A cat by any other name

DE­SPITE al­most be­ing lost for­ever and suf­fer­ing the in­dig­nity of hav­ing a fe­male name, Kate Web­ber’s six- year- old pam­pered cat Zsa Zsa is now very com­fort­able with both him­self and his priv­i­leged spot in his South Ho­bart world.

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I called Kate Web­ber of South Ho­bart a week be­fore­hand to in­ter­view her about her six- yearold cat, Zsa Zsa. She said we would have to ren­dezvous at an­other time as puss had gone miss­ing, which – as she elab­o­rated – was a fairly com­mon oc­cur­rence lately.

How did Zsa Zsa land in your life?

In one word: Lit­er­ally. He was found with his brother me­ow­ing on the back step of my par­ent’s house when they were both kit­tens. My cousin David and I, who share a house to­gether, took Zsa Zsa ( named af­ter fl am­boy­ant ac­tress Zsa Zsa Ga­bor) and my par­ents adopted the other, which they named Mul­li­grub. Now, you may have just picked up I said “he” just be­fore and that’s be­cause we were dead- set cer­tain Zsa Zsa was a girl when we fi rst got him. Soon af­ter we got him I took him to the vets to be de- sexed be­cause there were a lot of toms around in our neigh­bour­hood. I clearly re­mem­ber be­ing at a bar en­joy­ing a glass of wine and call­ing the vet in the af­ter­noon to ask how my baby girl was af­ter the op­er­a­tion, only to be in­formed I was the proud owner of very re­cently de- sexed boy. I was quite an­noyed when I got to the clinic to pick him up as the vet had crossed out Zsa Zsa’s name and re­placed it with Zorba. De­spite this small hic­cup and po­ten­tial iden­tity cri­sis we man­aged to stick with his orig­i­nal name and take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for any gender is­sues he has to deal with.

You’ve re­cently moved house and Zsa Zsa hasn’t taken to the new digs too well, has he?

Not at all. We moved 500m up the road in Fe­bru­ary and he just didn’t cope. Be­fore that we’d lived in the same house for fi ve years and he was the per­fect house cat, bar one in­stance when he got trapped in an aban­doned house across the street and wasn’t found for a cou­ple of days. When we moved we kept him in­side for a cou­ple of weeks, which is rec­om­mended, but as soon as we let him out he went miss­ing the next day. I went down to the old house af­ter he didn’t come home for a cou­ple of days but he wasn’t there … and so then I went back af­ter he was miss­ing for four days, not re­ally ex­pect­ing him to be there. But lo and be­hold, he just popped out from un­der our old house … which was a re­lief. Since I didn’t ex­pect to fi nd him I hadn’t taken the cat cage, thank­fully the new ten­ants bun­dled him up in a box for me and even drove me and Zsa Zsa up the street home. Once he got back we kept him in­side for about four months but he got out twice and you only need one guess where we found him each time. All in all since we’ve moved, he’s gone back to the old house fi ve times … some­times we think our cat hates us!

What’s great about hav­ing Zsa Zsa?

You can do any­thing with him; he’s so gen­tle. I’m defi nitely not a “crazy cat lady” but we “may” have dressed him up from time to time. We just couldn’t live without him.

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