Our Cat Is ‘Probably’ Gone But The Guilt I have To Live On…

“Internet to me is all about Cats and Porn.” — Anonymous
World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee took to Reddit recently for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) to celebrate a quarter century of the world wide web (www). In responding to the question, “What was one of the things you never thought the internet would be used for, but has actually become one of the main reasons people use the internet?” he replied, “Kittens”. So there it goes. You believe it or not. Cats are everywhere. There also is an island in Japan popularly called ‘cat island’ where cat population is huge compared to their human counterparts. Cats outnumber humans six to one on the island.

There was one little kitten at my home too. But no more. The other day I saw her at late night folding herself beside a Deepavali Diya (oil lamps lit during the festival of Diwali/Deepavali) in a typical cat fashion. Here’s what happened.

I tell you this story for I hold a guilt somewhere in a corner of my heart. I believe I’m somehow responsible for her disappearance. And I don’t want to forget this.

I work away from home and often visit here whenever possible. So when I came last time during Dussehra (another one of the many Hindu festivals) I was told about a mice playing around and not leaving house. Hiding in corners and only coming out at night. In short, pure nuisance. We didn’t had any such nuisance before thanks to our dear old cat (I used to call it Tiger!). But then things happened and once when I came home over a year ago, I was told it came under a truck and lost its life. That was the time when I had brought things for everyone including the cat — by things I mean sweets for others and good cat food packets for her. But I had to pour those packets to stray cats outside. It was sad moment but one that I learn to cope with after few days — largely because there was nothing I could do about. She was gone. I wanted to see her. Hear her ‘meow’ but life doesn’t give you all. That’s probably why you have to cherish the moments you have with your loved ones because you never know which one is last. That’s probably why I let my grudges fly away too soon than they deserved. I don’t want to remember the last thing I did to any person was to hate him or her. I don’t wish to be that person. Okay. Coming back, she was gone and after many months her foes were back to haunt the house. And they roamed at night. You can hear mice running from one corner to other the moment you switch off lights. Absence of cat had brought ‘nightmares’ into home. Now, at home not everyone liked cats. That was the reason why no other cat was brought after ‘tiger’. Other options like putting poison for rats or baits were thought but discarded due to (high) possibility of their dying indoors. So when I had came home for Dussehra, I slowly let the thought of bringing a new cat home into everyone’s head. They cared for my idea as much as cats give a damn about humans. It passed. In the meantime I moved back to my work location and cut myself from happenings at home.

Weeks passed. And again for Deepavali, I landed home and to my utter surprise found a little white kitten with beautiful black spots moving around. It was pleasure to find a new kitten at home. Unlike the old ‘tiger’ this kitten was pampered by most people. There was no shooing it out and all that stuff. It was welcome change. The kitten was puffy with small hairy tail and beautiful small eyes. I had fallen in love already. To top it all, the kitten was welcoming human touch. It instantly that afternoon climbed on to me and sat on my lap. I was happy and may be she was too. I wanted to click ‘that’ moment but because my phone was inside my pocket, one which she had her tail on, I let the thought pass. Unlike the old cat which kept to herself and disturbed none, this kitten was nuisance brat. Very very mischievous. It climbed on to people from their legs, pulled sari of my mum, slept inside cupboard, on bed, on old TV set; almost anywhere it felt like to or from where it felt it could annoy people the most. To find new ways every new day to annoy people in brand new ways was its motto and somehow it used to do just that everyday. My mum and others were annoyed but the annoyance was much like how people get annoyed of a new born baby — we get annoyed of their tantrums only to love them even more. So all were in love of this little kitten. My mum (not me this time) had started to call it ‘tiger’. May be to remember the old cat or just to name her what I used to call the old one — I don’t know exactly why but she did. In any case, the little one responded only when she wanted to and not when we wanted her to look at our side. The bi*ch she was.

I remember once working on my laptop. Too busy to notice anything around or get disturbed. I was sat on a chair with laptop on my laps. And then this little kitten started climbing on my legs slowly up my pants. Twice it tried to climb. I tried not to notice and push it away. It was craving for attention and I was ignoring her. Then it jumped on to the bed which was beside the chair. Sat there for a while. I was thinking it would stay there or fall asleep and leave me at peace. But this was cat! And cats don’t do things that please their humans. Their only job is to annoy others and fall asleep when they are tired of their ‘job’. And they fall asleep all the times when you want to play. Damn these cats! So in a very cat-like-fashion, the new little ‘tiger’ jumped straight on to my laptop. One quick jump. How do you work now? I told myself many times not to ignore this little bi*ch but blame it on my poor brain which thought otherwise. I tried to shoo it away but except doing few rounds of meow-meow it tried not a bit to move. I placed my laptop on bed and clicked below picture.

You don’t ignore your cat; you just don’t…   

 The other day on a lazy evening while I was watching some television and my mum was working inside, the kitty in her always mischievous ways tried to pull her sari and grab some undue attention. She tried to push her away couple of times but when the ‘tiger’ didn’t stop, she took her and dropped outside. Outside was where there was a hen with her day old chicken babies. The birdie got scared and with her wings open rushed with surprising speed at this little cat to peck her. The little one stormed inside straight towards the cupboard while the birdie lost her after few steps in. A mess of sorts. I did got a round of scoldings for keeping front door open. But in hindsight I don’t regret. If I hadn’t kept the door open, probably the birdie would have pecked the hell out of poor little kitten!

Here’s the fierce mother of eight little one’s

A day before Deepavali when I arrived late at night I saw her sitting beside a diya. A very cute picture to behold. I was on a call. But stood there watching her while the caller at other end was busy telling their tale. It was around midnight. I had plans to sleep at an aunt’s place so there was no point of mine knocking on our door. Probably everyone at my home were asleep and probably my mum forgot to take her in. The kitten usually coiled herself near cupboard and never went out most of the times. Maybe that’s why my mum didn’t check on her. But I could have. I could have knocked on the door. Let mum open the door and take poor kitten in. I thought she was safe. Safe on verandah. I forgot about the dogs on streets who were all asleep when I was in call. Why did I not thought of them, why did the fact that dogs and cats are known enemies strike my mind, why? I know this line of thought hold no meaning now. Nothing probably would bring her back. My mum told me she heard dogs scream in the early morning and probably cat too. But there was no cat when she went out. There was no blood on street either. Nor anywhere around. I have searched every possible corner where a cat could hide herself. I remember our old cat climbing on roof from a tree alongside whenever dogs approached her close. But this kitten was small, her jumps too small to reach the branch of tree that lead to roof.

My only regret today as I sit at home without hearing her meow is not to have knocked on door the other night. If only I had done it that night, probably she would be around today. And who knows might be coiling on my laptop and not letting me write this story. But again, if she was around I don’t think I would have had this sad tale to tell. Wish I had it not. I wish I had her not this tale!
If someday I get hold of time-machine I would like to go back to that fateful night. Click a picture of her. Knock the door and let my mum take her in. And probably edit this story with a happy kitty face. I wish.

Here’s another picture of her.

Au Revoir Little Tiger…

When she was still around…

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