July 18, 2022
The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable – Carl Jung, psychologist.
It was Friday morning. We were in mid-December 2021. With the Christmas fast approaching, it was a befitting time for Santa Claus to make house calls. Instead, a street cat strayed into our house compound. As though the food aroma wafting through the kitchen exhaust was an invitation, she hopped onto the windowsill. Yowling non-stop, she sounded famished and looked disoriented. She had been abandoned just like countless pets by expatriates who were compelled to leave second home after losing jobs which they held dear for decades. Not only Covid19 had taken its toll on their long held careers and businesses, but also on their pets.
Cat’s helpless cries tugged at my heartstrings. As if I answered a 999 call, I promptly galvanized into action. Hurriedly, I placed some food and water before her. She devoured. When satiated, she expressed gratitude by meowing and head-butting my legs and also trying to convey something. I understood nothing as I wasn’t conversant with feline language.
Shortly thereafter, I downloaded a revolutionary App called ‘Animal Voice Translator’ on my phone. I scrawled through the settings menu and selected CATS from a list of animals. The App captured animal cries and translated into English and vice-versa. I was now adequately equipped to carry out a fluid conversation with her.
After days of feeding and talking, she looked well nourished and happy. It was love at first sight for us both. Green eyed cat had white fur with sporadic black spots all over body. Beautiful is an understatement. She was Miss Universe of the feline world. I decided on adopting her, but not sheltering in the house. There was a valid reason.
On our first wedding night decades ago, while others were fast asleep, my wife and I were busy with our grunts, moans, and screams disturbing the nocturnal peace of cats and dogs. And when we reached the climax, I rolled over and the world around us calmed down. In the stillness of the night, my wife had lovingly whispered, “It was mind-blowing.” We then talked, holding hands and gazing up at the ceiling as if penetrating through its opaqueness and peeping into our marital future. We agreed upon enjoying similar mind-blowing sessions throughout our marital journey. “We should have lots of children,” my wife had said.
“Like many kittens to a cat,” I quipped.
“Strictly no pets (cats and dogs) in our house,” she said. I agreed.
Adhering to the bedroom vow post nuptial vows, I refrained from entertaining the cat inside the house. I christened her Kitty. Cats are territorial animals. She sprayed her scent all over the place marking the property as her own. It was a standing warning to trespassing cats to keep away from the property or else face dire consequences.
Kitty was an affectionate cat. I loved her. I fed her. I played with her. I prayed for her. All these helped strengthen the bond we shared. She assumed she’s a part of our family. By default, I became her Daddy. Living in a comfort and a dignity, Kitty purred contentedly. Once she was well settled and naturalized, a few rats which had survived the holocaust of last pest control treatment of the compound migrated to the neighbouring properties. Cats and rats cannot reside in the same space much the same way as pain and pleasure & sadness and happiness.
Happiness came to me in bountiful doses. Every time I stepped out of the house, I kept the ‘voice translator’ handy capturing meows, hearing the translation and flawlessly communicating with her.
Once I saw her waylaying a trespassing cat and yelling. “Who the hell do you think I’m? My Dad owns this sprawling mansion. And also that swanky Jaguar car. No one dares to step into our property nor sleep under the Jaguar. That space is exclusively reserved for me.” And then she pounced, chasing the intruder cat away with spine-chilling screams.
One afternoon, Kitty flaunted a bird she had been feasting on – her catch of the day. It was butchered mercilessly. She said, “Dad, I don’t spare a single bird that sits and poops on your beautiful car.”
On March 22, 2022, I answered the main door to the singsong meows. At the bottom of the steps stood was Kitty. Right next to her was a good looking tomcat. They gazed up at me with upraised tails. I quickly understood, thanks to my little knowledge of feline world. Kitty was in heat. Mating season had arrived. She had promptly caught hold of a bedfellow from the streets and brought him to our place, her place.
Kitty asked, “Dad, would you mind if my beau stays with me for a couple of days?”
“It is my pleasure to host him, my sweet pie,” I said, smiling.
Kitty turned to her partner and said, “I told you Macha, my dad won’t say no to me for whatever I ask of him.” She then said, “Bless us, Dad.” I blessed them wholeheartedly.
