In 2008, I had just moved to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. During my second week in the new country, my employer moved me from my temporary housing to my permanent one in the heart of bustling Bur Dubai. On my second day in my new neighbourhood, I took a short walk to the nearby bank to open an account. That’s when I walked by and saw a dirty, skinny tri-coloured cat sitting on the side of a dusty street on a warm December morning, watching a group of brown-skinned boys play a game of football. When it saw me, it turned her head and looked at me with its yellowish-green Cleopatra eyes. I bent down, “Hi kitty,” I said, petting its head. I promised myself that if the cat was still there when I finished at the bank, I was going to take it home.
At this time, I didn’t know a single person in town, except for this random girl who had called me up from the security desk the night before. “Hi, my name is Kat,” she had said, “I am wondering if I can come up and see your flat as I am hoping to move into your building with my cat.”
Within minutes, I opened my door to a smiley, red-headed girl with sparkling green-blue eyes. Kat was about my age, an American who had grown up on a compound in Saudi Arabia. Laughing, she gave me a hug. I was immediately drawn to her larger-than-life presence and contagious excitement. We walked around my furnished, two-bedroom apartment that I had just moved into the day before. By the end of the tour, we became fast friends. We exchanged numbers and promised a night out in the near future.
It turned out that I was only in the bank for a few minutes– I was missing a chop on my paperwork, so I couldn’t open a bank account. Defeated, I walked home, hoping that the kitty would be where I had left her. She was. Is it normal to pick up a cat off the street and take it home? Not knowing what to do, I called up my new friend. “Hey Kat, is it weird if I picked up a cat on the street and take it home?”
“No! You should totally do it!” She yelled into the phone, “I will take you guys to the vet!”
I picked her up the little cat. It put up a fight, digging its little claws into my arm. I didn’t care. I took her into my arms and walked into my apartment building. “New friend?” The security guard grinned.
I smiled and nodded my head as entered the elevator.
Kat came by and took me and the kitty to the vet. After a quick inspection, we learned that she’s a little girl-cat and judging by her teeth, about four months old. The doctor gave me some deworming medicine and basically gave her a clean bill of health.
After a few days of agonizing what to call my new cat, I finally settled on “Dewey.” She is a librarian’s cat, after all. Weeks later, I picked up a book about Dewey, the boy-cat who actually lived in a public library in the United States. Everybody assumed that I borrowed the name from the real-life library cat, but I didn’t–I came up with her name all on my own!
Dewey grew up to be a mean, feisty little fucker. She would bite me, scratch me, and was generally an asshole of a cat and not always the best pet. A good friend once told me, “You can take a cat off the street, but you can’t take the street off the cat.”
Despite it all, I love her to pieces. For the last 11 years, she’s been with me in Dubai, Vancouver, Bahrain, and now Hong Kong. Five years ago, we met the love of our lives, Derek.
Derek and I started dating in late 2014. Shortly after, we were engaged. We started to call each other ‘punk’ as a term of endearment. I call him ‘Honey Punk Badger” and he calls me ‘Punk Bunny Fufu.” We’ve become a family of punks.
One night, Derek slept over. In the middle of the night, he jumped out of bed screaming with a crazed cat latched onto his arm. Apparently, Dewey had a nightmare and attacked Derek, who was asleep next to her. When Dewey finally let go, the damaged was done–there were deep puncture wounds on his forearm plus deep gashes where she scratched the shit out him with her hind legs.
“She’s dead to me,” Derek howled while I handed a towel to clean up his bleeding arm.
Derek had never been a fan of cats and Dewey just put herself in the red with her vivacious and brutal attack. Regardless, the woman he was about to marry came with the cat and he tolerated her existence with disdain and disgruntle. While cuddling on the couch one night, we watched an adult cartoon, “Mr. Pickles.” The show is about a pickle-loving family dog who seems like a normal, friendly dog. It was only the grandfather of the show that knows the true nature of the dog–his thirst to kill and mutilate. While we watched an episode in which Mr. Pickles tore open a man’s stomach and dragged out his guts and bit off the legs of a prostitute, Derek shouted, “That’s Dewey!”
Since that day, Dewey was christened with a full name “Dewey Punk Pickles.” She also goes by Dew, Dewzy-Dew, Punk, Punkles, and Pickles.
Over the last five years, Derek had given her rules and boundaries. From a mean, feisty little fucker, she turned into a mellower version of herself. She gives plenty of warning before she attacks but these days she’s content hanging out on her perch next to the window, watching the world go by. She’s still not the cuddly of cats, but when she sits next to me as I watch T.V., I feel like the luckiest human in the world.
Happy 11th birthday, Dewey Punk Pickles!