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Exit The Boggart, Stage Left

This is Boggart. Wave goodbye to Boggart. BYE BOGGART.

Last Boggart post. I promise.

You don’t know my whole cat-history, but I am the Cat Sucker. I go right for the eyeless, the mucus-y, the heart conditony, the bitchy, the broken, the ugly, the pukers, the anal leakers and the Sad. I’ve nursed Russian Poet level sad cats back to —well, If not CHEER (what self respecting Russian Poet Cat would EVERY allow himself to be CHEERY), but to a general tolerance for life.

My cats have been the rejects, mostly, because before I had kids, I had a TON of cats pass through my house. We lived in Chicago, and I took in every stray I saw and vetted and re-homed them. So! I got the ones NO ONE would take as my own. Every cat I have ever loved has been fundamentally ruined in some way…

Boggart is different.

I mean, I can and have tell and told you about some of his standard, irritating behaviors, but it doesn’t and didn’t capture his…Boggartness.

I can say he is untouchable. Well, lot of cats are stand-offish anti-snugglers. But he is…UNTOUCHABLE. Except… sometimes, he will GLOM onto a stranger and lavish them with affection. The first time Toilet Man came to put in our low water Space Toilets, Boggart dive-bombed his feet, purred, stuck his glands all over the man’s pants; his face made desperate love to Toilet Man’s ankle.

Toilet Man liked him back, talked to him, kept saying, “What a nice fellow.” Love match, right? I was thinking I should GIVE Boggart to Toilet Man, as I had never seen Boggart act like he had a positive emotion before. I started thinking that maybe it was US, that Boggart just needed the right person to be catlike instead of CREEPY AS ALL HELL.

When Toilet Man returned to install, Boggart acted like the man had leprosy, and Toilet man never blipped on Boggart’s Love Radar again. This is a pattern. A few times, he has picked a completely random person and acted for three minutes as if he or she is the Second Coming of Sweet Hope, but then next time he sees the person (Or ten minutes later), he acts as if he/she is a dung-coated beggar troubling him for alms. Which is to say, treats them the way he consistently treats all humans.

I can tell you he hits children, but a lot of cats hit children. But Boggart hits them emotionlessly, with a slap-hand, not claws. He NEVER hits them angrily or protectively, but simply gives them an almost meditative non-urgent kind of a wang as they pass, as if it were on his to do list. 1) Eat Kibble. 2) Poop. 3) Slap some children.

Or perhaps to see what would happen? There is an almost scientific, detached curiosity, as if he has some child-slapping X to solve for and he needs a practical experiment because the math is not enough.

(The the times the hit has scratched them, his nails just needed a trim.)

He isn’t DANGEROUS or VICIOUS, is my point—- I don’t mind troubled or medically borked, but I won’t shelter an animal who is genuinely out to HURT my children. Period. I love my extra-hairy friends, but for me, people come first, and my children come before people. The end.

So. Back to The Boggart. He isn’t UNHAPPY and he is NOT MEAN. He is just…The Boggart
He is creepy.

He is not like any other cat ever.

I have been unable to express his BOGGARTNESS to you, and I tried again above and probably failed. As a writer, this frustrates me. Catching things in words is WHAT I FREAKIN’ DO! But how to describe his AURA of “I am a sentient being, observing this alien race called humanity. To see if they…taste good.”

He’s executioner-Vulcan in a yellow fur suit. He observes us with such disturbed and distant curiosity that we call him Dexter Morgan.

That flat, cold gaze—- you FEEL it on your skin, and then you whirl, feeling watched and creeped out. Not PET watched—like a mad scientist who wonders what you would look like with your skins peeled off is in the room. So you whirl, and there he is, perched up high like Snoopy being a vulture, flatly gazing at you.

It’s not..explainable. Maybe I can explain it via how others react? Because people who stay around him long enough in variably FEEL it. If you come for an afternoon, you might think, ah stand-offish little snotty cat! Many of his brethren are this way! But move in for a few days.

My friend Sara, who is the most animal sensitive person I know, felt it within hours. Sara has this THING, I don’t know what it is—animals LIKE her and speak to her. She knows what they want. She’s a mammal-whisperer. Animals respond to her, and she has an intuitive understanding of what they are thinking. A couple of hours with Boggart, and she said, “Something is deeply wrong with that cat. I have never seen a cat like that. He is fundamentally broken.”

My dad stayed here a few days and said, as he was leaving, “I think your yellow animal has a significant brain disorder.”

My friend Jill was just here for a week. Within two days, she said to me, “Wow, I have heard you talk about this cat, but…wow. Something is SO not right with him.”

This is Ferdinand. Wave hello to Ferdinand. HI FERDINAND! Have a nice pill!

I can’t explain it – but every animal-smart person who has ever been around him for a significant period has Grokked a Wrongness. An abnormalness not before encountered.

I explained all this as best I could to the vet, while Boggart PURRED and acted like a snuggy-bunny. He lavished warm affection on the vet while the vet put NEEDLE AFTER NEEDLE INTO HIM. Boggart acted like the vet was HIS FAVORITE! And could he have some MORE GIANT SUCKING NEEDLES IN NECK, THANKS!

