From pet hate to smitten kitty

By Craig McIntosh | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-02 09:54

From pet hate to smitten kitty

[Illustration by Cai Meng/China Daily]

I castrated my cat the other day. Well, not me personally. I didn't slip while cutting up his salmon dinner or something grisly like that.

No, I paid a vet. He actually came to my home and did it, which was convenient. Another wonder of China's growing online-to-offline industry-although I don't think I'll look at my coffee table in quite the same way again.

I didn't have the stomach to stick around and watch the procedure (my wife was there of course to post the action live on WeChat), but I popped home from work to see how he was doing shortly after the op. He was groggy, but when he heard my voice he lifted his tiny head and began crawling toward me.

It was at this moment I realized I actually had affection for this troublesome ball of fur.

Billy, the cat, came to live with us the same way as all our pets: without my prior knowledge. I returned home one day to find him curled up on our couch, my wife grinning ear to ear. She'd been after getting a cat for ages, but I'd steadfastly refused (just like I had with the rabbit, which of course we also ended up getting).

They say you're either a cat person or a dog person. My family had always had dogs, and growing up I'd always hated cats with a passion.

Looking back, it probably had a lot to do with Thomas, a tabby one of my uncles owned. I remember as a teenager him scratching and hissing at me, and generally just giving me the ol' stink eye whenever I was about.

"He was a bully," I said while discussing all this with my mother some years ago, long after Thomas had gone to that Great Kitty Litter in the Sky. "He had it in for me. I could see it in his eyes."

My mother simply shook her head. "So you don't remember swinging him around by his tail when you were about 5 years old then?" she asked. I didn't remember, no.

OK, so obviously Thomas wasn't totally to blame for the breakdown in our relationship. Still, I was determined not to like Billy.

My wife grew up in the countryside of eastern China and feels at home with having animals running around the place. "They're cute," she protested after I expressed my ill-feelings for felines. But I'd seen my friend's two cats toying with half-dead birds and terrified mice too many times to see them as benign house pets.

Yet that morning, in his half-awake state, Billy won me over. And I suppose it also doesn't hurt that his black-and-white pattern makes it look like he's got a mustache like the great Groucho Marx.

Now, the cat and I are inseparable, and most nights you'll find him perched on my chest, purring away. Of course, this is not what my wife had had in mind when she agreed to take Billy off a friend's hands.

"How come he always comes to you? He loves you more, but he's supposed to be my pet," she'd pout. That was, until the day I came home and was met once again by that familiar grin.

"Here," she said holding up a new ball of fur. "Meet Max."

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349