“A cat?! I don’t like cats!”
That was my reflex response to Fahad’s suggestion of bringing home a cat for me so I didn’t get as bored as I already was while he worked. I was never a cat’s person, probably because of belonging from a family where cats and dogs were strictly not allowed inside the house and partly because stray cats always killed my baby rabbits.
My solace was in believing that cats were pure evil, a medium for bad spirits, witch’s hounds, snobby and were definitely not a big friendly dog that you could play with. Holding on to my resolve I would try not sneaking a peek in to Fahad’s laptop screen as he would browse around reading up on cat breed types and ads in the Sunday’s Dawn.
“I think I’d be ok with a cat that isn’t black and doesn’t have an angry face.” I announced one day to no one in general except there was no one in the lounge other than the two of us. A few minutes later I was found looking over Fahad’s shoulder and gushing at how cute the kittens in the ads were before realizing what I was doing. “…Ok but not a male, and the cat does not go into the bedroom…Ever!”
I was obviously not ready to come face to face next evening to a tiny Siamese kitten in a red dotted frock! It was the cutest thing I had ever seen. Smiling at the way my eyes shone, Fahad knew he had pushed over the crumbling bricks of my pretense to not liking the feline race. That little ball of fur was “Chinchi”, my first actual pet.
Transitioning immediately from “it” to “her” and “the cat” to “chinchi”, I was keen on learning more about its breed, likes, dislikes, food preference and general care taking. It didn’t take us more than a few hours to bond and when she climbed up the sofa’s back to rest her chin on my shoulder while purring in my ear, my heart melted like a block of butter in a hot pan.
It became a habit to check on her every time I’d go to the kitchen to get water late at night and picking her up in my arms as she’d run out to greet me every morning. The whoop of joy and a mass sms sent out to friends when she pooped in her litter bowl proving to me that she picked up on the training, even her annoyed growls whenever i turned on the fan. She was always cold.
Our joy, however was short lived. The 3 month old Chinchi caught a virus that caused her severe dehydration and lethargy. During a usual late night check on her, I found Chinchi lying listlessly on a spare carpet in another room, with no life in her limbs. Both I and Fahad sat in the Kitchen all night besides a burning stove, cuddling her close, calling the vet every half an hour . After an hour of periodic drops of ORS, chinchi tried to get on her own feet but fell instantly, her head hitting the marble slab. Each whispered mew of hers seemed to claw at my heart till I could bear no longer and went into my room, leaving my little kitten in Fahad’s care.
At 6 in the morning between crying with my face on the pillow and trying to breathe deeply, I dozed off for a few minutes when I felt a nudge. “Kya hua?” I got up instantly and asked, but one look at Fahad’s face in the semi dark of the early morning and his wet eyes I didn’t need an answer.
A part of me wanted to run to the kitchen and cuddle her, warm her enough to bring her back to life but instead I looked away, outside the window while she was taken to the plot next door for a decent burial.
When Fahad came back home, I asked him if he had buried her in her fluffy blanket, “Yes” he said “..to keep her warm.”
It’s been a week since Chinchi died, but every time I look up, I expect to see her tiny self walking in the door and claiming her usual spot on the sofa.