When I brought Bowzer home, I brought him home in a shoe box. He was just a puff of smoke. Seven weeks old, big blue eyes, and a handful of grey fuzz. I had met him for the first time when he was just two weeks old and had the pleasure of watching him, and his siblings, grow to be a gang of fierce pom-poms. My neighbour down the street had a cat named Boots. She was the local vixen and mother to this very special litter. We would drink beers on my porch, checking out the downtown wildlife as to who could be her baby daddy. Bowzer ended up being my best friend and my babes. He came with me wherever my crazy life ended up. I was young and listless, but we always had each other. One fateful day changed that for both of us, we were to be separated for life. Maybe it was because I grew up and crazy wasn’t my thing anymore, or maybe it was just a long time coming. He was a complete psycho.
My closest friend Jen had finally met someone she liked and I invited them over to dinner so I could meet him. The catch was there wouldn’t be any alcohol involved for me as I was six months pregnant, so my nerves had to be like steel, his on the other hand turned out to be nerves made of wet spaghetti. He was nice, but loved his rye and gingers that night and got a little too loose. Before they even came into the house, I told him very strictly “don’t acknowledge Bowzer, or approach him. He’ll be around but he will go after you. He’s paranoid and anxious, and probably schizophrenic—so just leave him be.” Jen agreed whole heartedly with a wide-eyed nod. She visited Bowzer frequently, checking on him as a kitten while I was working late at the bar. Bowzer always left her with something to remember him by. Owen was maybe four cocktails in to our dinner and moved on to a glass of red wine (I bought a bottle to pretend I could still swing like the kids) and he went out for a cigarette. As he came back in, Bowzer, our guard cat, was waiting. Being a good boy like I had asked and keeping his distance he mainly observed the intruder, knowing I approved of him helped keep his protective instincts dormant. But Owen made a massive mistake. He thought that it was stupid to think a cat could be such a threat and started mocking him, waving his large arms over Bowzer’s head. I watched on saying “don’t do that, you’re gonna get what’s coming” and “you’ll deserve it.” I’ve seen Bowzer do many things in the last three years. Perch on the top of doors, swaying in balance like a bird in the wind, waiting to swipe at the heads of the passers-by. I’ve seen him corner grown men with ferocious hisses and dominant swipes from his talons. I tried to clip his nails, but when I did he would just sharpen them as quickly as possible on the nearest piece of furniture. Oh, but I adored him.
The stories I have from my short-life with this cat are endless, but I always loved him, no matter the damage. So, Bowzer’s ears start to go back and he crouches down, I perk up from the kitchen to see how bad this gets. Battle face at the ready, Bowzer jumps and screams with fury into Owen’s face, evidently going for the jugular. Owen leaps back and instantly throws his red wine all over the white carpet accompanied by drips of fresh blood. Chaos replaces the candle-lit evening instantly and Bowzer is pissed, yet another one of his psychotic breaks. Owen is in complete disbelief as Bowzer continues to go after him, again and again. Jen is laughing, saying “We tried to tell you, you idiot!”. “He’s just a fucking cat!” Owen exclaims, eyes wide with many emotions, trying to pick the right one in a room full of strangers. Owen was wrong on many levels, but he was mostly wrong about one thing; Bowzer wasn’t just a fucking cat—he was the fucking Devil.
I let Owen collect himself a bit and I eventually got between the two of them, ushering Bowzer upstairs to cool-off in the bedroom. I had been doing that since he was a wee-thing, he’s always had a violent temper. Even at eight weeks old I gave him a treat and he latched on to my index finger with all his strength growling like a dog. That little puff of smoke had so much fire inside. I got him into the bedroom gently and closed the door so he had his own space to shake-off the piss. I came back downstairs and the night proceeded as well as it could, banter about nonsense, like things I’ll never remember as I recall this. An hour or two went by and I was about to drive the two of them home, but I went up to check on Bowzer before heading out. I opened the door to our bedroom and out popped Bowzer, majestic and beautiful, happy as ever to see his Mum. Purring and rubbing up on my legs, we shared a moment as I cooed over him. For the record, no one will ever believe me when I speak of Bowzer as a darling, he was smart enough to never let anyone see his good side, I was the only exception, his confidante. I left the room and shut the door so that Owen and Jen could leave peacefully. Pretty pregnant, intensely sober, and very happy the night was coming to an end, we all hopped into my car, en route to Jen’s downtown apartment.
I didn’t even make it 5 minutes before getting a call from my partner, Gordon.
“Hey babe, where are you?”
“Hun, I literally just left, I’m at the lights on Strandherd, what’s up?”
