For two evenings, I could hear feeble whimpers as if it were from a distance. I just ignored it away thinking it was nothing. You see, I am a very private person. I don't venture out of my house unless absolutely required. So on an average, I would step out of the main door, only once!! To go to office. Being me, I never really knew who my next door neighbors were, whats happening around, absolutely a big NO-NO to loose talks and gossips. I have avoided people who have approached with noble intentions too, for the fear of getting dragged into loose talks and such.
So, when I constantly heard these feeble cry, after 2 days, I went out to inspect what that noise was. It was dark and I almost missed, when I noticed in the tiny area under the staircase, snugged in a thin cloth, 2 tiny kittens. They were, maybe 2-3 weeks old, still struggling to walk. It was around this time of the year, last year. The weather was chilly and there were occasional rains. My heart goes out to helpless creatures as these, being a very sensitive person, I cant walk away if I see a street puppy lying injured on the road.
Thus, I felt pity for these 2 kids, I wanted to let them into my house so that they can be warm and be fed. But at the same time, I was scared that I might end up being attached to them and it would end up in pain. With this dilemma, I still gave them company by sitting outside on the floor beside them and fetched milk from my house for them to drink. This went on for 2 days or so. They got accustomed to me and would run inside as soon as the door was opened, even though fewer times, I have picked them up and put them back to their place. Soon I gave up. I started letting them in, they were still kids, needed warmth, coziness. They got their share of food on time. Enough milk was stored in a cup for the two during daytime even while I was away on work.
One kitten was white, the other one dark. One evening, the white one reluctantly and cautiously walked inside my house. It was getting along well with me, all this while, the other kitten was observing its sibling and checking if it were indeed safe to get acquainted with a stranger. Once it was satisfied, it followed. As I studied their behavior later, the white one was gutsy, willing to take chances; while the other was always on the safer side. After a while, the white one snugged into my lap and wanted to sleep, the dark one followed again. They both wouldn't let me go.
I was sitting cross-legged on the floor, while they slept. And I had to sit in the same position for more than 4 hours, as I didn't want to disturb them. Even though cats take short naps, short naps are more frequent with wake-up time as less as 2 minutes. With kittens, its still further frequent.
The 2 kittens getting cozy on my lap.
This became regular everyday. As soon as I came from work, they would come and jump onto my lap and sleep, while I sat in the same position for nothing less than 2 hours. Late night, I used to carry them back to their sleeping place outside and leave them there, unwillingly. They too would pine to get inside, the cold would almost kill them.
I learnt from my neighbor that the kittens' mother left them here and didn't come back. As they were kids, no one wanted to shoo them away. About a week later, I found the white kitten missing. I was worried, inquired and later found that someone took it away as they wanted a pet. I prayed that it was safe somewhere. The other kitten now was lonely. My emotions overcame my logical thinking and I decided I would take care of this one henceforth.
The usual play routine
The kitten grew, in the beginning it was very playful, always wanted someone to play with it. We used to play for hours together, spent my weekends playing non-stop with it. It would just climb on me and rest on my shoulder, its favorite place when I cooked in the kitchen. Its claws have scratched me and has inflicted wounds a couple of times when I lost quite an amount of blood, considering the fact that I have Vitamin K deficiency. I was advised to vaccinate myself which I did. I also vaccinated the kitten.
On my shoulder - her favorite place
Each evening, when I would still be a bit away from home, it knew I was there. Would run up to me and climb all over me. My neighbors gave their useless piece of advice, the hairs it sheds are unhealthy, take care and that it would urinate and make the place filthy. I firmly but politely told that I would take care of all that.
Still, they tried their vices, a window was left open for the cat to get in and get out in absence of people at home. When we were away, one of the neighbor used to close the window shut depriving the cat of a entry or an exit. So I made sure the kitten didn't litter at any place that would make people furious and took great care to keep the surroundings clean - this involved cleaning the poop most times. As she grew, she longed for feeds other than milk. I am a hard core vegetarian, but made sure she got her share of fish everyday.
