Sleep proved elusive. Different incidents playing up in dreams as I wondered if I had bouts of sleep or was fidgeting around all night. The previous day I had done the 22 Km drive all the way to Hebbal, waited for the person in the CUPA office to finish her work, before she could collect Rs. 1000 from me as a deposit and hand me the cat carrier and driven all the way back with it taking up the entire boot.
That evening I put it out on trial, placing the cat’s milk bowl inside the box, to see how she reacted to it. The cat went for the milk, but before taking a few sips was distracted by the box. She investigated the newspapers lying in the box, corners of the box, then the outside, was convinced that it was evil and started running away without finishing the milk. Not to be discouraged, and not wanting to waste good milk, I brought the milk bowl out and called her out. She came up reluctantly, finished most of the milk (not all!) and went her way, still looking around distracted.
After two previous failed attempts with cardboard boxes, I was in no mood to concede defeat yet. Out came the deo-spray and a bucket of water. I threw out the newspapers from inside it, sprayed the whole box in and out to remove any traces of previous animals, and washed it with the water. Instructions were given to my folks to not feed her until I woke up. She was to be kept hungry enough to not consider foregoing milk as an option.
Next morning I woke up from spotty sleep, but feeling refreshed. I had my doubts if she’d even turn up that morning, but was told that she had been sitting out all morning. I waited for a while and at around 7:30 let her up to the door and while she wasn’t looking moved the bowl into the box. The milk was taken and poured into the box. She took one reluctant step in, not convinced, but I could feel her hunger winning this battle. She stepped in, only one leg and the tail outside. I sat by her as she ‘sipped’ at the milk furiously. When she was almost done, I moved the door to close. She obliged by taking her leg and tail in. The bolt fell in place. The cat had been belled!
CUPA, to whom I was supposed to take the cat had asked me to come by at 9:30 AM. It was still 7:30 and I was planning to leave at 8:45. Now 1 hour 15 minutes is a long time when you have a trapped cat wailing its heart out. Neighbours popped in to ask if anything was wrong with her, the wailing formed a constant background, my exam-ish nervousness went to greater heights. I took the car out to fuel it up (one pit stop avoided), took old papers and layered the back seat. Breakfast barely went in and could barely remember the taste or what was going in.
At 8:45 Anand, my willing accomplice in all previous failed attempts at capturing the cat, turned up promptly! We took the box out and put it on the back seat of the car, it letting out furious wails. The next part was the long 22 KM drive to Hebbal. She kept at her wails throughout the journey with occasional restlessness when she scratched at the cage. Midway we correlated those bouts of restlessness to the car speeding beyond 60 Kmph. So keeping an optimal speed of 50 Kmph, and with pit stops while a goods train passed near Tumkur road, and when a crane decided to load up a beam on the ORR flyover near Hebbal, we reached CUPA at exactly 9:30 AM.
I went in, asked for Ramesh, the contact name I had been given. He was interested only in the deposit amount and wanted to know if I had a slip. All I wanted was to get the cat to the cattery. He gave me another name – Nagaraj. I went down to the cattery, asked for Nagaraj, who was the sole guy sitting there. After warning him about what we were bringing in, I went out where Anand was guarding the cat, took the cage and went past the dogs walking about, some legless, some polio-affected, some plain old, and delivered the cat to the cattery. “Is it friendly?” he asked. “No idea, she’s never been caged and transported in a car before, so can’t say” we answered, not willing to stake anything on her behaviour. He opened one of the cages arranged as lockers, opened the cat’s carrier, pulled her out by the neck and deposited her in the new cage. She moved around for a while checking out the place for a while, did not seem to like being closed in and started her wailing again.
We were taken over to the office where we filled forms with address and email id, and another authorizing them to operate on her. I countered that I wasn’t the owner. They said it was still needed, and I signed. There was still the matter of the Rs. 1000 to be settled. Ramesh still had no idea about it. I asked him to convert it into a donation and once that was settled, left relieved and with a job done.
They have my address, so the cat will come straight back to my locality. But she’ll be spayed and vaccinated, so no more dealing with dead kittens!