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Amelia My Brother's Cat

by Deborah Eker
(Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

When my brother Robert was an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo, he had a friend in Kitchener, Sammy, who owned a cat. This cat had kittens. Robert, being an animal lover, asked for and received a kitten. Robert named his kitten, Amelia.

When he got Amelia, Sammy had already housebroken her. He made a little bed for her in his desk drawer. He noticed that she was able to use her front paws as hands, opening cupboards and drawers. The residence at the University of Waterloo contained a shower that had a leaky faucet, out of which Amelia drank water.

When Robert came home for the summer he brought Amelia home. Our parents and I were less than overjoyed and asked Robert to give Amelia away. He refused. He said, “If that cat goes I go, too.”

Talked into accepting that we had a cat, our parents and I took responsibility for her. Our first task was to have her vaccinated against rabies and spayed so that she would not have kittens herself.

Since Robert was working all day, Mother and I made an appointment with a veterinarian at the Ontario Humane Society. We put Amelia into a cardboard box and tied the top of the box together with a rope. We put the box containing Amelia into the car. As we drove away, Amelia used her front paws to climb out of the box. The next thing we knew, she was crawling all over the moving car. Mother, fortunately, is a good driver and did not get distracted.

When we got to the Ontario Humane Society, we carried Amelia in, minus the box. Amelia struggled until she saw two big dogs in the waiting room. That was when she settled down.

Mother went up to the reception desk and said, “I’m Mrs. Pekilis.” The receptionist looked down her list, and checked off the name “Amelia Pekilis.” When I burst out laughing, Mother nudged me with her elbow and whispered, “Debbie, they’ll hear you.”

The receptionist gave us a client card to fill out. One side said, “Client” and the other side said “Owner”. I filled out the name “Amelia Pekilis”, along with our address. On the back I filled in our family information. Doubled over with laughter, I handed the card back to the receptionist.

When the veterinarian, Dr. Moloo, called us in he announced, “I am looking for Amelia.” I answered, “We regret that our cat does not respond to her name”, even though Mother looked embarrassed at my laughter. Dr. Moloo gave Amelia her vaccinations and we made an appointment with the veterinarian to have her spayed.

By now, Robert had made up a bed in his bedroom, had taken an old bowl for her feeding dish and bought a small baking dish to use as Amelia’s litter box. Mother bought cat food and cat litter. Robert took an additional bowl for her milk.

We discovered that, in addition to using her front paws as hands, Amelia had other human characteristics. She meowed when she saw our front hall coat hanger had fallen. She also opened a window screen with her front paws. Accustomed to sleeping in Robert’s drawer, she opened up the cupboard door beneath our kitchen sink and slept in it. Accustomed to drinking out of a leaky faucet at Waterloo, Amelia drank water out of the bathroom sink and bathtub, whenever we turned on the faucets.

Our next step was to have her spayed. This was successfully done by Dr. Moloo at the humane society. When we brought her home from being spayed we noticed that there was mucous coming out of her nose and that she was shaking her head violently. Because Mother went to Montreal and Father and Robert were at work all day, it fell to me to take Amelia back to see Dr. Moloo.

Dr. Moloo diagnosed Amelia with a cold and gave me a bottle of antibiotics along with a syringe. She was supposed to get three doses of the antibiotic per day until it was used up.

When I told Robert, he assured me that we would not need the syringe because he would just put the antibiotic in her milk, which he did that evening for her first dose. It turned out the next morning that we would have to use the syringe because Amelia had stayed away from her milk dish.

Since Robert had to go to work, and Mother was in Montreal and Father was at work, I had to start fresh and give Amelia her first dose with the syringe. When Amelia saw me with the syringe, she took off in the opposite direction. I had to chase her around the house and down into the basement. I finally caught Amelia between my legs, held her head up with my hands, opened her mouth, and inserted and discharged the syringe between her teeth. For my pains, she clawed my hands until they bled.

Unsure of how to measure a cat’s recovery progress, I telephoned the Ontario Humane Society and asked to speak to Dr. Moloo. I was told, “He is with a patient.” After laughing at the receptionist, I left a message for the veterinarian to call me.

Robert and Mother took responsibility for giving her the rest of her medicine. She did not fight Lawrence, who was her owner, and Mother wrapped her in a blanket.

Amelia recovered and became the family cat. She gave us lots of joy and traveled back and forth from Toronto to Waterloo for the rest of his undergraduate years.

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