“Well as soon as you left, I went to take a piss in our bathroom, and Bowzer attacked me from behind— WHILE I WAS PEEING!”
“Oh shit” I said “that’s, uh, not good.” (naturally awkward).
“Yeah no shit that’s not good, he’s going after Gummy now— I gotta go!”
I yelled into the receiver “I’ll be home as soon as I can!” He hung up.
Gummy Bare was our other cat that Gordon had bought a year before. Hairless and helpless against Bowzer, and now apparently so was Gordon, who had always managed him just fine. I felt panicked and worried this time. Owen was passed out in the back seat of my car and I couldn’t help but hate him. Would it have been better if I had a sign around Bowzer’s neck saying “trespassers will be shot”? Apparently our warnings weren’t enough. Bowzer is not just a fucking cat, I literally cannot stress that further.
Coming home I struggled to maintain the speed limits. This was a matter of urgency that only our family seemed to deal with. I knew it was going to be war when I got there but I also knew I could always defuse the situation and Bowzer would be fine once I got there. Jesus H. was I ever in for a ride.
As I put the key in to unlock the front door, I could hear the screams. Like an alley-cat fight in the middle of the night. I swung the door open and there was Bowzer, perfectly enraged, at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at Gordon and making inconceivable noise in-sync with his lunges. I’d never seen Bowzer like this. Gordon was terrified, clutching Gummy Bare to his chest, both of them in their own pajamas. I left my shoes on, they took way too long to take off with my baby bump in the way, and crept towards Bowzer hushing him and speaking softly to attempt to calm him. I felt like a lion tamer, but I wasn’t capable of being brave. I was utterly terrified as he lunged at me this time, for the very first time. That was what changed the whole game. That one single lunge, that one single hiss. I looked at Gordon and told him to run, run to the bedroom and as quickly as he could— I’d be right behind him. I kept speaking calmly to Bowzer as I took slow steps backwards up the stairs. He was screaming, spitting, slashing his claws at the air in front of me. His black eyes meant only one thing—he couldn’t see me anymore. Halfway up I turned and bolted as he raced after me, going in for the kill. I ripped into the bedroom and slammed the door. I heard him body slam the door as I started to sob, his growls slipped between the cracks. Through the tears, Gordon knew we both knew, but he still said “maybe he’ll have calmed down by morning.”
Twelve hours later, morning arrives and it’s quiet in the house. I go to the door and open it wide enough to get my eye through and as I look down, there he is. The devil himself, nose touching the door, pupils dilated, he never left—he just waited. I wish I could say I made this up. I wish I could say everything turned out okay. We tried to feed him breakfast, but apparently his Whiskas wasn’t alive enough, and he needed to kill something. In that moment, I understood him, he was an assassin and there were never enough kills, never enough to satisfy. So the thrill of the hunt started over. I cried the entire time, I blame the hormones. Tears pouring down my face, we geared up with oven mitts and towels to protect our flesh. We grabbed a big blanket to capture him to put him in his pink crate I bought for him after he tore through the first one, almost causing a car accident. I always thought he liked pink, apparently not today. After two-hours of turning our house, quite literally, upside down, we had him in kitty jail, ready for transport. He was off to a better place.
Two-months went by and I felt it was time we go and visit Bowzer at his new home. Crazy, I know, but I missed him deeply. Open-Sky Ranch sounds like a clever name for cat heaven, but it’s actually a sanctuary for unwanted animals. The day we dropped him off there, I think it was hour 15 of non-stop tears for me, they were very understanding as Gordon eagerly handed over $250.00 for surrendering him. When we came back I asked the owner of the grounds if Bowzer was getting on alright. It took him a minute to realize who I was talking about, but he perked up and said “Oh yeah! Psycho cat! Sure, yeah, he’s doing great, just loves his wet food let me tell yeah.” Randall, the owner was probably the most generous, caring person I’ve ever met and he had nicknamed my cat Psycho. Awesome.
Randall took us to all the places Bowzer liked to hang out. The burr bushes by the farm field, under the deck with his new one-eyed friend Sylvester, and the eaves of the barn, above the Emu pen. Fitting places for an evil genius. We couldn’t find him outside, so when he brought us into the barn above the Emu’s, there were two green eyes in the dark of the attic, staring down at us. That—there was Bowzer. The only demon I’ve ever loved.
Chloe Vincent is an avid reader, aspiring writer, and lover of culture. Being in her second year of Professional Writing at Algonquin College and a new mother there’s always another step to take to get further. Check out her children’s book “The Life of a Pie” at the Connections store and always check back here for more.