Avi Massamini: A life devoted to cats
Avi spends Fridays at Zoo Miami to work with the panthers, tigers, jaguars and lions. It’s how the cat veterinarian got the nickname “Pussy Boy.”
Avi and his 15-pound tomcat live out in the woods off a dirt road in West Broward. Bruce has grey stripes, yellow eyes and a loud purr. The boys live in an A-frame house on the edge of the Everglades.
The cat clinic is in the front and their living space is in the rear, a convenient trade off for giant mosquitoes and an occasional backyard python or two. It’s a decent enough place, comfortable in a man cave kind of way with a giant television and deep floppy sofas.
When I visit Avi I take my two cats with me. They climb the circular staircase up to the A-frame. He is very impressed with their shiny coats and strong teeth.
Avi taught me about “tortitude,” a genetic mutation in tortoise patterned cats. When female cats have coats with the black and red mixture they are very dramatic with loud meowing, hissing, dilated pupils and ears that pull back. As a rule they have sensitive stomachs and are very lean This color pattern is only found in female cats.
I have learned important things from Avi, how to stuff a grape leaf, how to clip cat claws.