February 28, 2021

Cat-a-clysmically yours

They say a cat has nine lives to experience all the things she hasn’t before. But I did not want to wait that long.

I had had enough of this feline existence. Now I wanted to know what it felt like to be human. 

They say realization when happens comes gushing in like a river. I realized how true that is the day she entered into my home. My human did not even grace me with a formal introduction. They went straight to the bedroom and slammed the door on my pretty face. 

How I hated him then. I had never been subjected to such petulance before. To add insult to injury, he forgot to serve me my kitty treats that day. 

I felt my authority shifting. It had taken years to train my human to suit my needs. We had finally zeroed in a routine and established the ground rules. Alright, fine! I had established the rules. 

No interference in my me-time, no invasion of my private space, belly rubs three to four times a day,  a bowl of sweetened milk in the morning and evening in addition to cooked meals and a kitty treat at midnight every once in two days. 

Wait, hang on, before you start getting the wrong idea and think I was at the better end of the agreement, let me tell you about the great sacrifice I made as per the cat-human contract that I had signed on my humans face the first time I set paw in the house. 

In exchange for the minor above mentioned adjustments my human agreed upon, I was forced to give up, due to his silly dietary preferences, the entire range of fish and mice (basically all things non vegetarian) that cats of my royal pedigree feast upon. It wasn’t anything religious per se, but my human was vegetarian by choice. And the right of passage demanded that I was one too. 

Frankly, I did not agree with his views. But I tried to understand them (I don’t know why the world thinks of cats as selfish. We are pretty selfless if you ask me.) Coming back to the point, my human was a strong PETA activist and believed in animal rights. It was all fine with me until here, but the dimwit was compassionate towards, can you believe it, mice, because he believed that mice too had lives and families and yada yada. He wouldn’t even allow me to watch my favourite toon show on TV, because he feared watching Tom harass Jerry could harbour vile feelings in me towards those pesky nimble footed rascals. (Did I mention he was a self-proclaimed cat psychologist?)

That was when I decided to bring up the contract. The feline-human contract every cat needs to introduce to its human. One smack on their cute little mutt faces when things go off limits shakes them off the feeling and shows them who is boss. 

But you know how emotionally weird some humans can get. Even after I had scratched my human, he stood there holding me in his arms, rubbing my back, hugging me like he was never letting go. 

And that’s when I saw it...out of all the humans in all the world, I had to land up with the clingiest one. Although somehow oddly, it felt comforting sitting like that, curled up in his lap, his hands running over my back. And right then , I knew I’d be eating to his tunes some day. But I didn’t realize it then that’s what love makes you do. 

It’s strange though how cats can expand even on a vegetarian diet. Sometimes I think it is my metabolism. But that stupid vet insisted that I was being over fed and pampered. Hitherto, my human who wasn’t much a foodie himself, was happy that I had turned out to be otherwise...and so took it upon himself to feed me every chance he got. I had overheard him telling his sister once that there was something oddly satisfying about the way i lapped the food off my plate, that made him feel strongly towards the ‘unconditional’ love I felt for him.

I think it was one of his emotional moments, and so I let him bask in the feeling. But I knew in my heart, what he was saying was balderdash. 

“Unconditional, my left paw,” I smirked. We cats are not programmed to love that way. It is imprinted in indelible ink on the very core of our feline personalities, the three defining words that maketh a cat...”Me before you.”

But my human had misread the signs. And I did not bother to clarify. Besides I was getting accustomed to the vegetables on my plate. Carrots, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, he had opened up a whole new world for me. 

I’d always been an adventurous cat. And my palate and mind had adapted itself to the taste of human food. It served a double purpose—I did not have to hunt for my own food anymore. It was far safer and more effortless eating what was being fed to me. Besides, my human knew to cook and how. Wafting from our kitchen, aromas of deliciousness would find their way to the neighbouring alleys and street corners, making me the envy of other felines. 

They had started ignoring me now. They could not deal with the fact that while they were turning scraggly out of sheer desperation and hunger, my skin and mane turned lush and healthy. 

I, however, was battling my own weight issues. Luxury comes with its own set of problems that the hoi pillow has no clue of.

All this time, my human was a constant companion. He had taken it upon himself to change me from fat to fit, feeding me all kinds of diet. Atkins, south beach, all those  damn diets that his regular jogging buddies had resorted to, I tried too. I didn’t mind it actually. My palette had evolved, and I was quite enjoying myself. Except it was all vegetarian. 

It wasn’t always like this tough. Initially, I’d kick up a fuss, think that I’d straight out refuse and put an end to this nonsense. But my human would lovingly fill my kitty bowl with kibble and sit with his own dinner plate by my side. 

I’d often glance at his plate and realize how frugally he ate. Comparing his plate to mine was almost instinctual and prompted me to put my tail between my legs and eat up whatever is there in my bowlss fast as possible. I did not trust my human back then and was afraid that had I played stubborn for too long, the kibble would either be withdrawn or eaten...by him. I am not kidding. I recently watched on TV a documentary episode on a man who tried eating dog food just for a lark and eventually decided he loved it. 

My human had watched the documentary with me, and I somewhat recognized the mad gleam in his eyes. Besides some of that stuff was really tasty. I couldn’t believe it could taste so good, so I kept licking the bowl until my human poured me some more and then some more and more again. 

All was well until my next visit to the vet. One look at the scale and she almost had a shit fit. 

“Omigosh,” she exclaimed in her shrill accent. “What the fuck have you been feeding him? His weight has only increased.” 

I wanted to smack her good, show her who was boss. Who on earth made her a doctor? Whatever happened to body positivity et al? Besides did she just use the F word...were people even allowed to speak like that around cats?

