I remember Amma getting ready to go out for her evening walk, wondering if it would rain. “Will it rain?” she asked me for a prediction. I went out, looked around and announced that it had started raining already. I settled down upstairs with Dalrymple’s “Return of a King” as it started pouring cats and dogs outside. As if on cue, the mewls of a kitten started registering through that downpour.
I decided not to look, as if it meant it was something in our house compound, it would be some responsibility. I don’t like turning those little ones away. They just seem so helpless – against other cats, cars, dogs, every damn thing! And the previous experience with a kitten that even got adopted still hurts. But as fate would have it, I went out to see my cat asking to be let in, and sure enough there was an orange ball of fur trying to climb down from the neighbour’s grill. I picked it up, it got its claws into the grill, refusing to come with me. I prised it out and put it down and it went running outside. That should be the end of it, and I went inside.
Half an hour later, it was still there. This time it made it into the grilled side of the house and tried to get in through the main door. To add to the confusion, the big cat sitting outside started hissing at it. Somehow I managed to get the kitten into the portico and close the gate. It ran around the area, into the garden, below the car, sometimes trying to get inside the door. I ignored her.
After 8, I got milk for my cat and put it in her bowl, but left the bowl inside the grilled area, as she seemed a tad terrified by the kitten! She tried a little bit of it, but the wails of the kitten seemed to get to her and she walked away, towards the kitchen side door. I had to choose, and choose I did. I took the bowl out and left it there, the kitten came running and gulped a kitten’s worth of milk before disappearing under the car.
Later, as I went out to lock the gate, it came up tail upraised, bumping its head into my legs, snuggling in, even purring, a little ball of fur. I played with it, feeling guilty, wondering what the next day would bring.
Sleep was fitful and I was worried the area alpha male might get to it overnight. But it was still there in the morning and I gave it some more milk, and noted that the ‘it’ was a ‘he’. And in brighter light, he wasn’t a normal kitten, he was a ‘breed’.
The maid was asked if she could take the kitten or some of her neighbours could – “There are enough cats in my area” she said. As I left for work, the kitten was snuggled on my bike’s seat. I stroked the fella, saying goodbye, wondering what the day would bring.
Early morning, I started a social media blitz. I posted this photo on Twitter and got some key people with followers to RT. Posted it on FB on CUPA’s FB page (had to reactivate account for that), and started a conversation there. While twitter saw a fair degree of movement, without anyone interested, FB saw people trying to convince me to adopt, before I had to tell them that am already pushing it with one cat given that I live with parents.
Around 10:30, after a meeting, I walked by a colleague’s cubicle – “Want a cat, I have one?” I asked him casually. He didn’t bat an eyelid – “Yes” he said. No question on age, gender, vaccinated or not, etc. I stopped, and started a more serious conversation on how the kitten had come along and he said he had grown up with lots of cats in his house in the hometown, and there are none in his rented place now. The conversation got interrupted by a call on my phone. It was Appa.
He too, turns out, had a story to tell. “So I went to the vegetable shop, and asked them if they wanted a cat. They said yes, and sent a boy along. This boy got a box and was catching the kitten. But the kitten scratched his hand all over and was jumping away. Then another boy came over and said it was his kitten, and it was missing since last evening. The kitten also went and sat in his hands calmly. And they left.”
It was such a happy ending, I started wondering if it really happened that way. There had been so many ifs and buts. What if the maid had wanted a cat? What if the vegetable vendor boy had taken the cat a few minutes earlier? What if the black cat had gotten to him? What if some dog had gotten to him? But, but, but, none of this happened and it was a happy ending for the cat and the boy, with me playing only a supporting role in it.
Half an hour later, I called home again. “What kind of boy? What did he say? How did the cat behave?” A part of me refused to believe in happy endings. I didn’t expect my parents to lie, but somehow there was disbelief. I wonder if it is a pathological refusal to believe in happy endings? That something good could have happened for a change, as suddenly and probably as things could take a turn for the worse? Either way, all those who helped spread the message were informed and the news shared. Surprised at how many people felt happy about that. That more than finding a new home, he was able to go back home. It had been a purrfect happy ending, without me having to do much!