When Punk’n came to the front door almost eight years ago, he was howling. He was a kitten going on a teenager, and he was suffocating, starving and dehydrated. It seemed he had either run away from or been ditched by his former owners, who had strapped a black leather spiked collar – tightly – around his kitten neck. It must have been a month before he showed up at my place, or even longer, because the collar was now choking him.
I ran inside for scissors, ran back to the front steps where he was writhing, and in one quick move ran the scissors under the collar. The leather circle popped off, a band of skin rubbed hairless underneath.
He breathed, stumbled to his feet and immediately rubbed on my pants leg, purring. And he never left.
Punk’n’s influence on my life is possibly why I became so interested in a book published just before the new year: Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We ‘Catch’ Mental Illness, by Harriet A Washington. This was the paragraph that caught my attention:
“Torrey also noticed reports that schizophrenia rates rose in the United States the same year cat ownership became popular, a fact that has led researchers to look into Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that cats transmit to humans. It’s not harmful to everyone – though it appears to make those who harbor it more sexually aggressive.”
You mean that wild, totally unwarranted attraction to the roller-derby barmaid that I briefly endured in 2009 was Punk’n’s fault? OMG, yes!