One day three months ago, we walked back into our house to find that a cat had given birth to four kittens on our front porch. My mother wasn’t thrilled – not a general fan of anything below the age of thirty, she was appalled that the cat had the temerity to undergo labor in her favorite wicker chair. Also, this now meant that she would have four extra cats to worry about each day.
I had been waiting at that time for any kinds of signs from the Universe that my university was going to accept me back, and I was thrilled at so propitious a sign.
The cats grew up in our compound, and for once I paid exquisite attention to their development. I learnt for example that kitten mistake themselves to be baby tigers and think that they can climb trees. They also consider themselves of a more higher standard than their mother and refuses to eat refuse. They are very playful and biting and jumping on each other is considered sport in their culture – a similar expression would be considered beastiality in ours; even when my brother and myself do it now.
They were a fun pair to watch and in our usual family chit chats, progress on the cats were common place. Cat’s don’t like bananas – even when they are seasoned with soy sauce. They prefer water to milk, as I found out. Contrary to what certain horses think in England, they are fond of cooked Oats.
Yesterday, I found one of them lying on the ground and it did not run away even when I walked towards it. It was certain to die – the kitten was definitely blind and had some kind of mucous thingy on it’s eyes. It did not drink any water but did taste some milk. And much to my mother’s annoyance, it did not even taste the expensive prawns that I put in front of it. In any animal culture, the absence of appetite is a sure sign of illness.
At night, we could not find the cat any where. I was of the opinion that a pure soul such as that would have been lifted directly to heaven with it’s material body. My mother was of the less optimistic opinion that it had perhaps been consumed by some wild animal. The only wild animal in the nearby precincts being my brother, I was not very keen on her version.
Then in the morning, I found the cat’s body alright – but in the abominable presence of it’s mother, the cat had become a feast for it’s brothers.
Nature is so remarkably pragmatic. Death is an opportunity – no one mourns but those beset with the stifling talent of affection.