Story so far
For years, our family had owned dogs. Dogs protect the family’s izzat; they conduct themselves with wafadaari and imaandaari. They are easy to understand. And Cats? Nothing prepared us for the arrival of a cat. Cats are not attached to anything— they are the original free-spirits that roam the animal world. You cannot own them, but they may deign to adopt you if they consider you worthy. So it was, with Greycat. (I have mentioned her before in CAT-astrophe ! )
Greycat gave birth to 2 lovely black-&- white kittens, Bushy and Benty, and manipulated Anu into believing that we had adopted them. We now know that indeed Greycat adopted us, not vice-versa! Bushy, the explorer, died when he ate some poisoned food in the streets; without him, the timid Benty was lost, literally. She roamed aimlessly and one day failed to return for dinner (Please see CAT-astrophe #2 ). Greycat simply walked away — it was Anu’s problem, not hers! Anu was angry and upset with Greycat; but to be fair, Greycat never professed long-term commitment as her relationship philosophy.
The Prodigal cat
That was one year ago. Suddenly, Greycat returned. She rolled her eyes wistfully, and Anu was all sympathy. She fed Greycat till there was no milk left at home. Then, we found out why she needed so much milk: she was nursing.
During her exile, Greycat found a new boyfriend (another fellow from the grey market called Tom-Gray); one thing led to another, and she deposited a litter of 3 kittens in Mainland China. Mainland China is our neighbouring house, where some Chinese bachelors live. Its lush green bushes offered shade and security to the new-borns. Oh, nothing compared to the love and food that Anu would offer, of course — but that was reserved for the day of the great leap forward.
The Great Leap Forward
As soon the kittens learnt to leap, Greycat would routinely make them scale the Great Wall of China for lunch and dinner. Here they are, 3 bundles of joy in shades of grey:
(1) Spunky is the explorer of the family. Doing a Finite Element Analysis of a broomstick, ascertaining the risks of sleeping atop a well are all part of his daily experiments.
(2) White-paw (derived from his colour-scheme, obviously) is contemplative, cunning and curious.
(3) Bashful is a shy fella… (or felli?). He is timid, shy and retiring; it took us a lot of time to win his trust.
Initially, the kittens used to live in Chinese territory, and come only for food-breaks. Greycat would wait on the Great Wall of China and hop over with the litter as soon as they heard Anu bringing the milk. (Proverbial “cat-on-the-wall?”).
But, Anu’s affection can be overpowering: after a few days, they decided to settle down in Indian territory for good. This was the land of milk-on-demand ! And if you played the sympathy card right, the inmates would give you biscuits, sambar and unnamed goodies.
Sport & Pastime
After food, there was plenty to do. Like, shaking the hell out of Anu’s favourite Jasmine creeper. Anu’s Rules prohibited other inmates from touching the bush, but that did not apply to feline fellows. From the Jasmine creeper, it was also possible for them to have serious conversations with subordinate human beings .
Night-life was even greater fun. They could prowl around till they met Rohan, and get cheese from him. All you had to do was, chase a few shadows and pretend you could be trained !
So, our family “owns” cats once again! We didn’t understand them then, we don’t understand them now. They are with us still. For now!
- Izzat = Honour (Hindi)
- Wafaadari = Loyalty (Hindi)
- Imaandaari = Righteous Conduct (Hindi)
- Mainland China = Not to be confused with the famous chain of Indian Chinese restaurants which don’t serve cats at all.
- Great Wall of China = This masonry on the perimeter of my house is a heritage that is more endangered than a similarly named structure in China.
- Great Leap Forward = It appears that Chairman Mao of China tried something of this nature many decades ago. It is not clear if cats participated then.
- Caution: The photos here are private and are the handiwork of the author and his wife. They shall not be reproduced in other sites