She sits there on top of the casing for the motor, cleaning herself. If not cleaning, she’d sleep, curled up in all kinds of ways, head pointing in different directions or curled up under her body. Any sound would wake her up and she’d come mewing down after a few stretches and yawns like a relaxing pensioner. Always asking for food. I sometimes wonder if she’s a cat or a dog!
We’ve known her for some 8-10 months now and it already feels like a lifetime. I befriended her when I returned from the US and saw her resting on the shade of the neighbour’s house, accessible from my place. Initially scared and ready to run at the slightest hint of approach from us, she soon grew friendly as she figured I meant no harm anyway. Soon I was feeding her milk whenever I saw her, but she never made it a habit. Sometimes coming in in the morning, sometimes in the evening. Never regular.
A few months on, she brought along her kittens, three mischievous balls of fur. They hung around for a day, before night came and the next morning she was off with them. We longed for her to bring them along and asked her about them every day. She just responded with mews for food. They were back a week later, this time looking slightly more grown up, and a bit ferocious. She had started feeding them what she hunted and we got to see ‘innocent’ kittens tucking into a dead rat and snarling at each other. End of innocence?
That night, there was a racket. Some other cat had attacked. We went out to resolve the dispute only to see her on high alert. The kittens were not around. We couldn’t make out if she had hidden them or they had fled. The next morning, only of them was around. Soon she came back alone after a few days. The old routine continued, but she was a lot more regular. A few months on we realized that she was pregnant again. This time she gave birth inside the house, under the TV!
After letting them be there for a few days I evicted the family to a box in the portico. There, the kittens grew up under our eyes and were soon running around inside the box. And just like before, one fine night there was another attack. This time, we got to see the effects, even though we had scared off the attacker. There was blood all around and we found one of the kittens dead. Next morning, I saw that the other two kittens were well and inside the box too along with the dead kitten. Having had enough and worried about more attacks, we had the whole family taken away by the local gardener. The mother came back after an hour. No signs of the two other kittens. The gardener said they might have been adopted. “Kittens are hard to get to adopt” was his logic.
The mother stayed around the house, wailing for a few days, searching for the little ones. A few weeks on, they were forgotten, as they would probably have been if they had been with her, ready to go on independently. She stayed by, asking for food every few hours. We shunned her, trying to fix a time when we would give her anything, hoping she’d go back to being more independent as before. Different times I get a different idea of whether the plan is working. But I know for sure, I can’t have her having her kittens here again. Dealing with dead kittens is not something enjoyable and it puts you into distress for some time. You are playing with them one day, and then the night you see their motionless bodies lying in pools of blood. Not for me.
Now, I could take her along and leave her somewhere where she can’t find her way from or get her adopted. Am trying the second option, hoping she can find a good home. But I might be forced into the first and leave her in a residential area. She’s friendly enough to find another house where they can feed her before the process repeats. Such is life?