Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pişi misses her kuzu şiş, part II

. . . . check out those legs.  Sexy, eh?
That's me at a spry 1 1/2.  I'd just moved in with the current (and really only)
Big-Two-Legged-One.  Our first apartment together had this great balcony.
I'll tell you about that in a minute.

But yes, I still miss my kuzu şiş.  Kuzu şiş çök özledim!  It's been awhile since I've done anything Turkish, but yes, I speak Turkish.  What, that bothers you?  

Deal with it.

Yeah, that's right: deal with the fact I'm a Turkish street cat.  No, I'm not one of those fancy-assed Van Cats, or even moreso, ben Angora'kedisi değil!   What I just said was I'm not one of those Angora Cats, either.  Funny thing is, I'm living with a cat now who looks like she is an Angora, but the joke's on everyone: she's a street cat too!  She told me that on one of our long weekends alone together, when the Big-Two-Legged-One was in love.

(I'm going to let Fluffy tell her own story, a little later.  But for now, the stage is mine!)

Well, the BTLO is always in love, but at that point in time, she was actually in love with a person.  She's done that a couple times before, but this one I actually liked, until I started to think that maybe he was lying to her.

But back to my point, I'm a Turkish Street Cat, plain and simple.  Not many people take a cat like me back to the U.S.A. with them.  Most people just feed me at restaurants, admiring how cute I am.  The ones who pick me up and bring me home, generally throw me back into the streets, or do what the People-With-The-Beautiful-Kuzu-Şiş did, and in a way that was kind of the nastiest of all.  They didn't know it was nasty, because they were Americans in Ankara, but it was nasty.


What they did was they forced him to give his word.  "Promise," they said, "promise you won't put this cat back into the streets."  They didn't speak Turkish; they spoke through an interpreter.  The interpreter used this word: sözleşmek, which is closer to a vow then a promise.  Promises, yes, can be broken.  Vows cannot.  Poor Hasan was just old fashioned enough to feel that once he made an agreement sözleşmeli -- he had to keep it.

You see, in  Türkiye, people believe that if you make a promise verbally, you should keep it.  And, I should let you know, that's also a basic rule of being a cat. I now know that's true for any cat, in any language.  I've discovered with The Fluffy One that this is a universal understanding between all cats.

The problem is people.

Now, in America, people tell you stuff, but then they don't do it.  Or they tell you some stuff, and they don't tell you everything.  Or they are really careful about the words they use, so they're not saying anything that would get them in trouble.

Call me simple minded, but that's just not how it works.  A spoken word, when spoken with sincerity, is as good as a written word.  This writing-things-on-paper thing is for the birds; a promise that is written in the heart (and the soul!) is far more durable.

Anyway, Hasan found himself making a sözlü with these people, and he felt he had to keep it.  He wouldn't put me in the streets as long as he had the food the people gave him.  When it was gone, well, he didn't know what he would do, but he wouldn't put me in the streets.

And - bok! all I wanted to do was get back in the streets.

So it was Hasan's sözlü vs. my will, and yeah, I got kind of nasty.  I wanted out; he wanted to fulfill his stupid promise.  He won.  And I turned into a huge bitch!

But then, the food was also running out. . . . 


Look at that: that is one of the streets around Tunalı Hilmi, where I was born, and spent the first nine months of my life.  Then I lived about four months with the  People-With-The-Beautiful-Kuzu-Şiş, then about four months with Hasan.  And then, well let me tell you what happened then:

Little did I know that my life was being measured by the amount of food that was left in a big orange bag.  All I know for sure is that one day, sometime when the leaves were falling, this Big-Two-Legged-One appeared.  She was brought to Hasan by another American, a woman I'd met a couple times.  This Other American was married to some big businessman or something like that, and while he was going to meetings all over the Middle East, she was left to amuse herself in Ankara. And she decided to Save All The Street Cats of Ankara.

Let's just say: she had a really good heart.

