The Pet Lady


My indoor N.Y.C. city kitty, Ruby, is getting soft and fat stuck in the apartment all day. I’d like her to experience the thrill of the hunt, the call of the wild. I’m thinking of buying a fish, putting it in my bathtub, and letting nature take its course. Do you think Ruby would (a) react to a fish in the bathtub, and (b) appreciate the effort?

Notorious C.A.T. Owner


The Pet Lady is reminded of her youthful stint living in Prague, where at the holidays, in accordance with strange Czech tradition, a live fish is taken into the home for a few weeks and kept in the bathtub (which raises the question of where one bathes during this period), then eaten on Christmas, if the Pet Lady recalls. The Pet Lady saw barrels of these fishes in the marketplace and longed to take one back to her flat, yet she knew she would never be able to eat a fish after it had been her oblivious but loyal companion for days and days; so when would she ever bathe again? Alternately, did she want a barrel as a central feature of the d飯r? No, she did not. In Prague they also whip women with switches on Easter, and the women, in turn, may pour water upon the men or some such silliness—a custom in which the Pet Lady also declined to participate, although she did (disastrously) partake in Witches’ Night, a vernal celebration involving absinthe, large bonfires in the woods, and ill-advised leaping over said bonfires for good luck in the next year (if one considers third-degree burns good luck, apparently; ah, youth).

In any event, the Pet Lady guesses that you, too, might turn softhearted with a fish friend in your tub, and then where will you bathe, ma ch鲩e? Have you room in your New York apartment for a barrel or other fish-containing device? These are the questions you might ponder prior to undertaking your Nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw experiment. You might also bear in mind that there is nothing wrong with a soft, fat cat; in fact, there is everything right about it. The Pet Lady will have the Pet Secretary send off a catnip mouse for Miss Ruby posthaste, and she suggests you similarly indulge her in a fashion befitting a city cat; perhaps a nice rhinestone collar, a bit of caviar, and a split of champagne (which you might drink on her behalf, as cats generally do not appreciate the bubbly). Best to you and yours,

The Pet Lady

Send your pet question and illustrative photo, drawing, or diagram to the Pet Lady. E-mail or send by land to The Pet Lady, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104.