19 July 2009

Pretty Pebble

Suddenly appeared from nowhere, there was a group of more than 10 very hungry strays moving up and down the street in search of food. Frightened cats with hungry-looking eyes hidden among the bushes and beneath cars nervously eyed passersby and dashed out periodically in search of food scraps dropped near waste bins whenever rubbish were taken out by humans.

Late that night, EJ happened to look out the window and saw all the strays running purposedly after something. On further squinting, EJ recognised who the cats were running after - the neighbour who used to live few doors away.

Days later, the number of strays remained the same and was the same months later. EJ saw that neighbour one more time another night a week after and then never again.

It was frightening to watch these strays, whom EJ believed lived together once, fight for food and heart-rending to see the timid ones retreating, watching longingly at the comparatively bigger cats gobbled whatever scraps of food.

EJ then started leaving cat kibbles on the parapet, the cemented edge of the drain but never on the tarred road. Female cats being physically smaller and less aggressive, lost out in the fight for food, became thinner and malnourished.
One pregnant cat waited in the dark corner till all have finished before creeping forward to scour the remnants. EJ waited till the others moved away before giving this pregnant cat more food which she hungrily ate. This went on for weeks. With her heavily pregnant belly, EJ could not determined when she would give birth but know it would be soon.

On Christmas Day 2005, that pregnant cat did not appear.

The next day, EJ reached home from work at night as it was raining. That pregnant cat was waiting at the usual spot beneath the street lamp. As that cat waited braving the rain, EJ had to get down from the car to brave the rain as well. Witnessed by the driver whom EJ thumbed a lift home, EJ's god brother and his then girlfriend (now wife) who happened to arrive at the same time, that stray dropped her newborn on EJ's palm.

EJ was pleasantly surprised and inspected the newborn under the street lamp. It was male and completely white. EJ then explained to the mother cat to take her newborn and to come back with her babies the next day. The mother cat understood. EJ stood in the rain and watched mother cat with her baby in her mouth walked slowly into the damp darkness.

This happening was quickly told to EJ's mother who agreed to prepare the extra cage in the backyard.

There was no sign of the mother cat the next day. EJ's mother said one neighbour found and picked up a kitten. EJ then went to that house and inspected but no, that was not the same kitten which the mother cat gave. Yes, it was male and white but the length of tail, facial features and shape were different.

Then the day after, the mother cat was seen running up and down the street, howling and wailing for her missing babies even ignoring EJ and refusing the food offered. This went on for days and it compelled EJ to end her suffering. Late one evening, perhaps from exhaustion, hunger and thirst or perhaps in want of warmth as well, the mother cat finally accepted and ate the food EJ offered. The mother cat was quickly bundled into the prepared cage. A phone call was made to the vet for an appointment the next day.

She was spayed and came home on New Year's day - 1st January 2006. Her treatment continued on subsequent visits to the vet.

As the colour of her fur is like the colour of beautiful stones found near rivers, she was named Pebble.

PS: Pebble's baby was found. His story will be posted later. 
Click here for the link.

1 comment:

The Lal Mirchi said...

Awwwww...... Heart EJ, pebble and the rest of the kids.....