 My tail prickled with irritation. My human laughed nervously.

“Oh, the same diet you prescribed, doc,” he said. “Except maybe I slipped up a bit. I may have given in to his adorable face and replenished his bowl a few times.”

I stared at him. Why was he even explaining? I wanted out. I did not want to do anything with this shaman (I refused to call her a doctor after that) woman who couldn’t help my weight issues because of her own  inefficiency in treating my problem and was now trying to shift the blame on my human and me. 

But my human, to save me from embarrassment, had taken full responsibility. “I slipped up a bit,” he had said and my ears had turned warm with guilt. My healthy (slightly over-healthy...fiineee!) appetite wasn’t his fault and yet here he was taking the entire blame upon himself. 

We never went back to that shaman woman after that. My human realised my discomfort and decided we would manage my weight issues on our own. And I felt myself liking him a little more than I liked all humans...and maybe most cats as well. 

Those were days when he’d understand my feelings without me having to even purr. The  ‘Me before you’ aspect of my personality was slowly taking a back seat. And I found myself waiting for him to get back from work, worrying if he got delayed, restless if he left his meal unfinished, rejected if he didn’t hold me close. 

But good things seldom last and I should have seen this coming.

Cut to three years later, there I was, standing outside the bedroom, that had until now been my territory, with the door to my face. 

I knew the woman was inside, I could hear them talking. Soon enough the talking stops and was replaced by sighs and moans. I could hear her giggle and my ears started doing that ‘burning up’ thing again. Who was this shameless woman anyway and why was she here sharing my human? 

I scratched the door a couple of times, expressing my displeasure. I mewed at a higher pitch. But my effort only went ignored. The moaning had gotten louder and I heard her call out my humans name. I made a mental note to scratch her a couple of times when the door opened. 

She needed to be shown her place, and by that I mean the way out. She needed to know she wasn’t welcome in my house.

But when the door opened, it was my human who stepped out. 

“Two hot chocolate coming right up,” he said as I stared after his half naked image jogging to the kitchen. 

I had seen the glazed expression in his eyes and instantly realised this woman was a force to reckon with.

Carefully, I trudged towards the bedroom, dragging my fat body with me. 

The state of the room suggested that it was witness to a recent romp. I tried to put that betrayal behind me and softly moved towards the bed where she was sitting. She hadn’t noticed me still. 

My attack strategy was wicked but needed. I would encroach on her unaware and even before she realised it, pounce on her with all the vengeance I had saved up for the rats I wanted but could never have. I had channeled my ‘jungli billi’ and this woman was small fry. 

The thought of small fry made my mouth water. All semblance of guilt had been ousted by this betrayal from the human. 

I could unabashedly dream about devouring all the mice, all the fish in the whole wide world now and it would still not measure up to the sin he had committed. He had left me hungry. He had forgotten about the Queen in his life for some temporary fling. This couldn’t be forgiven. 

She lay within the sheets and I instantly ‘de she was naked. She too had the silly expression my human had. Perhaps she was waiting for the chocolate. 

The thought of my human serving her chocolate and ignoring my demand for my kitty treat churned my stomach with disgust and hunger. This woman would starve me to death if I didn’t do anything about it. I had to act fast, before my human returned. 

With all the power vested in me by the feline community, I curbed every instinct to let out a tribal meow and leapt.. 

It had been a while since I had jumped on the bed. Ever since my weight issues, my human would lovingly pick me up and place me there. I had forgotten I was royalty and was not cut out for this savage behaviour. 

With a flat thud, my attempt failed and I fell flat on the ground I was trying to jump from. 

I had accepted defeat. I could never make it to the bed to startle her. 

A disappointed meow escaped my throat and I immediately cursed myself for it. The least I could do is carry myself out the way I had come in, silently, preserving whatever little dignity I had left. 

The meow, however, must have fallen on her ears though. Because I heard a rustle of the blankets followed by a high pitched ‘awwww’ behind me. 

I turned back, the look of hatred in my eyes. 

“No need to taunt me,” I wanted to say. “Every cat has its day.”

But before I could even react, she had come over to me, her most vulnerable self wrapped within those sheets. 

“Oh my, aren’t you such a darling, so so adorable,” she said, petting me with her open palm, her fingers running back and forth through my fur. “Come here, baby. Yeah. Good girl. Come here, my darling.”

What was happening to me? Why was I gazing into her honey coloured eyes, purring at her soft touch? I hated myself for this betrayal. Was this how humans felt? Was this how my human felt in her arms? All the feelings I had experienced ever since I had entered into the house rushed into my mind. Indifference, selfishness, belonging, possessiveness, jealousy, anger, disappointment and now this new feeling. 

Had my love for my human just turned unconditional? 

What had happened to the ‘Me before you’ philosophy I swore by? I was opening up to a new range of emotions. Probably this was what humans felt when they were in love. A moment of confusion, a moment of realization. Giving up. Giving in. For now I was glad my human's human was an ailurophile too. 

“Oh, seems like you two have met already,” said the voice that had won my heart over the last three years. I opened my eyes and saw my human standing in the room with two mugs of hot chocolate in one hand. “Isn’t she a sweetheart?” 

He made his way on the bed and sat with his legs crossed. No sooner had he done that, I found myself alighting from my position and settling comfortably in his embrace. 

“Awww...she loves you doesn’t she?” she asked, nuzzling my humans neck. Her question reflecting my thoughts exactly. 

“Yes,” said my human. “And she will grow to love you too.”

I purred comfortably in the security of his response. I had got my answer.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

1 comment:

triloki nagpal said...

As I always suspected. You are a feline. 😊❤️