Monday, 8 June 2009

..cats and stuff..

..when my Fourth Former daughter asked for a kitten as a pet a year ago, I said no.. no, I will not have some furry beast marauding in my house leaving a trail of urine and fur..seeing my firm refusal, she did not pursue her request...though later, I was told that she was crestfallen...and hated me for it..'It's only a kitten, everyone has a cat or two at home...why must papa be so unreasonable?' she pleaded with her mother..until one day we happened to drop by her cousin and was told whilst sipping tea and enjoying her aunt's curry puffs that their pet cat had given birth to two kittens..

..'See, papa...they're so cute...' she gushed, and placed the cat family-in-a-box next to my feet.. I looked down and saw two balls of squirming fur and a pair of bright-yellow eyes looking up at me..the mother cat was trying to tell me something..backed by her younger brother and everyone else present, I gave in to my daughter's plea, little realising that I'd be opening the floodgates ..ok, one kitten only..but in the end I ended up with the whole cat family-in-a-box..'they're still suckling'..'it is only a temporary measure'..the mother will be returned..I was coaxed into acceptance.... by the time I realised what happened, it was too late..the two furry balls grew and scampered into everybody's heart including mine..

..a few months later, the tabby, rediculously named Ayam, got pregnant whilst the tom, Itek, got into various cat fights in the neighbourhood, fighting for supremacy and territory..disappearing in the morning after a hearty breakfast of rice mixed with boiled fish and cat food...slouching and limping home in the evenings, scratched, torned and wounded, to be attended and repaired by my daughter and her mother...many a times I sat from a distance, watching them washed away the grime..applying iodine on the cuts..and marveled at how Itek meekly surrendered his wounds to both of them...

..sometimes in August last year, I woke up for my morning prayers to the twitter of excitement in the was almost six in the morning..mother, daughter and son were crouched animately over the inevitable box...Ayam had delivered her first kitten and was in labour for the rest of her litter..7 in all..Itek left on his daily soujourn, without waiting for his breakfast, and never returned...the excitement of Ayam and her litter turned to anxiety over Itek's disappearance..of the 7, one died..and duly buried with all the aplomb and gravity that children gave when their pet died..

..after three days, the search for Itek began in earnest...the tom that sired seven kittens had disappeared without a about not being able to handle fatherhood...we scoured the neighbouring houses....going, 'Itek..Itek..Itek..' to the quizzical looks of the village folks on being told we were looking for our pet tom-cat..but nobody had seen him...cats are known to disappear for months when they're on mate-path, they say..he will return,  they children were gutted..I began to miss him,, we decided to extend the search farther across the road..Pak Hin, a wizened old man, known for his cows, confirmed that a cat that fitted Itek's description had had a fight with his tom early one the chase, both had fallen into his tobacco-watering well and drowned..he had the carcasses thrown into the daughter and her First Former brother were stupefied...their mother's only a cat, I said..but I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, too...

..and from then on, we always had cats and kittens in our home..they roamed free in the garden..sometimes even on the roof...they are fed, cared and innoculated, with free healthcare thrown in..with me as ambulance driver during emergencies..but only Ayam, now spayed,  is allowed in the house..but the four Persians had their own room with room  and valet service...the rest had to make-do with the back porch, or any nook and cranny...


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