…..or maybe not so much a man.
You’ll perhaps remember Pepe Zorillo, the cat I adopted from the Lake Chapala Animal Shelter a few months ago. When I got Pepe, the folks at the Animal Shelter told me Pepe was a female kitten whom they called Callie. Callie had had a rough start to life, brought to a local veterinarian almost dead.
Callie and her brother had been dumped on the street when they were a couple of weeks old and while Callie’s brother seemed to be doing well, Callie was so dehydrated that the vet had tried to get an IV into one of her front legs but was unsuccessful because her veins were collapsed.
For whatever reason (and this is highly unusual down here), the unnamed vet shaved Callie’s neck and got an IV started that way to rehydrate her. And it worked. Callie survived. She was small but feisty when she and her brother were placed at the Animal Shelter.
By the time my friend Jonnie and I saw her, she was about two and a half months old and was almost the size of her peers in the cage of the animal shelter. Her “given” name might have been Callie, but Jonnie and I both decided that she was definitely a Pepe. So named because she looked like a skunk then….and still does. Pepe for Pepe LePew, the cartoon skunk.
Didn’t matter if she was a girl kitten, she was definitely a Pepe. And a Zorilla because that’s the word around these parts of Mexico for a female skunk. And so, overnight, Callie became Pepe Zorilla.
You should be detecting a pattern here about what Pepe looks like. Here’s what she looked like when I brought her home at the end of February:
Here’s what she looked like about six weeks later, in mid-April:
By the beginning of June, at about six months of age, she didn’t look much different really. Growing, of course, but otherwise much the same. Except that she had developed some fascination with leaves which she constantly brought in from outside, as you can see from this photo:
And she still had those freaky, staring eyes. But something else was going on. While Pepe’s body was growing at a normal rate, her tail was out of control!
And then something even more odd happened.
Kathi, Jonnie, and Sher were over at my house one day playing games, as we often do. Kathi picked up Pepe Zorilla in her arms to inspect that HUGE tail and said “Oh, my lord, Barb, this isn’t a girl cat at all! Pepe has fuzzy little balls!”
Now, folks, you should know that Kathi is always yanking our chain with outrageous claims. She’ll get us at least half-convinced of some crazy story and then laugh that we’re falling for it. But we weren’t falling for this story! We had it on good authority from the folks at the Animal Shelter that Pepe was a girl, no matter what I had named her.
But, you know what? Kathi WASN’T kidding! Turns out Pepe really IS a boy!
But not for much longer. On Wednesday, 22 August, he goes to the appropriately named Dr. Pepe, local veterinarian, to get himself neutered. He’s become a terror in the house [I attribute that to gender identity issues…but I’m too liberal for my own good sometimes], sometimes just randomly attacking me. So, Pepe, say goodbye [hopefully] to that male aggression!!
And, that’s right, assume the position!!
Postscript to this story. Yesterday, on Wednesday, Pepe did indeed go to Dr. Pepe’s to get himself surgically altered. Now here’s the weird thing about Mexican vets, or at least the weird thing in my mind. You know how vets in the U.S. keep animals that have been spayed or neutered for several hours after the surgery? Well, not here.
I dropped Pepe Zorillo off at about 10AM and was told to come collect him by 11AM. So I got to see him in all his “dead, I’m sure he’s dead” and “crippled and staggering around the house” condition [which, honestly, arrived pretty shortly after the “dead, I’m sure he’s dead” state]. I think that vets in the U.S. just keep the animals longer for a couple of reasons: (1) it accommodates the work schedules of the owners; and (2) the owners would probably freak [like I did] at seeing their animals in their post-operative condition. Oh, and the vets probably get to charge more for these conveniences.
Dr. Pepe is a mid-priced vet here around these parts. To get Pepe de-nutted [“no mas cojones,” as I told the nurse when I made the appointment] cost me the equivalent of $30.00US. Much, much less than I paid a few years ago in Arizona to get Lukita “taken care of.”
As for Pepe, he thankfully did not kill me in my sleep last night in retribution for the indignity he has suffered. [Although I must admit that I got very little sleep because I feared an attack at any moment.] And this morning he gobbled down his antibiotic-laden food, and then started raising so much hell in the house that I had to throw him out by 7AM.
In other words, he’s back to normal!