My Beautiful Baby
My husband brought her home. She was being dumped on the road. She was as big as my hand, which is on the small side. She was striped grey and fawn and the first thing she did was to cling to my collar and chirp. We tried to give her milk in a saucer, but she did not know how to lick it. Next, I dipped a finger in and offered it. This she understood and began to suck, so for two days, we dipped a hanky in diluted cow’s milk and fed her though the internet is full of dire warning not to feed kittens cow’s milk. Maybe Aavin is some other milk, for it stayed down. So on to the next experiment: get her to suck a little more from a dropper. This worked like a charm and she sucked and sucked, half standing, two tiny paws on the cup, sucking the dropper dry. This lasted for a week, until we noticed, that the amount the dropper sucked up was not enough even for her tiny mouth. So, on to the next stage: feeding from a spoon. The spoon gets bitten as we are teething, but we now know she is four weeks old and almost weanable! We are vegetarians and no one wants to handle meat, Whiskas is the only brand available in our area. Back to the internet for tips. We are sternly told to keep our food choices to ourselves and warned of dire consequences like taurine deficiency and so on, so well chastened, we buy gelatin and mix it with rice and yoghurt with bits of carrot. This stays down. “ Don’t keep buying things. This is India- kids don’t have food, so its criminal to pamper a kitten! Bedises, the Union Budget has raised prices ,not the opposite!” My husband sternly tells me to get a grip[ on the family finances] while I grimace at him. However, our kitty is a character. She watches the dog eating biscuit and promptly attacks it , though she cannot really bite it with her baby teeth so I get the brilliant idea of feeding her a bit mixed with milk. She loves it. Our worst fears [ wheat allergy] are realized the next day, when we overenthusiastically feed her a whole biscuit and she brings it all out. She climbs on to the computer. “Ma!” yells Daughter#1, “she’s dying!” because a weak mew and a small paw tried to reach her as she typed. “Nothing’s wrong, “I have to reassure her. She just wants to play. Which she does, by torturing her prey, a scrunchie until she triumphantly leaves it to die. We call her the Madrasi cat as her favourite food, after all that variety turns out to be- CURD RICE. The family has taken her to its heart. In the beginning, I’m afraid I fussed a bit about being tied to the house, but right from the first day, she settled down into her little shoe box with my younger girl’s tee in it and promptly slept when we went out. Even the domestic help has given her full marks. “Very well-bred kitten!” she says, as she insists that she uses her litter tray [homemade- newspaper] and not the sofa. Our younger daughter fights with me that the kitten is hers and not mine but spoon-feeding her has awakened my possessive mother-love. The elder one, breaks her teenaged self-absorption to occasionally cuddle her. Even Alice, the dog has decided after a few growls, not full-fledged, just showing her what’s what, like biscuits are for dogs and milk fed by Mummy, for kittens, that she might get along with her. However, Stooey is on strike- he goes up the stairs and arranges himself across them, growling at passersby who don’t give dogs biscuits and he hasn’t given up the struggle yet. When he can’t bear it, he comes down- gooses me on the back with his nose and then runs off, showing me his butt in a message which has to be plain to the meanest intelligence. I am waiting however, for the kitten to grow up and give him his own, her butt is bound to be bushier and the message should penetrate even his bone-head. A cat with her tail in the air is a sight to be savoured and it speaks to all.