Tag Archives: pets

The Love of My Life

The Love of My Life I have had bad luck with cats recently. Our first cat, we acquired when we were first married. He was black and white, with a perfectly round head, white nose, black patches, like a pirate’s, around his eyes and a very pink nose. We bought him off an old man who had him in a sack. We heard plaintive meows issuing from the sack, as we walked home, one night and Oruba, bought for one rupee, hence the name, walked into the house, tipped his saucer of milk onto his head and took charge of our hearts. He soon grew into a tough Tom and vanquished all opposition. As he grew older, we let him roam around at night, but he spent the day with us. We kept a bedroom window open for him and often, of a morning, I would find his round head on my pillow or on my out flung arm, though my husband got more cuddles than me and it was frequently a cause for our early tiffs. Oruba was a great hunter and I lost count of the poor squirrels that fell a prey to his killer instinct. But one day a parakeet proved to be his undoing. We tried to rescue it but he gobbled it up in record time and slunk off presumably to snooze. Imagine my surprise when I found him, with a tortured, faraway look in his eye, constantly trying to jump at an imaginary foe. I gave him a homeopathic drug and was happy to see him lie wearily down. This incident did not get him down for long. In a few weeks, he was up to his old tricks, but this time, he had met his match. Oruba sneaked out one day and got a crow. The crows showed their remarkable talent for organization and battle by establishing a guerrilla intelligence unit right on the garden wall. Every time he was seen, dive bombers would peck his head until I had to stand guard whenever he wanted to use the facilities! A well chastened cat quietly went back to chasing the hapless squirrels. Oruba had the last laugh. When he was four years old, we found two little tabbies abandoned on the street and brought them home. Disgusted with the attention the interlopers were getting, Oruba decamped to the gardener’s quarters, three doors down, and took up with the female there. He would wait on the garden wall for me to pass by on my way home from work and would follow me, yowling invective, until I had calmed him down with milk and fish and cuddled him. The kittens would invariably rush up for their share of the food, when Oruba would spit foul language, put out his claws, take a swipe at the nearest one and watch balefully from the garden wall, until the kittens were sated. With a final wild yowl, he would then go back to the gardener’s hut, tail waving, eyes glaring yellow daggers with every backward glance. He lived for another two years, until a new kid on the block, took over and Oruba went down, like a tired boxer, gloves at the ready, belligerent to the end.



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.