Any soft and warm place would do to catch a nap
As soon as it knew I came home, it would purr and scratch against the door, impatient for me to enter home and sooner, would jump on me. During its stay, I learnt a lot about cat behaviors. What they do, when they wanted to be cared for, whats their reaction if chided and all that. Its expectations every evening was that I stroke its head while it got familiar with my scent, remain on my lap for a couple of minutes until it made sure that it indeed knew me. It seems the cats think of humans as CATS and they expect the reciprocation of the display of affection
As days went by, kitten grew and now it was no more playful. Its behavior was new to me, later realized that it was looking for a partner. She was ready for breeding. Noticed a tom cat around our neighborhood who was trying hard to woo her. Madam was impressed and she used to go out with him frequently, sometimes making out in front of everyone, oblivious to the surroundings. People got fodder to speak about and they again confronted me that there were kids and such actions are not acceptable. I managed to shoo away the Tom cat. But he would stealthily come and pursue her and she would go away.
This was the Tom Cat whom I am talking about here
This went on for a month or so. In between, we were away on a trip for 3 days leaving the poor thing to be tended by one of our known person. He informed that she wouldn't eat, and just sat at one place, brooding. I couldn't forgive myself for leaving her and vowed never to travel leaving her alone.
Cats have a habit of going away unannounced and have their private time. As such, this one used to go away and return after few hours. They would be loitering somewhere near their familiar surrounding. They sometimes forget their home. At such times, all that needs to be done is go around your house, the streets and keep calling them. They would be in hiding and only venture after dark, but if they hear any familiar voice, they would come out of the hiding. This cat used to go away frequently. First time, I was really scared and worried that its lost. I figured out that this was their normal behavior. Many a times, I would just stand outside my home and call it and it wold respond from either a neighbor's building or a nearby garden with a "Meow" and come out of the hiding. It was as if - "Hey!! Look, I am here"
My new year of 2009 was ruined thus. She didn't come back after her regular outing. She was a bit late that night. I was watching Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. As the clock struck 12, I was not celebrating but searching for her.
About 2 months later, her behavior changed yet again. She was silent most times, maybe she was waiting for the Tom Cat who didn't seem to come to meet her. She would go searching for him; I knew this as she would come home tired with thorns struck all around her and I would remove each of them. She was sort of depressed. And then one day, very differently than the regular routine she left home early morning. She always goes wandering late nights and comes back early morning.
But that day, she left early morning. I left for work, hoping she will be back by the time I am home. I didn't find her when I came back home, let it be; thinking she would come back. Waited the night, no avail. Next day, as usual I left for work thinking she might return today as she had not eaten on the day she left and that she should be hungry by now. She normally laps up the fish, her favorite. But that day, she didn't even smell it. She wasn't still there when I came, I wandered outside - neighboring streets, near the bushes, calling her name hoping I would find her. I did not. Asked my neighbors, they had no idea.
One of the last pictures I clicked of her before she left
I called up a couple of my friends and told them that my cat was missing. My voice was weak and on the verge of crying. The news was funny to them and they started teasing me and laughing until they realized I was serious. They started consoling me later and assured that it would come back.
After that, each day I kept searching for it, leaving the food outside; so that the food may draw it towards. No avail. I just could not accept the fact that there was no more of her waiting for me when I came back from work, trying to get inside my blanket when I was sleeping, trying to climb over me. I missed her terribly; it was as if someone very close to you is missing.; but constantly prayed that she should be safe somewhere.
And even to this moment, I have my qualms that one of the unhappy neighbors have shooed her away or ill-treated her in my absence that she was forced to leave.
I cried for many days later, around 2 months. Eventually, I stopped crying, but I miss her even now. Will miss her throughout. She was not planned, just happened and just left. I just hope that she is fine and safe. I got reminded of her a lot yesterday, and hence the post.