The Hairless Cat: San Francisco, California, May 1970


I hopped off the bus, thanking the driver. My high-top converse slapped the sidewalk and I sighed, tightening my grip on the duffle bag slung on my shoulder. I could see my aunt waiting for me in the coffee shop across the street. She was slowly sipping her tea, intently staring at today’s paper. Her glasses were pushed far on top of her head, holding back her long auburn hair. When she saw me through the big glass window, her blue eyes lit up and she ran out to hug me, abandoning her half drunken tea.

“Hey, Kiddo! What’s up? Long time no see. How are you? Oh my how you’ve grown. How’s your dad? I can’t wait for you see my place . . . ”

Her chatter clamored on and I could hardly get a word in. She squeezed me from the side as we walked down the wide sidewalk; her babbling filled the holes that the silence left.

We reached her townhome after walking a few blocks, and she fiddled in her pockets for her keys. We walked into her house and I said, “I love what you’ve done with the place!”

She laughed and replied with a, “Oh, its nothing much. I’m just glad you are here to share it with me for the summer!”

She showed me my room and left me to get settled. When I finished, I walked downstairs to join her, and that is when I saw Caterina. Her pale skin crawled over her frail body and her eyes seemed to stick out of her head. Caterina is my aunt’s cat that she has had ever since I was a little girl. She is a hairless cat, and I jump a little every time I see her.

“Auntie, your hairless cat looks like it wants to murder me.”

I could hear her airy laugh float all the way to me from the kitchen. “First of all, she is a Sphinx, not a hairless cat, and don’t worry, dear, she is completely harmless. Pet her, her skin is very soft.”

I shuddered at the thought of petting such a creature. We both had a mutual, peaceful hate for each other, and that was all.