Well, she would bring street cats to Hasan, and he would keep them for a few days, do something to them, and they would be screaming when it was over, and then she'd come and get them and put them back in the streets.  I really was willing to put myself through whatever torture those cats went through, if it meant going back on the streets.

Now let me tell you, on the streets of Ankara, I would have lived maybe two years, tops, and had about thirty or fifty kittens, before I got run over by a truck, or eaten by a dog, or tortured by some bored kid. Or just died, you know,  just froze, or starved or something normal like that.  That would have been my life.  But I would have loved every minute of it.  Except for maybe the end.

Think about it: today, I'm a little over twelve-years-old, and right now, I'm sleeping on a couch.

And I'm not even in Türkiye.  

That's what makes it hard.  But let me go on with my story:

So the Big-Two-Legged-One shows up at Hasan's.  The word on the street was that she just got to Türkiye and wanted a cat.  But I don't want a kitten; I want a cat who needs a home.   That's what she told some American colleague of hers who happened to be dating the South African Ambassador, and he knew the Woman-Who-Was-Trying-To-Save-All-The-Cats-Of-Ankara.  

So, if you're confused: the Woman-Who-Was-Trying-To-Save-All-The-Cats-Of-Ankara introduced me to the Big-Two-Legged-One.  Hasan dragged me out of the back of the cage I was in, and handed me to this scruffy, kind of confused, blond female human.  She didn't even speak Turkish!  She tried to hold me close, and I nearly took her arm off.

She handed me back to Hasan and said "OK, I'll take her," and all I could think was: "Bitch.  And you'll leave me in the streets when you're done with me, too."

But then she said something, and I didn't understand it.  And Hasan didn't seem to understand it either.  But she said she really wanted him to do something.  

She didn't demand a vow; well, actually I think she did, now that I know her.  She just said it in a real soft voice, which is how she says things. And her voice gets really soft and firm when she means it. So in that real soft voice of hers, she just asked him to do something.  And he did the best he could, despite the fact he didn't know how to do it, which is why I didn't actually move in with her for over two weeks after that.

Basically, he did the torture to me that he'd done with all the other cats.   The big difference between me and the other cats was: I felt ok when it was over.  And Hasan felt great, because he thought he'd finally done it right.  He kept calling me "my pişi-pişi," and actually acting like he liked me.

And I still just wanted to go back out into the streets.   

But instead, she came and got me.  I rode in one of those yellow taxıçılar.  Usually, the drivers of those yellow cars just yell at cats like me, and chase us out of the streets.  Generally they don't run us over, though.  But it happens sometimes.  The difference between the taxıçı - the taxi drivers - and all the other drivers, is that the taxıçı cry when they run over a cat.  Then they go on with their job, yelling at cats all the while. But this one drove me home and said "çök guzel pişi" while he drove me to my new home.  And I found myself in a new apartment, with a new couch.  And I had the cool balcony you can see at the top of this entry.  She would let me hang out out there, and it was fine.  I was home; I was comfortable; I was in  Türkiye.

And my name became  PişiBecause I am The Kat.  I am not "kitty kitty" (pişi-pişi), which is what street cats usually get called.   I'm just Pişi - The Kat, who made it to America with some chick who could write about me this way.

I'm telling you: I played my cards right.  I only had to live with her for three months to know that she was the one, the absolute human who would give her word and not go back on it.  I saw her do it, again and again.  And I knew she would not let me down.

And here I am, in America, over ten years later, with a woman who'll still cook kuzu şiş, and let me share it with her.  And then let me sleep in a big soft cozy bed with her at night. 

But there was a price to pay. . . .

You'd think this would be a happy ever after, but no.  Life isn't that easy!  You'll notice that in my story so far, I actually could hear things.  That's because I could hear when I was living in the streets.  My ears actually worked.  And then something really crappy happened.  That's all I can say for now.  It makes me upset just thinking about it.

But I'll tell you. . . . next time.

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