I took my kittens Ella and Khushi to get spayed Friday, but I’m pretty sure the vet misunderstood and instead performed a brain-switching operation with some local djinns. I learned about djinns on my recent walking tour of the Kotla Firoz Shah ruins, where people leave offerings and prayers for the resident djinns – spiritual creatures that can be benevolent or evil.
Clearly, the vet brain-switched some evil djinns with my cats.
Tony and I picked up the girls at the vet after school and were surprised to see their bellies mummy-wrapped. If we know anything about cats, it’s that they HATE that. We used to torture our old cat Ketta (may she rest in relative peace) by putting a loose hair scrunchie around her tummy and laughing hysterically as she wobbled around like a pissed-off drunk, taking a few steps and then tipping over. Clearly, the belly band messes with cats’ center of gravity.
Fortunately, Ella and Khushi were catatonic from the anesthesia, so when we got home, we left them in their roomy carrier while we popped some popcorn, poured a little wine and curled up on the bed to watch “Arrested Development” on Netflix. Around 8 p.m., Tony said, “Let’s open the cage door so they can come out when they’re ready.”
If only we’d known what hell we were unleashing.
I took the door off the cage, and Khushi’s limp head rolled out. I gently pulled her out of the cage and scratched behind her ears for a moment. Suddenly, the cage began crashing and jumping around the room. That is, Ella – either channeling Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” or suddenly overcome by her new evil djinn brain – began leaping and howling INSIDE the cage. Soon, she escaped and, with no control over the back half of her body, Cirque du Soleil’ed through the air, up on to the bed, and into the bookshelf, screaming like a ninja the entire time.
Meanwhile, Khushi had been resting peacefully outside the cage but was frightened out of her stupor and did a 3-foot vertical leap, landing on her newly stitched incision.
Tony tried to grab Ella, but her maniacal biting and scratching deterred him. I threw myself on top of the hysterical kitten and scooped her up. My gentle baby immediately sank her fangs into my arm and embedded her back claws in the soft pocket of skin between my thumb and finger. Somehow I held on long enough to toss her back in the carrier. I draped my bloody body over the crate and spoke soothingly to Ella until she relaxed and burrowed into the bunched-up towel inside.
When I phoned the vet to report this incident, she told me to bring Ella in right away. I did, and she gave Ella a sedative, saying it would last all night. (It did not last all night.)
We sequestered the cats in two separate bathrooms, equipped with litter, food, water and a comfy towel. Then we tried to lay down for a little sleep. Tony, already punch drunk and exhausted from a full day of parent-teacher conferences, was not coping well with this drama. He struggled with seeing the kittens in pain and hearing their cries. I’m trying to say this diplomatically, but the fact is: I was on my own.
Around 11 p.m., Ella began howling again. So much for the sedative.
I had been frantically texting my friend Nancy all evening. She went through this process with two cats here in Delhi. Finally, she texted back, “Are you OK?” No, I wasn’t OK! Nancy said her cat Annie (the mother of our kittens) also went berserk over the bandage. “She ripped it off before we got her home,” Nancy said, “but she never tried to pull out her stitches.”
With that in mind, I cut the bandage off Ella, second-guessing this decision the entire time. Ella calmed down right away, so I went to bed, certain that I would open the bathroom door in the morning to find her in a pool of blood.
Poor Khushi. I basically neglected her all night as I dealt with Ella’s djinn.
After dozing fitfully for a couple hours, I got up to treat my throbbing puncture wounds and check on the girls. Tony was already awake, trying to distract himself with YouTube videos on his iPad. I peeked in on Khushi, who was curled on a towel on the bathroom floor. She hadn’t touched her food, and she gave a sad little mew as I stroked her head. Ella, on the other hand, was rarin’ to go. She meowed happily, rubbed up against my legs and circled her empty bowl when I opened her bathroom door.
Although the monsoon season supposedly ended last week, heavy rain lashed our windows all day Saturday. We had to take the kittens for a follow-up vet visit, but we stalled, waiting for a break in the weather. It never happened. After borrowing a second carrier from Nancy in the late afternoon, we finally dashed through the downpour to put the cats in the car and drive the short distance to the clinic. Driving in Delhi is crazy under the best of circumstances, but driving in Delhi at dusk during monsoon rains is masochistic. Other drivers, attempting to avoid pooled water, swerved into my lane full-speed, with their brights on. Literally driving blind, I stayed in second gear for much of the trip, praying I wouldn’t hit a holy cow or stall out in the deep water. As if we needed more stress.
We begged the vet to remove Khushi’s bandage, hoping it would snap her out of her funk the way it did for Ella. He complied and gave both girls an antibiotic.
Back on the road, I was just starting to moan about the oncoming bright lights when Tony pointed out there were people in the road. An accident? No, it was a long procession, hundreds of ladies in colorful rain-soaked saris carrying jars of flowers on their heads. Why? Who knows? But it reminded us that we were in India, and for a moment, we felt grateful for that beautiful cultural distraction.
Tony took this shot out the car window.
I speculated that part of Khushi’s problem was missing her sister, so I had planned to reunite the girls when we got home. Ella totally supported that idea, seemingly free of her evil djinn. She approached Khushi, who surprisingly fluffed up and hissed. Seems her djinn needed a bit more recuperation time.
Another night of sequestration in their respective bathrooms. Fortunately, the humans got some sleep this time.
It’s now Sunday morning, and Khushi is still sulking. Well, I hope she’s just sulking and not suffering too much. I hope her djinn is wallowing in self-pity rather than pain.
Weirdly, Ella has been the stand-offish cat up to now. Always just out of reach when you want to pet her, watching us with disdain. Khushi always greets us at the door like a dog, eager for love, purring uncontrollably, begging for cuddles. Now, Ella follows me around the house with her purr machine on full blast. She can’t get enough petting. Khushi remains huddled on her towel, unfazed by my presence.
Maybe there were no djinns. Maybe the vet simply switched the cats’ brains. Regardless, I’ll be relieved when they both feel good enough to climb the curtains once again.
Would YOU kick out this poor post-op kitty from YOUR one-of-a-kind hand-made bowl that YOU bought directly from the artist in Jingdezhen, China?
Clearly, we are pussy-whipped (by the pussy CATS, geez). We let Ella sleep in the bowl even when she’s NOT fresh out of surgery.