I love animals and I’ve always felt more free with them than with my fellow humans:-) Without any apprehension I have found myself talking with these beautiful creatures that have every right to share the world with us. When you are with them you don’t have to mind your manners and you don’t expect anything from them that is beyond their limit. A cat or a dog looks so content and happy when it is just lying at our feet.
When I was young I’d many cats at home. But unfortunately most of them never lived long. Either tomcats would kill them or they died due to some illness or the other. Each death was painful to me. My brother and I used to bury our beloved friends, keep a cross on the mound and say a small prayer for them. I myself am still not sure whether animals have a soul or whether they will be in heaven, but I’ve always hoped that after death they would reach some beautiful land and find more peace and sincerity there.
Among all my cats, Kitty was one of my favorites. She was there with me only for two or three weeks but she was the most beautiful, affectionate yet naughty little baby, and she pops up in my mind every now and then.
Seven years ago, my Dad and I were at the railway station to book tickets for some relations. I waited in the car when my Dad went to book the tickets. After a while, he came back and said that he had got the tickets but he had also found a kitten back at the counter who looked very weak and ill.
I think I got my love for animals from my Dad. Though his physical illness keeps him away from them he has so much affection and respect for them.
So, my father didn’t have the heart to leave the poor kitten there. When I heard about the little one I just wanted to see it. I told my Dad that we could take the kitten home, but he was not very sure about it. I walked to the ticket counter to find the kitten. My eyes searched for it and then I saw it. It was a very pathetic sight. There was a long queue and in between was lying a tiny little ball of fur. Anyone could have just stamped on the poor kitten, or even kicked it. I am usually a very shy person who thinks not twice but thrice before acting in front of a strange crowd but when I saw how desperate the poor kitten looked, I just ran and took it in my hands and came back to our car.
The kitten was dying; it was just skin and bones. Her color was a mixture of brown, grey and white. Her eyes seemed to have lost all their life. Its claws just caught hold of me and its cry sounded as if it was begging me not to leave it there. Of course I didn’t have any plans to leave her there though I had my doubts about my mother’s reaction. My mom likes to see animals from a distance. She’s just content to wave and say ‘hello’ to them and that’s it. She cannot bear to see them inside the house. But the yowling kitten made me try to forget the pandemonium that my mother would cause once we reach home. I am sure even my father was touched by the disheartening sight of the kitten and he didn’t try to dissuade me from my decision.
All through the short journey, from the station to our house, the poor kitten was clinging on to me. When we reached home, I told Kitty[by then I think I had named her as Kitty] to stop crying, as I didn’t want to unnerve my mother [timing is very crucial for such revelations]. I ran upstairs with Kitty, locked her in my bedroom and then went to the kitchen to get some milk for her. My mother got very suspicious when she saw me pouring milk.
“Why do you need milk and why do you need that small dish?” she asked. I think she already understood that a cat was lurking somewhere as milk and myself bonded only when cats were around. I sheepishly smiled at her and said I had brought a guest from the station and that she was awaiting me in my bedroom. I managed to keep a solemn face though I wanted to laugh when I saw the change of expression on my mother’s face; at first there was a wave of anger, then tears, then all hell broke out. “You went to get tickets and you came back with a cat!” she exclaimed. I just nodded my head and I started walking as Kitty’s faraway cry was getting closer. I was scared that she might break her frail legs trying to climb down the stairs. My mother followed, constantly muttering about disobedience, cat hair, cat pooh in the house, my irresponsibility; the list was endless. My father slowly came out, looked innocently at his wife as if he was not in this plan at all and consoled her. She rambled on, but thankfully, after some time she went to the kitchen and she was busy with her chores.
Kitty just lapped up the milk hungrily, and longingly looked into my eyes. For a moment I felt that she was just saying ‘thank you’, then I understood that she was asking for more milk.
Over the next few days Kitty regained her strength and my, she was one high-spirited kitten. She was always running around, climbing curtains much to my mother’s annoyance, hiding behind the sofa and even teasing my dog, Snoopy. We’d so much fun having her with us. She used to follow me wherever I went. She enjoyed playing this game where, she used to hide and whenever I passed she would spring and cling to my foot. I always feared that I might quash her then.
So everything was going well for a week or two and then suddenly some guests were coming to stay at our place. As there was a small baby my mother worried that Kitty might be a source of worry for the baby’s parents. At the same time one of my friends called and asked about Kitty. She said that if I was interested she could take Kitty as a young cousin of hers wanted a cat badly. I thought it was a good idea as there was plenty of open space at my friend’s place. Kitty will have a young boy to play with her and she will also have a bigger area to explore-something positive for her vivacious nature.
So, one day my friend came and took Kitty away. My dear Kitty, she just looked at me as if she was bidding farewell to me. I felt very bad and I decided that when our guests left I would bring Kitty home again.
But things did not turn out as I’d planned. After some days my friend called and told me that Kitty, while exploring the garden, was attacked and killed by a tomcat. After experiencing so many deaths among the members of our cat family I’d reached a stage where I could suppress my emotions. Yet I still remember my dear kitten, her sprightly nature and the unconditional affection that she showered upon me.
If animals do have souls, I’m sure that she now must be roaming about in some beautiful garden on the other side of the shore.