Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“Is Your Cat Always Fractious?”

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“Fractious” isn’t a word you often hear. Clearly the veterinary tech had just read the word off the record, perhaps there is some warning in there about the Qatari Cat.

The Qatari Cat was born on the streets of Qatar, and had a bumpy start with another owner. While the man and his daughter liked him just fine, the wife and her mother did not. When the Qatari cat came to live with us, he was very wary of me. It took a couple years for him to fully trust me. He watched my feet all the time. He quailed in fear, ears back, if I used a loud voice. He was terrified of the sound of plastic bags.

Slowly, slowly, we built a relationship. Today, ten years later, he is a sweet cat.

He is a sweet cat every single day of the year, but he still has his street instincts. AdventureMan has learned that you can’t play rough with the Qatari Cat; you play rough, you lose. I never speak loudly to him; it just won’t work, it just gets his back up. Because he knows I am the boss, I speak sternly, but softly to him and he will do just what I ask him to do.

Our first visit to the vet went badly. You can read about it here. He was fine until the buzzing razor hit his bottom and then all his survival instincts kicked in. He’s been back twice, and he has been as good as gold, but somehow . . . that notation has stuck.

“No!” I replied, maybe a little bit too loudly.”No! He is a sweet kitty! He is snuggly and loving and quiet and good! But if he is scared, he wants to defend himself.” I told the tech about the Italian vet the Qatari Cat fell in love with in Kuwait, she snuggled him and told him how beautiful he was and how much she loved him and he was putty in her hands. I was almost jealous. I thought maybe she distilled some catnip and mixed it with her perfume or something, Qatari Cat’s eyes glazed a little in sheer adoration when he was around her, and he even drooled a little. She could take his temperature, give him a shot and check his innards and he never complained, just looked at her adoringly.

The tech shot a skeptical look at me and exited the room. I could hear her repeat this to the vet, and muffled laughter before she entered the room again.

So the vet came in and snuggled Qatari Cat, and told him he was pretty, and while she did not say it with an Italian accent, Qatari Cat was clearly intrigued – and on his best behavior. It doesn’t take much . . . he’s a male. Snuggle him a little, rub his fur the right way, chat him up . . . it doesn’t have to be rational, it’s all in the tone of voice and the flirtation. He totally digs it, he eats it up. A little grope here, a quick look at the teeth, a quick injection and he’s finished, not a fractious moment in the entire visit.

On the way home, we laughed thinking of our sensitivity at having our cat called “fractious.” We remember the indignant response of friends whose cat was annotated as “vicious” by a German vet. The cat was diabetic and objected to the roughness with which the vet wanted to take his blood. I think if you are a veterinarian, you might have an understanding that a sick animal, or a scared animal, might act unpredictably or defensively, there are big thick gloves you can wear if an animal seems wired up.

Does this look like a fractious cat to you?

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September 23, 2013 - Posted by | Civility, Communication, Community, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Relationships

4 Comments »

  1. I’ve been wondering how sweet QC has been getting along. He looks as beautiful as ever.

    Comment by momcatwa | September 23, 2013 | Reply

  2. Thanks for asking, Momcat. πŸ™‚ He is fine. We were worried, with his street background, that he would have health factors working against him, but keeping him indoors has been a good strategy. No torn ears, no illnesses from eating bad stuff we don’t know about, no worries about him running across a road . . . so far, everything is going well. He is also good with the three year old, so we are happy about that πŸ™‚

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 24, 2013 | Reply

  3. That is so adorable! I had a beautiful Qatari cat but he ran away when he “became a man…” 😦 as a kitten he was cuddly and affectionate…perhaps ill write about him one day πŸ™‚

    Comment by alengliziyah | September 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Part of keeping a cat alive longer is neutering them πŸ™‚ Otherwise, those instincts are always over-riding their good sense . . .

      Welcome, alengliziyah. I look forward to reading more of your stories and observations.

      Comment by intlxpatr | September 24, 2013 | Reply


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