Zhenny – the crazy cat


I had such a sad day yesterday. Our beautiful Zhenny’s heart stopped during a routine dental procedure and she is now buried in the garden with Mrs. Stripe who died earlier in the year. She was geriatric and had some cognitive difficulties but it was an unexpected death.  Teddy and I are distraught despite knowing that she didn’t have much longer. She was so funny, loving and crazy, RIP our special girl. This is my original post about her.

I know – she is utterly beautiful. Her eyes are exquisite and she looks like a cat on a pyramid. That’s the problem… I first encountered her at the cat shelter where my husband and I volunteered in Cairo, Egypt. Her owner was moving from an American military base in Cairo to another in Korea and couldn’t take her fur baby. I can only imagine how her owner felt but Zhenny was distraught. She wouldn’t eat anything, despite our endless treats and pleading. The veterinarian put an IV drip in but she thought she was being tortured. We already had Mrs. Stripe and her daughter, Toffee, our garden cats, so we certainly didn’t want another one. We thought that Stripe would attack her anyway as she is so territorial. Then one day it was obvious that Zhenny was dying and I just put her in a crate, took her home so that she could die somewhere nice.

She was so skinny that we bought her a little cat nest with a hood so that she could feel safe and comfortable in her final days. To my surprise, when I introduced Stripe and Toffee to her, I could see them saying, ‘Poor little soul’ and thus she was accepted. The fight for her life went on for about a week with me forcing baby food into her mouth. In desperation I bought some minced beef and cooked it for her. For the first time, she seemed to have an appetite and started eating properly. By that time we were all bonded or used to each other’s scents and it was too late… That was 12 years ago and she was 18 months old. She is still alive but I have saved her life on another occasion when the veterinarian hospital could not look after her. We believe she may have sent someone to ER…

Stripe and Toffee are likely half Mau but completely feral. Zhenny looks like a tabby oriental but may as well be from Planet Zed. Even the vet said that she is just loco. I have looked after many cats but this one is an enigma. Only I can lift her, and only in special circumstances. Her Dad may only kiss her but not stroke her. He is also the only one who is allowed to play with her in a precise OCD way. Mum is just for cuddles and care-giving. The other two cats were utterly silent for years, as feral cats can be, but Zhenny is astonishingly vocal. I will be on the phone with my aunt in Ireland, Zhenny will be three rooms away and she can hear her screaming. After all these years we can tell the difference between her distress and laughter. The vet suggested that we give her Xanax – I looked at him and said, “How precisely should I do that, with a blow-dart, perhaps?”

She can be hysterically funny or drive us to tears. If she is upset she creeps along the floor, sobbing. Have you ever heard a cat sob? All treats have to be thrown like live prey and yet she is not a hunter. We discovered much later that she had kittens before we took her in but still hadn’t been neutered. Shortly after I saved her life in Cairo, she went into heat. Our villa was three houses from the baker’s shop at the end of the street and I could hear her howling inside our house. No wonder our neighbors had some issues with us… One time she was halfway up the stairs, with her head peeping through the balustrade and started ‘in heat howling’. Even she looked astonished at the guttural sound that came out of her mouth and we burst out laughing.

She should not have lived this long but Mummy is just so good at saving her life. Sigh. Our vet looks at me in horror when I say very firmly DO NOT RESUSCITATE! She is so difficult to handle that we know that she would not be able to cope with a chronic illness or disability so it would be a kindness. She has the early stages of kidney dysfunction but I suspect she has at least another year in her. Oh we will miss these beautiful green blue eyes and her funny vocalizations.

Zhenny at 2 years old in Cairo

Zhenny at 2 years old in Cairo

Read more about her in Letters from Cairo by Kerry Duncan

26 thoughts on “Zhenny – the crazy cat

  1. If only she could talk and explain her behaviour to you. It must have been terribly traumatic for her as a baby to find herself in a shelter.

    If she could, she would surely be saying “Thank you for rescuing me and for saving at least two of my lives, and thank you also for accepting my cranky little ways.”

    I hope Zhenny still has plenty of life left in her, and when that is no longer so, she will also thank you for letting her go with dignity and love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know – all of the volunteers and staff were trying their best but she was unlikely to be re-homed. I did later contact her first Mama via email but didn’t tell her about the angst just that she was coming with us to America. She was ecstatic that someone took her. I think they didn’t know how to train cats and that her first Dad might have been unintentionally rough with her. Everyone falls in love with her and she can be unexpectedly sweet. One time, I looked in horror when she walked across the kitchen counter towards the plumber fixing the faucet. She reached up and kissed him on the lips. Wow!


  2. Poor little thing … and she does look tiny. Or maybe that’s just because my cat Theo is a very big boy.
    I love stories of animals being saved and thriving afterward … especially cats. I hope she lives to give you a lot of more of her … unique … love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Joanne. She is rather petite. We struggled for years to keep weight on her but suddenly she looks like a fat stoat (ferret). I pick her up with one hand under her tummy to reach her food and it’s getting harder…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “How precisely should I do that, with a blow-dart, perhaps?”
    Having grown up with 13 cats between my mother and older sister next door, I understand that statement completely! There’s always one in the crowd with a big attitude!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: TWO Liebster Awards! | Life of an El Paso Woman

  5. She is gorgeous. I had a tabby called Kimba who was beautiful, in looks and nature, who was named in honour of another tabby cat called Kimba which I had as a child. I love cats but can’t have one as hubby is allergic. I have a dog instead, and I do love him, but it’s just not the same. I am definitely a cat lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. | Postcards from Kerry

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