much, noise. Fearing a urinary tract infection, Liz took her to the vet in Dedham. To the PI’s utter shock, the vet suggested that there might be some infection, but that the animal was most likely in heat.
“But it says right on her papers that she was spayed at the shelter,” said the PI when he heard this.
“Yes, but sometimes they don’t do a complete job and leave pieces of ovarian tissue in place,” answered Ms. Liz, quoting the vet. “If that’s the case, she’ll need surgery.”
Ms. Connie fell completely in love with Sheba the minute she came into the house. The idea that this was a trial never had any real legs. To her credit, C. pays much attention to the cat and does more than her share of the feeding and box cleaning. In moments of weakness (when he’s a good distance away from the ruined leather chair), the PI can be heard to say that despite her sneaky and erratic behavior, the cat can be good company. Who is the PI to recommend expulsion for a creature who loses it once in a while?
And so it is that a man who has seen relationships end over the presence of a cat, now spends a good part of his life in the presence of a Krazy Korat in heat. He may now have the privilege of paying for a complex medical procedure for the animal. At least the Thais are clear that this creature brings good luck. The PI would hate to have one of those bad luck cats.