THERE are better ways of starting the New Year than getting a skin rash after giving your cat—who happens to be afflicted with ringworm—a much-needed medicated bath.
However, skin rashes and a host of other conditions, medical and otherwise, are simply the lot of humans who, for better or worse, choose to live their lives with felines.
Although cats may occasionally share what they have with their human companions (i. e. fungal skin infections), they are nevertheless one of the most well-behaved, low-maintenance animals ever to tolerate the existence of human beings.
Besides being capable of living on their own without any external assistance for a maximum of say, four days, indoor cats—if properly trained—can also take care of their own business with any available litterbox. (Just make sure that you leave enough food and water for the duration and that the litterbox is clean.)
But then again, I’m biased.
After all, my wife and I continue to share a two-room, two-bathroom Quezon City apartment with an indifferent, overfed, seven-year old, gray and white British shorthair cat.
As our sole domestic companion, Minggoy continues to enjoy privileges never before accorded to any of our friends, relatives, and house guests.
Since his needs, interests, and welfare are secondary to no one’s, not only is Minggoy allowed to lie down on my desk at any time—even if I am in the middle of a deadline—he is also permitted to visit any of our bathrooms, occupied or otherwise.
Despite these exclusive rights, Minggoy has been spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve all alone for the past five years.
Ever since we brought him home to Manila (in a previous life, he prowled the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Minggoy hasn’t exactly been welcome to stay at my in-law’s place, where we usually spend the holidays.
Self-serving as this may sound, his forced solitude during the season is for the benefit of both himself and his faithful companions.
If we insisted on bringing him with us during the holidays, my mother-in-law would have flown off the handle, especially since she has undergone serious allergic reactions to any and all forms of animal hair.
For his part, Minggoy would certainly have gone positively mental from the continuous physical harassment that can only come from our nephews and nieces, one of whom nearly suffocated him by pulling him by the neck and squeezing really hard.
Fed up with human expressions of fondness, Minggoy promptly hid under the bed, never leaving until he was absolutely sure that it was time to go home.
From that day onward, as soon as he was brought back to the apartment, he rarely ventured outside, preferring to curl up inside a square basin, take up generous space on the couch, or declare the bed his eminent domain.
Which to this day, makes us wonder where he got ringworm. Probably from me. But that’s another story.
Written just days before Minggoy disappeared early this year, this blog entry was not posted until now, since my wife and I still suffer from pangs of guilt whenever we recount the episode of his temporary loss. Ever the spoiled cat, Minggoy came back two nights later and he was welcomed with love and affection, even though he had dirty paws.