Cheerfully, both meowed in unison and disappeared under the car. The greatest show on Earth was about to commence. That was the beginning to a series of awe-inspiring mating sessions.
I pulled out a garden chair and plopped down with a popcorn bag, munching on deliciously and watching excitedly as they slid out of the car’s undercarriage, unveiling themselves like hero and heroine making a grand onscreen entry. Truly it was a sight to behold.
Sitting astride on Kitty was the tomcat. Their bodies fitted perfectly as if they were made for each other. She chose the right size partner unlike our earthly mismatched couples, four feet girls marrying six footers, later the tiny wife often consulting the Orthopedic Doctor for her broken neck bones that resulted out of constant head raising to say ‘I love you, honey’ –worst consequences of seeking a ‘tall, dark and handsome’ life partner by a Lilliputian.
Kitty looked me in the eye and meowed. My phone translated it. “Dad, you like it?”
Her question deserved a beautiful answer since its weight was far more than the weight of the tomcat on her back. I said, “Mind-blowing.”
Then her partner began to thrust harder, while I sat transfixed mouthing popcorn. Soon it led to a horrendous climax. Kitty shrieked, her eyes dilated with horror, dislodging the partner in one violent push. I checked the translation: “Dammit. Get the hell out of my back, you bloody sadist.”
The screams were so loud and frightful that I was shaken to the core dropping at once the popcorn bag to the ground, the grains scattering all over the place.
Kitty’s pain became mine. It shot my blood pressure sky high. My first impulse was to give the tomcat a thrashing. But I exercised prudence. It was consensual between them with my abundant blessings. Pleasure and pain came bundled in one package in feline world too. Thank God I behaved in civilized way and didn’t resort to domestic violence. Here the pleasure ended with pain in accordance with the original plan sketched in God’s creation blueprint. Tomcats have barbs on penis which face backwards and cause pain in the female resulting in violent screams. That’s what the researchers tell us.
Kitty’s pain quickly died down and she groomed herself. She was friends again with partner ready for more. They thought the spilled out popcorn was a treat for their spellbinding performance. Taking synchronized steps, they marched forward and began mouthing the grains.
I looked down and said. “Hey Kitty, it was a beauty, but pretty short like a trailer. A person like me who regularly and avidly watches feature length films would definitely prefer hours-long versions. Why don’t you two throw in some long foreplay in upcoming live episodes?”
Kitty looked up and meowed hurriedly and continued eating. Translation: “My partner and I are currently on lunch break. Please get back to me later.”
After lunch followed by a short nap, they resumed mating, enthralling me with many mind-blowing sessions with my gaze fixed to the feast before me, while I often got interrupted and yelled at, by wife for spending excessive time outdoors. Pleasure and Pain.
The guest tomcat had a sleepover in our compound. Next morning after a hearty breakfast consisting of toasted bread, crispy bacon and light tanned coffee, I watched them going out of the compound. They must be out on a walk. I thought. They certainly needed fresh air since they partied all night long with repeated screams which kept us awake with our own bedtime stories. To my utter amazement, I saw Kitty returning quickly with another tomcat. First one was nowhere to be seen. I was like: What the hell is going on? Did she dump him? Perhaps she got fed up with him so fast? Same old fuddy-duddy every half an hour syndrome. Variety is the spice of life.
Perhaps the latter tomcat was a buddy of the first one who was spreading the joy and spirit of sharing. I wished I were there when handover took place, imagining it went on like this: First tomcat to the latter. “Enjoy bro, but be gentle on her. She’s so good. Get the maximum out of her but don’t attempt missionary position that we as ‘Peeping Tomcats’ had stealthily watched through the bedroom window of Mrs & Mr Smith and decided to give it a try. Oh, no. I urge you not to waste time and energy. It just doesn’t work for us. And always make love in the presence of her Dad. He loves watching.” And then my Kitty blowing a meow kiss to the fist one. “Bye! See ya.”
