Our lives have never been the same since the 5th of May when the daughter came home from an internship carrying in her hands a grey ball of fur!!!“ I found her wandering around near the lift. She put her paws on my feet. So I picked her up and brought her home” she announced with a grin. I was trying to imagine a teenager negotiate her cycle through the crowded lanes with a feline in the basket in front and a shudder passed through my system!!
After some thought on a name she was christened “Burberry” . But Ms. Burberry was not as fancy as her name. She slept inside my husband’s shoe for the first one weeThe assistants at the local vet’s found it very difficult to understand or pronounce her name. So she became “Purpery” – more suited to the Tamil tongue. And like all Indians, she was soon rechristened with a “pet name”- Kitty ( often shortened further to “Kittu”). Now she responds only to “Kitty”.
I am told that pets take on the personalities of the humans they live with. So you can imagine … She is an absolutely crazy feline- craziness hitting the roof between 9.00AM to 11.00 AM as she leaps across the living room. I have been living in terror about her smashing the crystal bowls in the living room. Now that she has finally done it the terror has left me !!She has of course had her moments of terror too while doing this long jump routine like when she accidentally switched on the remote and got scared as the TV came on in full volume!
And in the nights she is an absolute nuisance. We initially locked her up in the passage outside our bedroom. But the incessant scratching and mewing got to us after a while and she was let in. What does she do once she is let in? She comes inside and starts chewing on my bangle for about an hour before she tires of it and tries to chew something less hard. She has a fascination for a pendent that I wear around my neck on a chain. It reminds me of a similar fascination that my daughter had for it when she was a baby. Fortunately for me, my human baby used to be content with just examining it with her little fingers but the feline wants to bite it off !!!
We have now gotten used to having a ball of fur jump across us as we sleep. But it is certainly irritating to have her mew into your ears at 3.30 AM wanting to be fed or to be let out of the room so that she can go and pee! She has figured out that if she mews close to our ears the reaction is immediate! She has also realized that the reaction would be more immediate from my husband and daughter rather than from me. I think she gives them special favors for this. I woke up one night to find her perched behind my husband’s sleeping head on the pillow busily grooming his hair!!!
But nothing prepared us for a sudden change in her behavior in August. It initially started out when she was more loving and cuddly , especially with the husband making him feel very special. And then she started rolling on the ground making us wonder whether she had some ticks or fleas. But one day when she startled me with a different sounding mew I began to wonder what was the matter. The reason became more apparent when this timid house cat who rarely left our four walls suddenly started going crazy about wanting to go out. Nothing could hold her back. She was missing for two entire nights coming back only at dawn. After a few consultations with friends who owned cats and some research on the internet we realized that she was on heat!!
The question of spaying her now became a pressing concern. Someone recommended a feline specialist in another part of town. I was not sure we needed to go all the way there for it. But we finally did and that is another story.
It has probably been the most harrowing experience that I have had in recent times. I told the daughter to get a plastic basket with a lid to take the cat in. But my daughter, while buying it used some weird logic which was defined by the ability of such a basket fitting at the back of her bicycle carrier Finally the Rs 500 this teen took with her was spent buying what can only be described as a colorful looking laundry basket!
I had ordered a cab and since it was just half an hour left for the appointment we decided to take her in that. But after she executed a leap out of it near the gate we grabbed her and put her into my hand bag. Designed like a back pack it has a draw string which we left loosely tied so only her neck was sticking out of it. We placed this in the laundry basket and started our journey for the “Feline clinic” all the while pretending in the cab for the benefit of the driver that we did not have anything non human with us!! ( I was not sure if the cab company might charge us extra for carrying a pet with us)
Once we reached there we were glad that we had chosen this place. I must say that in a country where doctors treat humans and human babies with complete insensitivity, here was a clinic that actually treated her gently. We were met by a girl in jeans and a T shirt who introduced herself as Dr. SK who had just passed out last month. She took down the “case history” and did an initial exam all the while requesting us to “keep stroking” Kitty. And then came the main vet, a young man (who might be described by some female humans of a certain age as “cute”) dressed in an eccentric outfit – a T shirt printed with cats and tucked into trousers which were probably part of his scrubs.
I think Kitty was also not immune to his charms. She climbed over him and settled over his shoulders while he continued talking to us as though it was absolutely normal!! “ Is she an Egyptian Mau’ asked the daughter trying to impress the guy with her internet research on feline breeds. “No, she is a domestic short hair” he said deflating her bubble.
And if you think we might have paid a bomb for a fancy feline clinic then you are mistaken. We paid more for the cab ride than the consultation. After a lecture on how we should not bring felines in open bags the vet had his assistant carry her in a cat carrier into the cab. On the drive home we kept up the pretense of the cat being invisible acting totally unconcerned when a biker at a traffic signal looked into the cab only to be startled when what looked like a stuffed toy to him suddenly stuck its face on the glass window and peered back at him. !!
“Were you this nervous when you carried me out as a baby” asked the daughter as we reached home.
“No. The advantage with human babies is that they are so dependent. One does not have to worry about having them leap out and getting lost” I told her.
But yes, having a pet definitely brings back the babyhood of our children. As kids grow older and stop entertaining us with their innocent antics we have to turn to pets and enjoy parenting all over again!