Losing Part of My Right Ear

photo taken by Ali Noel Vyain

It seemed to take forever to become an adult. But it was worth it. I was quite the cat before I had met my girl. I could come and go as I pleased. In an out of a house. I didn’t have a litter box. Whenever I needed to relieve myself, I went outside and buried it all. It was better than having a litter box. I didn’t have to worry if someone was going to clean up after me. I had already taken care of that part.

Life was good as far as I was concerned. My brother Spitter was still alive and we would get into a few fights here and there. It’s what brothers and cats do. We never hurt each other. We just had arguments and disagreements. But we always made up afterwards. It wasn’t a bad house. The backyard with the woodpile was even better unless another cat came along who shouldn’t have been there.

Then, well, there’d be a fight for the territory. Spitter and I were here before the strange cats were. So, we defended our turf. Sometimes the fights got bad. This was the way it was where I’m from. Sometimes I ran into dogs when I was out and about. I don’t like dogs. Some are just plain mean. And the ones who aren’t mean, well, I still don’t want to have anything to do with them. My girl thinks I’m a bit prejudice against dogs, but she never blamed me for it. I think she understood why I feel the way I do about dogs.
I never thought anything of the fighting when it was happening. It was the way life was for me. Why question it? As long as the status quo wasn’t getting challenged, I had no reason to think about anything changing. Well, people still came and went out of the house, that didn’t change. The blind guy was the only constant human.

I’m sure if you look at my pictures, you’ll see it’s obvious that I’ve been in a few bad fights. Not with my brother, but other cats. We fought over territory. One fight was so bad, I lost part of my right ear. Look closely and you’ll see it’s notched. It was whole when I was a kitten.

But I didn’t stay a kitten for long. I grew up fast and became quite the cat. I didn’t approach strange humans. Who knew if they all could be trusted. Some were plain mean and had no qualms about torturing cats. Best to avoid all unknown humans altogether and just stick with the few who can be trusted. It’s been my way and it works for me.

So, there’s the story of my ear. I never grew it back. I never told my girl how it happened. But I remember what happened to my ear…

Of course it was a territorial dispute. These things happen where I’m from and when cats are allowed to go outside. If you’re an indoor cat, you don’t need to worry about it as much. Unless the human who’s taking care of you decides to bring home another cat or even more. Then you have to establish order pretty quickly. I was lucky with my girl. She was smart enough to stay out of it. She let us figure it out on our own when she had brought home another cat.

Not that we would have given her much of a choice about the matter. She would have to live with us and the order we established. She is a smart one. Even when she had caught me arguing with another cat she didn’t know, she knew to stay out of it. It’s just one of the many reasons why I love her so much.

So, it was a territorial dispute. We argued and couldn’t reach any kind of agreement. Things escalated. I wasn’t about to back down. This was my home. It was the only home I had ever known. This newcomer had to understand that. But he didn’t care. He wanted to be the alpha cat.

So we duked it out. We screamed. We wrestled. Tousled and raved. We threw punches. We used our claws. We used our teeth. Still the fight went on. Perhaps I don’t remember all the details clearly now. I am an old cat, what did you expect from me? A perfect and clear memory of every little event in my life? That cat did bite my ear. I didn’t realize how bad it was until long after he had gone.

I don’t even know now who won that fight. But I can tell you it was that fight that cost me a piece of my right ear. It’s obvious in the pictures my girl took of me. It just took that one time. It wasn’t the only fight I had been in. But it certainly was the most memorable one.

She never mentioned the loss of part of my right ear to me. She just loved me and took care of me. For that, I can’t complain. She was a good learner. I had to tell her everything. She had never taken care of a cat before me. It was much more than filling up my water and food bowls. If she wasn’t so willing to learn, I think I would have died from embarrassment.

But she was great. She has improved over time. She was good for me in more ways than I have been willing to admit. She was such a whirlwind that assured me I never had to fight like that after we lived together.

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