This is Semerkhet – also known as The Evil One, Damaged Goods, and Kitten-Kitten-Hotep, but most commonly addressed as Weevil (“wee-evil-kitten). She suffers from epilepsy, optical processing errors, litterbox problems, impulse control issues, and a general bad temper. She is, of course, unadoptable under most guidelines, and would be euthanized in any shelter that was not specifically no-kill.
And she's my horrible little darling.
She was rescued by my husband when she ran across a car-filled street to grab his foot and wouldn't let go. We were moving out of New Orleans after finally acknowledging that Katrina had indeed destroyed our lives there (after two years of attempted reconstruction), so after a cursory search to determine if Mama was nearby (not), he brought her back to Baton Rouge with that day's truckload of stuff. We made brief introductions to our feline coterie (she was curious, they were nonplussed), and settled her into the bathroom to begin defleaing, quarantine, and assimilation. All went well for the first two days, as she gained weight and started looking healthier. Then we discovered why her mother had abandoned her: she had her first seizure. Grand mal; scary, but since we'd had an epileptic cat before, we knew what to do and got the vet to diagnose and prescribe for her to prevent her running headfirst into walls to “escape” her seizures.
As we began letting her out of confinement to socialize with our other cats, we began to notice the other problems. At first we thought she might be blind (or sight impaired), but we figured out that she can see just fine – she just doesn't understand how to interpret what she sees. Her whole world is very confusing; she can't tell the difference between a wall and one of the other cats until she gets close enough to sniff. And when the world is just toooo confusing, she looses her temper and attacks – the floor, the other cat, the furniture, us, without discrimination. Sometimes she sees things that aren't there, and attacks them, too. When she gets that look, and the ears fold back, the other cats just clear her space, deciding that this would be a good time to do that real important thing that needs to be done elsewhere.
Did I mention her balance problems? We think that's why she won't use the catbox; the unstable surface of the litter makes her loose her balance and fall over. (That, and she can't tell where the other cats left their business, so she ends up walking in it. She likes that about as well as we do.) So she does her business next to the catbox – sometimes. Sometimes it's wherever she is at the moment. At least it's always the floor, and not on the furniture.
And then she jumps up on the bed to sleep next to me, or comes to sit at my feet when I'm on the couch, and gives me that sweet, sweet look. She wants to be picked up and held upside down, on her back in the air like a reverse Superman (complete with outstretched paws). She doesn't know how to purr – we think it's part of her brain damage – but when she stretches out backwards, she gives a little huff like the beginning of a purr.
She's three years old now, and just learning that pets are good, that her feeding times are morning and just before bed, and that cheese is a wonderful treat. She's still tiny, about the size of a six-month old kitten, and because of her health problems I don't expect her to see her tenth birthday. So I have to give her all her love right now, 'cause I never know when we might lose her. Why is it always the difficult ones that grab our hearts so tightly? But even the other cats are (tentatively) affectionate with her. Fatima even tries to gently play with her, despite the number of times she's been swatted in the face when the Weevil gets too excited; and the boys curl up next to her when she's asleep.
Happy Holidays, beloved little tyrant.
Illustration: Marjorie Skiba
Note this Happy Tail was submitted to me around Christmas time. I tried to contact the contributor again for bio information, but never got a response. Maybe my e-mail got eaten by spam filters? Anyway, this was such a great story after staring at it for months and months I decided to run it anyway. Hope you all like it!
I always need Happy Tails and people are always hungry to read them. If you have a feel good animal story, please send it my way!