That Jake is a man of mystery. At first, he was no-one’s, except maybe this guy back in Eastie, who described the cat as having a “proud set of balls”. Technically, this was incorrect – That Jake only had one descended testis – but the one that promoted itself was proud indeed. Until last fall, when we cut it off. Ah, life.
So first he was no-one’s: a street cat. Presumably he’d been owned at some point, since he knew how to use a litterbox, but when we took him in he was looking pretty feral. Then he was ours, by which I mean mine and Katsu’s, by which I mean Katsu’s. I didn’t want him, remember, and washed my hands of him once the pissing started. When we went to the vet, it was Katsu’s last name on the intake sheet.
Once Katsu and I started the dance of martial distancing, I was left alone with That Jake for the better part of five months. We grew close during that time, believe it or not, and I started to think that maybe he had a soft spot for me after all. I’d sleep on the pull-out couch, and Jake would be right there next to me. I mean, it probably helped that our heat was broken and it was December, but whatever. I thought it was sweet.
When I moved home, of course, That Jake could not come with, so he became Katsumi’s cat again until last October, when B! and I moved into our palace in Revere. I felt bad taking Jake away from Katsu – the two were thick as thieves – but his parents had had enough of the pissing.
Cut to last month. We take Jake to the vet for a theoretical UTI, the vet says he’s jaundiced, and the next day B! is signing him in at the pet hospital. At work and panicked, I email my husband to let him know the state of things. It seemed like a life-or-death situation, and, for all the strife and separation and water under the bridge, we’d been a little family for a time. Katsumi, of course, came down straightaway.
So there we all were in the waiting room, my boyfriend, my husband, and my cat (in a very sorry state, emerging, as he was, from anesthesia), and the nurse comes in and is like, “Jake? Jake [insert B!’s last name here]?”
Whoever’s he was, Jake had always had Katsu’s last name. Even when I thought of Jake in my head, it was always Jake [Katsu’s last name]. It felt, for a moment, like we were really divorced, and I’d gone ahead and re-named our child.
The moment passed, and we turned our attention to more important matters (bilirubin levels, kidney function, proper procedure for administering subcutaneous injections), but it kind of echoed in my head for awhile. So whose cat IS this, anyway?