Into the Weird

A Prayer for Wild Pussy Cats and Island Girls

By Sophie Saint Thomas

The author gender-bending with her kitty Rosa.

Gender-bending fashion is hot. I embraced this attraction as a young girl who dressed as Peter Pan and Robin Hood instead of as Wendy or Maid Marian. Once, I refused to remove my Peter Pan costume when I was hanging out with my kitty Rosa. You may remember Rosa from my last column as the wild cat that fled our feeble human shelter and survived Hurricane Marilyn like a true jungle mammal. I picked Rosa out when I was three from the St. Thomas Humane Society. She was just a kitten but she hunted, prowled, and never stayed indoors. She was one bad bitch, a true wild island child. 

That’s why the island bush surrounding our house was Rosa’s home. On my left forearm is tattooed the Tennessee Williams quote A prayer for the wild of heart that are kept in cages. For Rosa, indoors was a cage. Despite repeated attempts to move her into our new house after the hurricane, she would always manage to slip out of our open Caribbean home, which was designed to allow for a breeze to enter and combat the equator heat. After too many “rescue” attempts to count, one time she ran away to the bush; we were never able to find her again. I was sad, but it was the life she wanted. 

Today I own an orange tabby named Mama Cat, a New Yorker teen mom. It’s very rare for orange tabbies to be female, and she too is a wild one—albeit a wild one grateful for her captivity in my Lower East Side studio apartment. (I think she was tired of eating rats and having sex with male cats and their barbed penises out in the street.) I love that damn cat, although she did send me to the hospital once.

The author in the hospital because of pussy poison.

Last Christmas, I returned early to the city for work, while my friends and loved ones were still out of town. I had gotten a cat sitter; my absence for the holiday was the first time Mama Cat had been alone since I got her—that pissed her off. Alone in my apartment, I was testing out my new sketch book my mother bought me for Christmas by drawing Mama Cat, when that fucking feline jumped up and bit me, injecting cat venom into my arm. I yelled at her, washed it off, put some Neosporin and a Band-Aid on it, and went to sleep. The next day my arm was so red and swollen it hurt to type. By bedtime, I couldn’t even hold up a toothbrush. I immediately had a Category 5 panic attack and went to the emergency room. I thought I was just being a crazy hypochondriac and they would give me a few antibiotics to pop and send me home. I was wrong.

I spent the next 36 hours in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV of antibiotics and received multiple shots for whatever possible pussy poison Mama Cat had punctured my skin with. I whined to the nurse that I had Klonopin in my purse and asked her to hand me one.

The nurse asked, “Why do you want a Klonopin? Are you feeling anxious?” Judgmental bitch, a few tattoos and everyone has a substance abuse problem, huh? Oh damnit, I guess I am in recovery. My apologies. Anyways, I said, “I’M ALL ALONE IN THE HOSPITAL, BECAUSE MY CAT BIT ME, AND NO ONE IS EVEN IN TOWN TO FEED HER. YES, I AM ANXIOUS!” I started crying and then they believed I was indeed a crazy cat lady and gave me my Klonopin. 

Portrait of Mama Cat as a New Yorker teen mom.

Mama Cat has not sent me or anyone else to the hospital since, and if she ever tries to pounce, I spray her with a water gun or yell threats to make kitty nuggets out of her. Some of you may agree with my dad’s belief that “maybe it’s time for a new cat.” But I love that wild fucker, and I am keeping her.

Some might say I should keep her in a cage, but I know what it’s like to be a wild child. I originally got the Tennessee Williams tattoo as a prayer for myself. As I become healthier and stronger, I see the tattoo as a prayer for others—from those living in refugee camps to those unable to safely express their sexuality. And of course, to all the pretty pussycats of the world curled up in a cage waiting for some nice human to come along and adopt them. 

@TheBowieCat

Previously -- Hurricanes and Projectile Vomiting Painkillers 

Comments