Ranma, the stray cat who suffered identity crisis. -Keith Print

I always had a soft spot for cute and furry creatures, but never in my life I could have predicted that I’m going to be a total cat lover. Years ago, if you had told me a cat joke involving catnip, I would have thought you were completely mental with an abnormal sense of humor.  Back then If I were  given a million dollars of shopping money, I would have bought shoes, clothes and gadgets instead of the latest innovations in cat litter, trendy cat toys or an extremely cozy cat tree.

Everything changed one scorching hot summer. I was with my cousin, driving to home on an equally scorching hot road when we spotted a what suspiciously looked like lost rat in the middle of a road, dodging the approaching vehicles. It looked confused, swerving from left to right. I assumed it was because of the heat.  As our car get nearer and nearer the “rat”, I hit the brakes. It wasn’t a rat at all! It’s a black kitten, most likely separated from his mother. Without thinking, I told my cousin to pick it up and put it on the sidewalk where it will be safe from the vehicles. God knows I’ve already seen enough road kill. She was reluctant, but grumpily obliged anyway, since I told her I’m not driving unless the kitten is safe. I may not be a fan of cats back then but I certainly didn’t want to sleep at night thinking about that cat being squashed by an unsuspecting motorist either.

She successfully got the kitten on the sidewalk and return to the car. I still didn’t drive. I waited for the kitten’s next move, thinking if I have to bring him home if he attempts to do again what unmistakably looked like trying to be road killed. Sure enough, he slowly and confusingly walked back into the middle of the road. I told my cousin to again step out of the car and this time, pick the poor thing up and bring it inside.

She refused and almost on the brink of cursing me, ranting about infectious diseases the kitten might carry. Just like the last time she tried to persuade me to just “drive over” the kitten and hope I miss it, I stubbornly waited for her to pick the kitten up again.  A few cars already arrived behind us, at first bit amused rather than pissed of a car that won’t move because of a little kitty. My cousin won’t still pick the kitten up once more. A few minutes more of an argument with my cousin, Cars behind us were already honking, urging us to get the move on. It wasn’t  busy road but nevertheless we are quickly becoming an annoyance. That forced her to get back outside and picked the kitten up.

I drove happily satisfied, with my cousin whispering to herself, obviously cussing. She put the “disgusting creature” on the dashboard. The kitten curled up into a ball and quickly fell asleep.  Judging by how tiny the kiten was, it was probably no more than a month old.

Knowing absolutely zero about how to take care of a kitten, I began questioning my decision of bringing the kitten home. She was constantly meowing and trying to escape the makeshift box I made. She had to stay in the box because I don’t know how my dog will react to her. I was also afraid that she will wander around the house and slip into some hole where she can’t get out. She also likes to do that horrid smelling toxic pooping thing that I find revolting – I had no idea that there’s this “new” product called a cat litter.

Days passed by and I was ready to abandon the kitten. I just don’t know how to take care of her. I thought of giving her up to someone who could. Surprisingly, her blue eyes kept staring at me, as if begging not to give up. I thought about it more, convincing myself so hard that I don’t need another pet, yet another part of me is screaming as if telling me that I will definitely miss that annoyingly high pitched meowing and that constantly clawing little paws. I procrastinated on giving her up for so long that I learned to love her.  I finally decided to keep her and named her Pearl.

Pearl was growing so fast! The first few months under kitten food, her weight and size more than doubled. She was happy, constantly playing her ball I bought for her and loves playing hide and seek. She follows me everywhere I go and bump her little head off my feet. She would crawl under the bed and reach for my hands or feet. She loves playing with my dog, Yuki too!
As she was growing up, everything went normal, or so I thought! It was about her 8th month when we were playing tickle that my eyes landed accidentally on her genitals. I noticed something rather odd – a pair of what looked like, unmistakenly,  testicles! I was horrified. Did I just buy flowery, pinkish and overly girly things for this poor cat and named her Pearl when she was in fact a Male? As it turned out, she IS a HE!

I sat up, still rubbing his belly and immediately thought of a new name. The first name I thought was Phil, since I found him in “Philstres Ave.” but decided to drop it because I remember this brilliant (yet, a bit disturbing) Japanese animation series called Ranma. Ranma, is a male who turns into a female when soaked with cold water and turns back to a male when soaked with hot water.  Brilliant! It fits him so well. It took both of us a couple of weeks to get used to his new name (and his new gender) He was already responding to his old name, “Pearl” and teaching him to respond to a new one was a bit of a work.


Ranma is now 1 ½ year old, happy and extremely playful cat. I had him castrated which, personally, I thought was funny and ironic, knowing his life story.

To be continued...