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Sunday, May 2, 1999


Everybody knows when the heat's on Frankie

They say "kids" grow up fast but you should see my kitten -- 6 months going on "sweet 16." This was my first experience with a cat going through puberty. I warn you never to come within 100 meters of any cat going through puberty, or you just may become the cat's object of desire.

My cat Frank likes to sit in the window and look out at the world. But recently she has been using the window to let the world look in at her. Here she displays her beautiful self, batting her blue eyes and swishing her tail. Her boyfriends hang out below the window -- "Romeo and Juliet" style -- hoping to woo the blonde beauty and get the first pounce.

Could it be true? My cat is sexy! My cute little Frankie is now the lusty Francesca. I tried to convince her that these tomcats are much too old for her. And they're scary! They're burly brutes who live in the mountains. They fight every night. They have scars. They don't have tails. Underneath all that fur they're probably wearing tattoos. It's a good thing cats can't drive or these dudes would have come to our house on loud, exhaust-spewing motorcycles.

The house is constantly surrounded by feline prowlers and stalkers armed with strong odors that they leave on the doorstep. I can't let Frank outside. But she loves sitting in the window. Frank, very aware of her sexual appeal, uses it to lure onlookers. The first is a tail dance, where she sashays her tail back and forth, occasionally flicking the tip into a curlicue. She also knows how to arch her back in a way that makes the tomcats yowl for more. Sometimes she brings her toys and drops them on the windowsill. (I don't think the tomcats are interested in playing with her toys though.)

But the longer Frank sits in the window, the more of a sex object she becomes. Some of the poses she uses to entertain her menfolk are truly shocking. I'm beginning to suspect she has a part-time job doing this kind of work. Or perhaps she is part of an Internet kitty porn-ring. What if she has aspirations to become a porno queen? I can see the posters: "Coming soon to a theater near you, 'IN HEAT!' Starring the flirtatious feline Francesca!"

I bet she'd win an Oscar.

At the end of a long day of window entertainment, Frank comes to me with pleading eyes, begging me to let her outside. If you've ever tried to have a conversation with a cat, you know what it's like:

Frank: "Meow." Me: "I know you want to go out but you can't." Frank: "Meeeeoooooow!" Me: "None of those cats is good enough for you, Frank. Couldn't you have picked a nice, shy one?" Frank: "Meeeeeooooow! Yowl!" Me: "If you yowl at me one more time, I'm going to ground you for a week!" Frank: "Yowl, yowl!" Me: "You big ball of lint! You're grounded!" Frank: "Meow!" Me: "Double grounded!" Then she retreats to her window and mopes.

It wasn't long before Frank became rebellious. Frank had turned into Frankenstein. She bared her teeth, she used her claws and she attacked people and furniture -- all with an intense sexual zeal. Everything became her object of desire. No one was safe from this cat in puberty.

But I couldn't let her outside because she had no form of birth control. Abstinence didn't appear to be an option. Something had to be done. So I brought out the ambulance, a cardboard box decorated with red magic marker, and rushed her to the animal hospital. The vet performed the hysterectomy and kept her overnight.

The tomcats have gone. Frank's brief career as Japan's sexiest kitten is over. The traumatic teenage years have given way to mellow middle age. We're all safe again, at least for a short time. Soon she'll be due for a midlife crisis.

E-mail your comments and questions to: amychavez@mailexcite.com

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