When you think of house cats you think of pets who like to lounge around all day and purrrr. Not so in Tehran! In Tehran cats are not house cats and even if a kid brings a kitten home because it’s cute and all and raises it, after a while either the parent or the kid will release it back to the wild (Tehran 😉 most likely because it’s not neutered or spayed so their hormones will run wild and they can’t be kept in home all day without trouble.
Anyway, such is the fate of house cats in Tehran. They are not really cats rather wildcats! Due to dust and smog in Tehran the (white) coats of these cats have turned gray and dirty. Noone bathes them and in rain they instinctively hide behind something so as not to get wet! They are also afraid of people and specially children so they look at us as their predators! In spring their mating season begins and that’s where my story starts.
In nice cool spring evenings you see these cats growl to protect their territories and fight off other males to get the right to mate with female cats. You’re having a pleasant conversation about something nice and have the windows opened to let the fresh spring air come in, only to suddenly be interrupted by growls of cats preparing to fight! Gooooaaaaaaawwwwwoooo …… yaaaagghhhhhhhhhoooooo … ooooooooooooo …… aaaaaaaaa …. and then they go at it fighting …. WACK! WOOOOAAAAA! SCRATCH! WHAM!! like a Batman and Robin cartoon … WHOOOAA! WHACK! and then they stop for a while.
This went all for our entire stay and happens every spring. I’m like is this a city or a zoo?! By the way, the roaches of Tehran are also gigantic! When I see one I feel like I need a gun to get rid of it!
Then one night we were sleeping and we had the window to our hayat khalvat (an open area usually on the ground floor next to the kitchen with no ceiling and open to the sky) opened. It was around 3:30 am or so and these wildcats started growling again. I was tossing and turning and kind of used to these growls and trying to ignore them, though it’s hard! It went on for a few minutes then all of the sudden they went at it and the fighting growls got louder. In the midst of their fight they fell into our hayat khalvat and over the pots and pans and in their panic they tried to climb over them and dropped few more pots! Loud noises. The chaos and mayhem was getting louder as they were fighting and trying to get out at the same time but no place for them to climb. They were trapped!
Now in the midst of all of this we had plans to go to the beach and Caspians in the morning. So I reluctanly got out of bed with all the racking and trying to somehow help them get out of there. I went to my cousin who was sleeping on the floor in the living room and woke him up and said WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON OVER HERE??!! He got worried and responded; what? I told him about the cats stuck in hayat khalvat and he brushed it aside and said that’s ok go to sleep and he tried to go back to sleep himself. I said SLEEP?! They’re tearing down the house not to mention all the racking and pots and pans, how can I go back to SLEEP??!!
So I got him up and the two of us went behind the kitchen’s window door and looked them as they seem frightened in their trapped environment. Pots and pans on the floor everywhere. My cousin said let’s open the door and push them to come inside and out the front door and I’m like are you crazy their tear down everything inside the house.
I picked a broom and asked my cousin to open the door slightly and I’ll go outside and try to scare them to climb the wall and escape. They’re cats afterall and how bad can it be? As soon as I went outside, broom in hand, these two cats who were fighting each other suddenly went into a pouncing pose and started growling at me! I tried to push the broom near them and they started the scratching motion and growling. I thought to myself that’s all I need here to get bitten and rabies!
Finally I got enough courage and pushed the broom more towards them and they started to run around and I started to move and turn the broom over my head like Shir Ali in zoorkhoneh! Here we go, come on let’s go! I managed to get them scared enough that they finally jumped on the water heater by the side of the floor and jumped over few other things and finally the top like Jason Bourne trying to evade!
We then came back inside trying to go back to sleep and by now the entire household was waken up and were watching the show! I don’t know about the neighbors and what they heard or thought! It was a wild night with the wildlife in Tehran!
Photo caption: one of the offending cats in the morning!