I grew up among cats, above them, really. We were held hostage in our fourth floor apartment by them, when I think back on it, by those rabid, disease infested felines, but we didn't think so at the time. The sleepy Moldovan metropolis of Kishinev (Chisinau they now call it, in their de-Russified language), one point five million strong when I left it, was a cacophony of growling, hissing and meowing, and even yawaYAWAYAWing!
Every shady alley, every garbage dump, every garden had its share of the beasts, lurking, scheming, salivating at their good fortune of being born in a kitty version of the Garden of Eden. I never saw a single starving cat in Kishinev, ever, not once - I think they ate better than we did, a truly glorious and poignant victory for world socialism, inexplicably omitted from the proud, unfurled red banners of May Day, or Victory Day, or the many other Days. They should have put a cat on one of those banners, next to the golden likeness of Lenin, and Stalin, superimposed on bright red cloth, the finest, silky cloth like you couldn't find in stores, over blood red, the golden likeness of a cat, whiskers and all, boldly looking to our bright, socialist future - a brother in paradise.