The other night I decided to go to a dinner party with some friends of my roommates. Before we leave Eva warns me for asthma-related purposes that in the apartment there will be a kitten. I happen to love cats despite being deathly allergic to them, so I am pretty excited.
We arrive at the flat. It’s in a building that I’d looked at during my simsar apartment-hunting days. The lobby of the building is in a run-down shopping mall, and all the elevators look like they’re from films in the eighties about New York that work hard to show what an ugly, graffiti-coated, dangerous place it is. Think of Ghost Busters. That’s especially apt because the elevators are scary enough that they might be under the influences of paranormal forces, but that’s pretty standard for Cairo.
The inside of the flat does not reflect the gruesome character of the elevator. The ones I was shown were not nice like the one into which we are ushered. Nile view, nice high ceilings, wood furniture everywhere, comfy couches (comfier than ours, anyway.) In we go and of course we’re early so everyone’s congregating in the kitchen trying to make themselves useful. Delicious smells emerge from the stove; people are chopping and stirring and peeling all over the place. No sign of the kitten.
A few minutes later some other people arrive and soon the party is in full swing. Some people are hanging out on the balcony, the rest of us are attacking the roasted garlic that an intrepid chef made (who now begins fluttering her eyelashes and going, “oh, it was nothing…it’s so easy!” This is actually true but when was the last time you bothered to do it?)
And then: the kitten appears.
He’s only about six weeks old, gold-and-black tiger striped in swirly sort of patterns. I could scoop him up in the bowl of both my hands. That is, if he wasn’t completely convinced that everything in the world is trying to attack him.
One of the other guests has flirty little bows on the ends of her sleeves. When she tries to pet the kitten he immediately attacks them with all his might. Because he’s so tiny he can’t really do much damage. This is fortunate because through the course of the evening he attacks absolutely every animate object in the room and several inanimate ones to boot. Notably, a couch cushion that’s just sitting on the floor minding its own business before tiny claws attempt to bring about its demise.
The kitten’s stregnth is in his size: he’s so tiny none of us expect he can jump up on the couch, then suddenly you look behind you and there he is, sitting on the back of the couch just over your left shoulder watching your hands move with unholy interest.
The kitten takes a particular dislike (or perhaps like, it’s hard to tell) to one of the guests who is sitting on a pile of cushions on the floor. At one point the kitten tries to attack this guy’s hand while similtaneously hiding under his knee as his retreat position. It’s obvious from a distance that the kitten has no clue that those two parts belong to the same whole.
In a few weeks’ time the kitten is going to cease to be adorable and become a holy terror, but for now his violent antics are more amusing than frightening. As a result he’s the center of attention for a good two hours until he gets taken away and put in a spare bedroom to calm down. Despite being the focus of the room, he still has a knack for disappearing in small corners and then popping up a few minutes later from an unexpected angle in order to carry out a fresh attack on whichever human (or cushion) looks most vulnerable at that particular moment.
Though any one of us could crush him with one hand, he attacks with a ferocity that some might say is wolverine-like. At one point, one of the guests is in fact holding the kitten in a single hand with just his tiny head poking out while the guest looks bemusedly at him, wondering why the little thing appears to be basically incapable of doing anything normally associated with a pet cat like sitting still and purring. Despite being basically immobile and about a hundredth the size of his adversary, the kitten is still trying with all his (tiny) might to get in a good position to bite his handler.
Clearly what we have here is the Kitten of Doom. At one point someone speculates on what might happen if the kitten should accidentally escape the apartment. “I can see the headlines now: trail of destruction engulfs Cairo, kitten found at scene!”
And y’know, the thing is that I might just believe it if it happened.