Whatever might have been the actual case, I was befuddled at the way the feline world worked. She caught hold of another bedfellow so quickly. It made me think. In the human world, marital relationships have gone up for a toss which they could have continued to hold onto with patience, understanding, flexibility, forgiveness, humour and love. Candlelight dinner is becoming thing of the past. Because of a relationship that went terribly wrong, millions of people go to bed starving for romance, intimacy, heavenly hugs, yummy kisses, sensual cuddles, skin-on-skin warmth, emotion-filled love and affection and last but not least the life-creating coitus. All of these form part and parcel of happy and healthy life. The sexuality has a profound power to heal relationships and promote physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. These benefits are once again from God’s creation blueprint and the researchers don’t have to remind us. Meoooooow! Oh, Right. You understood this one.
To compensate for the absence of all the goodies that could be enjoyed with a life partner, they adopt pets sharing the sacred bed. In worst cases, some resort to unnatural means to gratify their carnal feelings and desires. They drink heavily, do drugs and watch indecent videos trying to supersede Pain with Pleasure.
But the feline world is different. Kitty went out and effortlessly grabbed two bed-fellows in mere minutes. Ooh La La. Much faster than humans who are endowed with enchanting talk and enticing smiles, apart from having access to countless speed dating websites and aps and, a plethora of matrimonial ads mushrooming everywhere at all times.
Well, now that my Kitty was back with a new beau, another 24 hours would be of great excitement. Why watch Netflix when my compound provided action packed romantic drama enabling me to watch each episode from different angle. I have already lost appetite for food, merely surviving on popcorn.
Kitty gave the new tomcat a quick sightseeing tour of the compound and they got on to the grinding party pretty shortly without keeping me waiting indefinitely. But a silent complaint was swirling in my mind. Before going under the new tomcat, Kitty didn’t introduce me to him. Neither did she seek my fresh blessing. Probably one blessing was good enough to serve two tomcats. I didn’t fuss. These days, you can very well trust four-legged animals, but not our fellow bipedal humans. They had good time mating. So did I watching and eating popcorn.
Then dawned the day of revelation! Kitty made an announcement. She was pregnant. It would have been a shame if she didn’t because two tomcats had put in tremendous hard work day and night. It was their result oriented teamwork.
My happiness knew no bounds. It made me ecstatic. There would be new bundles of fur arriving and exploding cat population in the compound. I would be holding the babies and cuddling them. My garden would be buzzing with activity with musical healing meows. When the female kittens become old enough to pick their partners from the streets, I would be telling to strictly bring them home and do the needful in the privacy of my lovely garden, the comfort and fresh air afforded by it is conducive to producing healthy offspring.
A few days into her pregnancy, Kitty suddenly disappeared. For a fortnight nothing was known of her whereabouts. Then I learnt that she had become reclusive and had taken refuge with other cats in the vast garden of a neighbouring villa, being fed by Filipina workers.
It was Thursday, June 2, 2022. Kitty was about to go into labour. A novice feline Dad that I was, I overlooked the signs. She jumped on my kitchen windowsill meowing. And then, she slunk away quietly leaving the compound.
That was the last time I saw her alive. After dinner on the following night, Friday, June 3, 2022, I had a strong intuition to go find her. At once I left and climbed into the service road running parallel to my house. She couldn’t be seen anywhere, yet the search continued further ahead. And to my utter shock, there lay Kitty dead beside a trash bin. She had bled profusely.
I dashed home, grabbed my phone and raced back to the grisly site. Crowded around the corpse were street cats – Kitty’s friends and enemies alike – gazing mournfully. Seeing me, they dispersed creating room to step in. The sight of dead Kitty moved me to tears as I clicked pictures. She couldn’t be given a solemn funeral.
Upon conferring with the neighbours, I gathered some information. Kitty had sheltered herself in a home-shaped wooden box painted in nursery colour scheme in one of the building compounds. The box which has been maintained spick and span at all times by the building maintenance guy was free for street cats in labour to birth kittens. For a reason unknown, Kitty had emerged from the box and was crossing the road. That’s when she was hit badly by a passing vehicle bang on her face.
What a coincidence. On our kitchen windowsill, I had seen Kitty first and last. And now she’s gone forever. Through our brief companionship, I experienced the life-changing power of enjoying God and His wonderful creations where we are sandwiched between pleasure and pain. It is within our power to conquer the pain with pleasure the sources for which are aplenty in God’s wonderful creation.