A Catty Story

From childhood I always wanted to own a dog. By adulthood I did manage to rear three, all of uncertain pedigree. The first one, Lassie managed to antagonize my mother by tearing to pieces a brand new saree hanging to dry. The second one, Bunty was pretty savvy. An elderly cousin of mine would visit my parents once a month for an hour till 8.00 pm. As her house was down  the road I would escort her and also take Bunty for a walk. From then on exactly when that hour struck, Bunty would start pestering her to leave.

Biffy, the third one came to us under false pretences. We were told that it was a Rajapalayam and we were excited that we had at last got a pure breed, without really knowing how that breed actually looked! The first visit to the Vet confirmed that Biffy’s Rajpalayam connection was a figment of someone’s imagination.

Our family was never into cats. In a weak moment we succumbed to a good friend’s entreaty to lighten his responsibility of the umpteen kittens that his cat had littered. With a red ribbon tied round its neck little Pepsy came home in a lunch basket. She began proceedings by wetting our pillow. She soon settled down to a pampered life and generally controlled our life. One day Pepsy gave us a scare. My wife found her lying stiff on her back with all four legs pointing up. We feared the worst and started mourning our loss. To our surprise, in about fifteen minutes she was perfectly fine. Soon we realized this was Pepsy’s way of taking a cat nap and my wife named it the Rigor Mortis pose.

As per the norm in our house Pepsy, too was brought up a vegetarian. As my knowledge of cats was limited I bought the book “Catwatching” by Desmond Morris. The author claimed that cats would go blind if they did not get non-vegetarian food. This put us in a dilemma. Our love for Pepsy overcame any qualms we had. Niligiri’s soon found a sudden surg in their sales of canned Tuna and Mackerel. There was one happy and contented cat after that.

Some months later we had a crisis on our hands. Pepsy, being a comely lass soon had a stream of suitors yowling outside our home. I used a hockey stick to good effect to chase them way. However, we could not fight nature for long. Pepsy’s girth started to expand and D-day soon arrived. As my mother-in-law was a gynecologist she was roped in to help in the delivery.

This became a regular event every few months. We had a tough time controlling the population explosion of kittens in our house. Soon friends reduced their visits as word got around that they would be handed a kitten as a return gift.

Svl Narayan