The vet ruled out most deadly things—although he did NOT check for sentient alien brainworms, even though I ASKED. But he said that Boggart was FINE. No serious problems. Medically.

SO we got rid of Boggart.

I was just done. We gathered as a family and agreed and ceremonized, and Boggart is no more.


We will never mention his name here again, except as that AWFUL CAT WE ONCE HAD.

We have a NEW cat now. His name is Ferdinand. He is yellow and slim in the shoulders and big in the butt and pin headed. We named him after that SWEET SWEET bull from the children’s

Also? We put Ferdinand on Cat Prozac.

We’ll see.

25 comments to Exit The Boggart, Stage Left

  • I hope the new name and the new drugs create a new cat. I really do. I am a cat lover and it hurts me on the INSIDE that this animal is potentially sociopathic. That’s. Just. Not. Right. So good luck! I look forward to wonderful, warm stories of the adventures of Ferdinand the Yellow.

  • Oh. We LOVE Ferdinand at our house. I vote you get him some flower scented cat nip. May he sniff the flowers happily forever.

  • Oh, well I have a fig tree named Ferdinand (what? people name their plants! it’s a thing!) and he is the best fig tree I have ever had. So there’s hope.

    And now you’re making me wonder if maybe we shouldn’t have named our Satan-possessed standard poodle puppy Rascal. Hmm.

  • Hullo New Cat Ferdinand, lovely to meet you 😉 Hope the druggage and renaming help!

  • DebR

    Hello dear, sweet, loving & lovable, calm & gentle Ferdinand. (I am hopeful.)

  • Beth R

    Just keep him away from the cork tree and we’ll be fine! (Did anyone else grow up thinking that corks actually grew like apples on a cork tree?)

    I wish you much luck and patience as you see if Ferdinand will adjust to his new family!

  • linda j

    Hopefully this is the start of many wonderful Ferdinand posts. Who won the coin toss for being the cat drug nurse?

  • JulieB

    I’ve been away since my computer broke, so I’ve been catching up on the story of your former cat yesterday and today. Best wishes on your new cat.
    Just as a precaution, you might consider smudging some sage to get the last of your former cat’s spirit out of the house. Just sayin’. 🙂

  • I’m picturing a teenaged Sam getting down with the name Ferdinand and grinning. I’d like to have been a fly on the way for that conversation.

    Congratulations to all.

  • Aimee

    Ferdinand is a delightful name and I sincerely hope that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned-Henceforth will live up to its inherent delightfulness.

    All hail Ferdinand, cat of yellow goodliness and non-sociopathic tendencies!

  • Scottsdale Girl

    Awwwwwww I love the name Ferdinand!! YAY for a renaming ceremony and (hopefully) better (kitteh) living through chemistry!!!

  • Jessica

    “But how to describe his AURA of ‘I am a sentient being, observing this alien race called humanity. To see if they…taste good.’ ”

    Hmmmmm…”To Serve Man”??

    (Please tell me I’m not the only one to think of this Twilight Zone episode: To Serve Man.)

  • JoAnnabelle

    Our yellow animal’s name is Sunshine – the ultimate misnomer. She was adorable for the first 4 days that she lived with us while she had a respiratory infection and was to weak to care. In reverse Exorcist-style, after spewing green stuff from both ends for several days she revealed her true nature – hateful devil spawn that lures you in with a sweet face and then WHAM! “Touch me again and you’ll lose an eye or a finger – your choice.” I’m not trying to be a killjoy – but I’m praying hard that the drugs work.

  • Oh, dear. I’m sorry. I think I borked your page with my comment. Last time I’ll try the bolding thing here. 🙁

  • Berry


    The cat always comes back 🙂

    Good luck with the meds.

  • liz

    Did you know that there are animal psychics? People who claim to be able to communicate with animals and read them? I didn’t either, until a friend met one. Perhaps you could find one for Ferdinand who could regress him to his previous life as Boggart and figure out where he went wrong.

  • Lulu

    Ferdinand is a great name choice! One of my favorite places here is called Ferdinand’s:
    Yay for ice cream! (Although why they named a dairy products store after a bull and not a cow, I dunno. You’d think an ag school would know the difference!)
    Oh well, here’s hoping for bliss & ice cream for everybody!

  • Brigitte

    Gee, ours does the paw-batting thing too. And bites me all the time, but usually softly. Since he purrs like an engine the whole time, I like to tell myself it’s his way of expressing his love, instead of all the horrible alternatives. Hope “Ferdinand’s” love expresses itself in more healthy ways!

  • Mr. Husband

    Jan…. fixed the bold issue. You had reversed the “/” and the “b” in your end tag so the bold command was never closed.

    All fixed!

  • Thank you, Mr. Husband! My mamma trained me better, I swear.

  • But…shouldn’t it be FURdinand?
    If this naming thing holds true – well, I am quavering to think what my youngest son would be up to by now if we handn’t named him after an archangel. Good lord. I…have no words…

  • rams

    Kira — Wasn’t Lucifer an archangel? Just sayin’ …

  • gilly

    aaah…. Ferdinand looks so sweet and cuddly

  • Trace

    Give him plenty of prozac and plenty of catnip, and he should be fine. *FINGERS CROSSED*